Negative advertisements from Donald Trump hit Independents’ view of Joe Biden

Linley SandersData Journalist
September 15, 2020, 7:25 PM UTC

President Donald Trump has aired a series of negative advertisements aimed at Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, with slight, yet steady success among Independent voters. Positive opinion of Biden has only grown stronger among Democrats as the presidential election nears, while Republicans see him in an unshakable negative light.  

Independent voters, however, appear to be swayed by recent advertisements from President Trump, according to recent YouGov snap polls. An advertisement from August called “Break In" that claimed Biden wants to defund the police decreased positive opinion of Biden among Independents by six points (46% to 40%). A video called “Delaware" that accused Biden of adopting “crazy far-left ideas” decreased positive opinion of the Democrat by five points (43% to 38%) with Independents.  

A recent 60-second advertisement, which was posted to the president’s Twitter account, appears to have a similar effect. A YouGov snap poll found a five-point drop in positive opinion among Independent voters (44% to 39%) after watching the video, which opens with the text, “This is Joe Biden’s America.”  

As videos of flag burnings and destructive protests flash across the screen, audio plays: “1, 2, 3, 4, slavery, genocide, and war, 5, 6, 7, 8, America was never great.” The video cuts to Biden saying, “Your fellow citizens, for exercising their right to peacefully protest.” After showing videos of destruction from protests, the video ends with the caption, “Only you can stop this new normal.” 

The YouGov snap poll asked 1,000 registered voters to watch the video and share their opinions on its tone. All voters were asked to put aside their own political affiliation while evaluating the clip. About seven in 10 registered voters (71%) called the video’s tone negative — which was also the case with Trump’s “Break In” (67%) and “Delaware” (74%) advertisements.  

About half of voters (49%) call the advertisement about “Joe Biden’s America” dishonest, a similar response to the “Break In” (51%) and “Delaware” (49%) videos.  

Negative advertisements may be more successful for Trump’s efforts to drag down public opinion of Biden than in reverse. A separate YouGov snap poll that showed registered voters an advertisement highlighting audio from Trump's interview with journalist Bob Woodward — where he admitted the COVID-19 virus was “more deadly” than the influenza virus while telling Americans publicly that it was not — has done little to impact voters’ consistently negative opinion of Trump. 

Learn more about YouGov Direct and find YouGov Direct on the App Store and on Google Play    

Related: Joe Biden airs Donald Trump’s audio from Bob Woodward interview with little impact 

Methodology: This article is based on a flash poll of 1,000 registered voters surveyed via YouGov Direct on September 14, 2020 between 12:15 p.m. and 3:08 p.m. This YouGov Direct Poll was weighted according to age, gender, race, education, and 2016 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±3.8%       

Image: Getty