Will the country become safer under a Donald Trump or Joe Biden presidency?

Linley SandersData Journalist
August 31, 2020, 6:58 PM UTC

Protests in Portland, Oregon — which have been ongoing since the death of George Floyd — escalated to a deadly head this weekend when a man affiliated with a right-wing organization was shot and killed. The shooting happened amid a clash between Black Lives Matter protestors and supporters of President Donald Trump, though the victim and suspected shooter have not been identified. 

The Portland shooting follows a separate deadly clash in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week, where a 17-year-old gunman killed two people who were participating in a protest against police brutality, which were sparked by the police shooting of a 29-year-old Black man, Jacob Blake. The violence in both cities have led President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to seek to distinguish themselves as the best person to guide America through a reckoning about racial justice in America. 

Biden gave a speech in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania this afternoon asserting that the country would be safer if he were president. The Democratic nominee asked during his speech several times, “Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?” Biden continued, “I want a safe America — safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops... safe from four more years of Donald Trump.”  

 A Yahoo News/YouGov Poll conducted August 27 - 28 asked Americans whether Biden and Trump would make the country more or less safe if elected president in November. Two in five Americans (39%) believe the country will become safer under Biden’s leadership, compared to about one-third of Americans (32%) who say the nation will become safer if Trump is elected for a second term. 

A plurality of Americans (43%) believe that the country will become less safe if Trump is re-elected. Just 38 percent of Americans say the country will become less safe if Biden is elected president. The president is expected to speak with law enforcement officials in Kenosha on Monday. 

Related: What police reform does America support? 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Yahoo News/YouGov Poll  

Methodology: The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,001 U.S. adult residents interviewed online August 27-28, 2020. The respondents all participated in a prior Yahoo News survey conducted July 28-30, 2020 and were contacted to participate. Of the 1,506 adults in the July 28-30, 2020 survey, 1,001 responded to this survey – a recontact rate of 66.5%. Respondents were re-interviewed from the previous nationally representative survey. The sample was weighted to gender, age, race, education, geographic region, news interest, 2016 Presidential vote and registration status, and baseline vote intention of the first wave. The margin of error is 4.2 percent (and 4.5 percent for the sample of registered voters).  

Image: Getty