The Democratic National Convention, which attracted a smaller audience compared to last cycle, still delivered a favorability boost for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, particularly among the core base of the party, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday.
Prior to the convention, Biden had a net negative favorability rating, with slightly more Americans having an unfavorable view of the former vice president than a favorable one. In the days after the convention, Biden’s favorability ticked up from 40% just over a week ago to 45% in the new poll, which was conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.
Notably, this change was fueled by the more than 8 in 10 Americans who knew enough about him to form an opinion, since there was little change in the number of Americans who were willing to assess Biden since the ABC News/Ipsos poll last week.
His favorability climbed to 86% among Democrats from 79% in the last survey. Biden’s highest favorability across racial groups continues to be among Black Americans, with 69% viewing him favorably, compared to 39% of whites and 52% of Hispanics.
President Donald Trump’s favorability currently stands at 32% — little change from the last poll — but his unfavorability reached 60%, a concerning high for the incumbent president and something Republicans will try to turn around with their convention this week. Vice President Mike Pence’s ratings barely moved from last week, with 30% giving him favorable marks and 46% viewing him unfavorably.
November’s vote may be a referendum on Trump, but the campaign appears to be about Biden’s ability to woo voters to reject the president. While Trump’s approval has seen little movement, Biden’s above-water marks represent a significant turn for the 77-year-old, who enters the fall, and general election debate season, in a better position than Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In a 2016 post-convention ABC News/Washington Post poll, Clinton’s favorability rating landed at 48%, a gain of 6 points at that time from the last poll before the convention. But her unfavorability stood at 50%, putting her slightly underwater.
The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris, is somewhat less well-known, with the 3 in 4 Americans who know enough about her to rate her giving her a plus-6 favorability rating — 41%, up from 35%.
But Harris’ level of name recognition now matches that of the sitting vice president, with 76% of Americans familiar enough with Pence to make a judgment.
Harris’ marks represent a 10-point increase in the number of Americans familiar enough with Harris to rate her and a modest numerical increase in her favorability rating, compared to last week’s poll conducted immediately after she was chosen.
Among the base of Democrats, Harris’s favorability jumped to 77%.
Among Black Americans, 60% now have a favorable attitude of her, compared to 52% in the last poll, a climb driven in part by more of this demographic forming an opinion — 30% still don’t know enough about her to rate her or had no opinion of her, down from roughly 40% in the last poll.
The net shift for Biden, and the more modest, but positive, movement for Harris, follows the Democrats’ virtual convention, which spanned four nights and focused on making the case for a Biden presidency while contrasting him with Trump.
But only 30% of Americans said they watched at least some of the convention, either on TV or online this week, compared with 70% who said they either watched very little or none of it.
In 2016, 62% of the country watched at least some of the Democratic convention, when Clinton, the former secretary of state, was nominated, according to a Gallup poll. The question from Gallup did not include “online,” unlike the ABC News/Ipsos poll, which sought to catch a possibly broader audience.
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Just over one third of Americans — 37% — said they did not watch any of the 2016 convention, or watched a very little of it. Still this year, 69% of Americans said they did see, hear or read news coverage of Democrats’ quadrennial gathering.
Overall, a majority of Americans — 53% — gave Democrats strong marks for their messaging and the programming throughout the virtual event. Just over 4 in 10 Americans disapproved.
Just before Trump and the GOP are set to have their week in the spotlight, a slight majority of Americans — 51% — said Democrats focused too much on criticizing their Republican counterparts, while 45% said they maintained the right balance.
Back in the 2016 Gallup poll, 43% said Democrats maintained the right balance, while 44% believed the party spent too much time hammering rivals.
This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs‘ KnowledgePanel® August 21-22, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 714 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.0 points, including the design effect. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.
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