Suffolk University/USA Today Poll Shows Biden with 12-Point Lead

Presidential race hinges on disapproval of Trump despite lack of excitement for Biden

Joe Biden has opened up a 12-point lead (53 percent to 41 percent) over President Donald Trump, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll.

The former vice president sustained his lead when a generic third-party option was included in the choices given voters, with Biden (46 percent) leading Trump (37 percent), while 11 percent opted for a third-party candidate, and 5 percent were undecided.

Biden, who is expected to name his running mate in the coming weeks, soared among women (Biden 59 percent to Trump’s 35 percent), while among men the race was dead even at 47 percent. Biden led 86 percent to 8 percent among Black voters and 58 percent to 25 percent among Latinx voters, while Trump led 49 percent to 48 percent among white voters, well within the margin of error.

Trump’s job approval overall is at 40 percent versus 58 percent disapproval. The disapprove number was heavily skewed to strongly disapprove (46 percent) compared to disapprove (12 percent). These figures show a shift from last year, when a June 2019 Suffolk poll showed 49 percent of voters approved of the job Trump was doing as president and 48 percent disapproved.

Although Trump trails Biden, the president’s supporters are more enthusiastic about their candidate, with 50 percent saying they were very excited by their choice, compared to 27 percent of Biden backers who were excited about voting for the former vice president. Thirty percent of Biden voters said they were not very or not at all excited about Biden, compared to 14 percent for Trump.

Election perceptions

When voters were asked who they thought would win the presidency when all the votes are counted, the race was much closer, with Biden leading Trump 45 percent to 41 percent and 13 percent undecided.

“This finding suggests that voters, despite a majority saying they will vote for Biden, do not believe their neighbors will,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “They have seen this movie before, and their doubts about the outcome are rooted in the 2016 general election.”

Voter rationale

When voters were asked to state in their own words the most important reason they were voting for their chosen candidate, 20 percent of Trump backers said “economy/jobs,” 13 percent said “doing a good job/keeping his promises” and 12 percent said “stand on issues/same beliefs.”

Biden’s voters said “dislike Trump/get Trump out” (44 percent) and “need a change” (8 percent).

On all but one issue Joe Biden was seen as doing a better job than Trump including:

  • Dealing with China—Biden, 51 percent; Trump, 41 percent
  • National security—Biden, 52 percent; Trump, 41 percent
  • Immigration—Biden, 54 percent; Trump, 38 percent
  • Health care—Biden, 56 percent; Trump, 34 percent
  • COVID-19 pandemic—Biden, 57 percent; Trump, 33 percent
  • Race relations—Biden, 59 percent; Trump, 30 percent

However, in terms of the economy, voters saw Trump (47 percent) doing better than Biden (45 percent).

A majority of voters approve of the Black Lives Matter movement, with 52 percent saying that it is an appropriate response to racial matters in the United States and 38 percent saying the protesters are going too far.


The nationwide Suffolk University/USA Today survey was conducted through live interviews of cell phone and land line users. The survey of 1,000 respondents was conducted June 25 – 29. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].

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