Biden’s Approval Rating, G.O.P. Recasts Trump: This Week in the 2020 Race

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Biden’s Approval Rating, G.O.P. Recasts Trump: This Week in the 2020 Race

President Trump during the final night of the Republican National Convention at the White House on Thursday.
President Trump during the final night of the Republican National Convention at the White House on Thursday.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
Astead W. Herndon
  • Aug. 29, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET

Welcome to our weekly analysis of the state of the 2020 campaign.

  • An ABC News/Ipsos poll released at the beginning of the week found that Joe Biden’s favorability rating had risen by five percentage points, to 45 percent, in the wake of the Democratic National Convention.
  • That was driven particularly by Democrats: 86 percent of partisans expressed a positive opinion of him, up seven points from Ipsos’ previous poll from the week before the Democratic convention.
  • Franklin and Marshall College poll of Pennsylvania, conducted during the week of the D.N.C., found Mr. Biden leading President Trump in the key swing state by seven points.
  • Pennsylvania voters tended to say Mr. Biden was better suited to the job of president in various ways — though handling the economy was a notable exception. Forty-eight percent said Mr. Trump would be a better steward of the economy, compared with 44 percent who chose Mr. Biden.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. accepted the Democratic nomination for president at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., last week.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. accepted the Democratic nomination for president at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., last week.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Two weeks of back-to-back conventions are finally behind us, weeks during which the candidates tried to define themselves and their opponents. Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, pledged to heal a suffering nation by being an empathetic and decent man, while also managing to blow a hole in the Republican attack line that he was senile and could not string two sentences together.

President Trump, in a very long speech, did little to acknowledge the coronavirus pandemic, warning instead of what would become of the country’s economy and “greatness” if Mr. Biden were elected.

Now, the next big moments where voters will get the chance to compare and contrast the candidates will be in the debates, kicking off on Sept. 29.

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The final night of the Republican convention on Thursday.
The final night of the Republican convention on Thursday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Republican officials involved in Mr. Trump’s convention planning promised to deliver a positive vision for the country, and a week’s worth of programming that would look like a “normal” convention to people watching from home, i.e. more live speeches, less reliance on videos, than the Democrats used.

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President Trump, during his convention speech, did little to acknowledge the coronavirus pandemic, warning instead of what would become of the country’s economy and “greatness” if Joe Biden were elected.

They did, and didn’t. The positive vision for the country was possible only insofar as they mostly ignored the reality of the pandemic that has so far killed 180,000 Americans. Many speakers, like the president’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, referred to the virus in the past tense. And there was little acknowledgment from the marquee speakers of the distress that has swept the country in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the more recent police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Several speakers told stories of hardship and pain and described Mr. Trump’s attempts to comfort or support them. But such remarks mixed with fear-mongering by others about what would happen if Mr. Biden were elected. “Joe Biden is not the savior of America’s soul — he is the destroyer of America’s jobs, and if given the chance, he will be the destroyer of American greatness,” Mr. Trump said. As for live speeches, almost the entire program was prerecorded inside the Mellon Auditorium, save for the headlining speeches each night that took place in front of live, mostly maskless audiences.

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