Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by six points among registered voters – 50 to 44 per cent – up from a one-point lead in December, according to a new poll.
The president is getting stronger among women voters in the Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday, leading his predecessor by 58 to 36 per cent. In December, Mr Biden’s lead was significantly smaller among women, 53 to 41 per cent.
“The gender demographic tells a story to keep an eye on. Propelled by female voters in just the past few weeks, the head-to-head tie with Trump morphs into a modest lead for Biden,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement.
The same hypothetical 2024 general election poll released on 20 December was considered too close to call as Mr Biden led by only 47 to 46 per cent.
Partisanship remains strong, as 96 per cent of Democrats back Mr Biden while two per cent support Mr Trump, while 91 per cent of Republicans support the former president and seven per cent back his successor. Among independents, Mr Biden leads 52 to 40 per cent.
The poll surveyed 1,650 self-identified registered voters nationwide between 25 and 29 January.
Mr Biden’s increasing lead among women voters comes after Mr Trump was ordered to pay writer E Jean Carroll $83.3m in damages in the second defamation trial brought by the writer against the former president.
Ms Carroll accused Mr Trump in her 2019 memoir of having raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Mr Trump forcefully rejected the allegations and repeatedly personally insulted Ms Carroll.
In an initial defamation trial, Mr Trump was found liable for sexual abuse. Judge Kaplan ruled that the decision from the first jury would apply also to the second defamation trial, which wrapped up last week, meaning that the second jury only had to decide on damages.
Among men, 53 per cent back Mr Trump while 42 per cent support Mr Biden. In December, those figures were 51 to 41 per cent.
In a hypothetical race including independent and third-party candidates, the new poll shows Mr Biden receiving 39 per cent, Mr Trump getting 37 per cent, former Democrat, now independent candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr getting 14 per cent, independent Cornel West getting three per cent, and Jill Stein of the Green Party getting two per cent.
Meanwhile, the poll has Mr Trump’s last remaining challenger for the Republican nomination Nikki Haley beating Mr Biden by five points in a possible matchup – 47 to 42 per cent.
Looking at the Republican primary, the poll has Mr Trump at 77 per cent and Ms Haley at 21 per cent. Mr Biden leads on the Democratic side with 78 per cent to author Marianne Williamson’s 11 per cent and Minnesota Rep Dean Phillips’s six per cent.
Mr Biden got the highest approval rating since June last year, but most voters still view him negatively – 41 per cent approve and 55 per cent disapprove.
On his handling of the economy, 42 per cent approve and 57 per cent disapprove.
“As inflation fears cool and the bruising campaign heats up, President Biden rides a welcome small uptick in confidence in his handling of the economy,” Mr Malloy said.
Regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 47 per cent of Mr Biden’s handling of the situation, while 46 per cent disapprove.
On foreign policy in general, 37 per cent approve of Mr Biden and 57 per cent disapprove.
Two of Mr Biden’s weakest points are the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas and the situation on the border between the US and Mexico.
Thirty-four per cent approve of Mr Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza, while 56 per cent disapprove, while 28 per cent approve of his handling of the border – 63 per cent disapprove.
After a strike in Jordan that killed three US troops, 84 per cent of voters are worried that the US will be drawn into a conflict in the Middle East.
“Are the winds of war swirling in the sands of the Middle East? As American troops take deadly fire from terrorist proxies, the conflict footprint is broadening and with it, the concerns of a large majority of voters are solidifying,” Mr Malloy said.
The surveyed voters were given a list of 10 issues and asked which was the most important for the country – 24 per cent said preserving democracy, 20 per cent answered the economy, and 20 per cent said immigration.
The gap between the parties is only growing – 12 per cent of Republicans and 39 per cent of Democrats listed democracy as their top issue, while 38 per cent of Republicans listed immigration as their most important issue – among Democrats only the economy (12 per cent) and democracy reached double digits.
Among independents, 23 per cent said preserving democracy was the most important, 19 per cent said immigration, while 18 per cent said the economy was the most important.