Biden increases lead in polls as most Americans think Donald Trump could have avoided coronavirus

Democratic US presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, US, July 14, 2020. Photo: Reuters/File

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has increased his lead in the US presidential race, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday, after US President Donald Trump contracted coronavirus, with the majority of Americans of the view that Trump could have avoided the infection if he wouldn’t have downplayed the virus to begin with.

The October 2-3 national opinion poll gave little indication of an outpouring of support for the president beyond Trump’s core group of followers, some of whom have gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the president has been hospitalised.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the severity of the pandemic as something that would disappear on its own, chiding Biden as recently as last week for wearing a protective mask, even as the coronavirus infected millions of people and forced businesses and schools to close.

Among those adults who are expected to cast ballots in the November 3 election, the poll found that 51% were backing Biden, while 41% said they were voting for Trump. Another 4% were choosing a third-party candidate and another 4% said they were undecided.

Biden’s 10-point edge over Trump is 1 to 2 points higher than leads Biden posted over the past several weeks, though the increase is still within the poll’s precision limits of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

With about a month to go before the election, Biden has maintained an early advantage in securing the national popular vote. But to win the presidency, a candidate must prevail in enough states to win the Electoral College, and state polls show that Trump is nearly as popular as Biden in battleground states.

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