Joe Bidenhas continued to grow his lead overDonald Trumpin national polls, despite his presidential campaign having been forced to push back against sexual assault allegations stemming from his days in the Senate.
The former vice president garnered 50 per cent of support among registered voters in aMonmouth University pollpublished on Wednesday, a steady increase from prior months. Meanwhile, Mr Trump held onto 41 per cent of support among voters, as three per cent said they would vote for an independent and another five per cent remained undecided.
“Biden’s lead continues to build even as overall opinion of him remains soft,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement accompanying the latest polls. “It’s possible that recent headlines about a sexual assault claim may have had an impact on his favourability rating, but most voters still see this election mainly as a referendum on Trump.”
The accusations against Mr Biden come fromTara Reade, who was a Senate staffer for the former vice president in the 1990s. She has alleged in recent weeks that Mr Biden assaulted her in a hallway on Capitol Hill after she delivered him a duffel bag, though she never filed an official complaint. Several of Mr Biden’s former staffers have refuted the allegations.
Still, the news cycle surrounding the claims has seemingly impacted Mr Biden’s favourability ratings, which have also slipped over the past two months. The Democrat currently has a negative 41 per cent favourable to 44 per cent unfavourable rating, down from even splits in April (41 per cent to 42 percent).
The Republican incumbent maintains a 53 per cent unfavourable rating among registered voters, according to the Monmouth poll.
Mr Biden remained silent over the accusations when Ms Reade first came forward earlier this year, after having initially spoken publicly about what she said was inappropriate behaviour on the part of the former vice president during her time working for him in the Senate.
While Ms Reade previously spoke out when others came forward about Mr Biden allegedly behaving inappropriately last year, she did not make the assault claims until he became the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The former vice president then addressed the claims on Friday, saying in a statement: “This never happened.”
“While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny,” the former vice president said. “Responsible news organisations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.”
Those who do not believe the allegations largely support Mr Biden (79 per cent), while the majority of those who believe the claims said they plan to vote for Mr Trump.
“We don’t know what impact this allegation will have in the long run,” Mr Murray said. “For some voters who believe the charge, it is still not enough to override their desire to oust Trump. The outlook is murkier for those who don’t have an opinion on it.”
He added: “This group includes a number of Democratic-leaning independents who could potentially be swayed if this story grows in importance.”