Trump’s supporters are more enthusiastic, but enthusiasm doesn't mean votes

June 18, 2020, 1:45 PM UTC

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden isn’t exactly driving enthusiasm for 2020 voters.  

Even those who say they will be voting for him aren’t exactly hyped up compared to Donald Trump's supporters. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll more than twice as many Trump supporters say they are enthusiastic about their candidate than are Democratic voters that support Biden.

Elections with an incumbent running for re-election often are about the president, but in this case, perhaps more than usual. Nearly twice as many Biden voters describe their vote as against the presiden(62%) as say it will be for Biden (35%). As for Trump’s voters, more than four in five (81%) agree their vote is one for Trump.  

Presidential politics

Among all voter groups, majorities of Biden supporters are voting against the president more than they are voting for Biden. Black voters and those over the age of 65— groups that helped Biden win the Democratic nomination — are the most positive about his candidacy: 46 percent of black Americans  and 43 percent of senior (65+) Biden voters are voting more for Biden than against Trump 

This poll continues to show problems for the president as he runs against Biden. This week, Biden leads by nine points (50% to 41%)The former vice presidenbenefits from large majorities of black and younger voters, and a sizable gender gap. His lead in both the Northeast and the West is in double digits, and he is tied with the president in the South.

More than nine in 10 Democrats in this poll choose Biden. He now matches (and this week may exceed) the support that Trump receives from his party. A large swath -- 83 percent -- of those who wanted Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to be the nominee say they now will vote for Biden. 

This support has helped Biden seem more electable, which for weeks has been his problem. Voters (even some of his own) had been saying for some time that they thought Trump would win. This week, two in five (40%) registered voters say Biden will win, and about the same number (41%) think the president will emerge victorious. There is still a gap, though it has narrowed. Now, 73 percent of Biden’s voters say he will win; 89 percent of the president’s voters expect victory.   

In addition, just about the same percentage of registered voters (39%) think the Democrats will control the Senate next January as say the Republicans will keep control (40%). As for the House of Representatives, voters expect it to remain in Democratic control – by 17 points (48% to 31%). 

The president has also lost his clear advantage on the economy. In previous polls, voters have had better expectations for the economy after a Trump victory than they had about a Biden win. This week, there is almost no difference: there is slightly more pessimism than optimism about the economy, whomever wins. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between June 14 - 16, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.2% for the overall sample. The 2020 Vote variable is defined by the registered voters who selected either Biden or Trump in a trial heat.  

Image: Getty