In a national poll, Joe Biden continued to hold a lead over President Donald Trump, despite recent sexual assault claims against the Democratic candidate, according to The Independent.
The Monmouth University poll showed the former vice president saw 50 percent support among registered voters, while Trump maintained only 41 percent of voter support. Three percent of the respondents said that they would vote for an independent candidate, and another five percent 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 the statement attached to the poll. “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.”
Biden’s support base, however, has been impacted by the recent sexual assault allegations against him. The presumptive Democratic nominee has a negative 41 percent favorable rating to a 44 percent unfavorable rating, which is lower than the 41 percent to 42 percent even split in April.
Tara Reade, a Senate staffer for the former vice president in the 1990s, alleged in recent weeks that Biden assaulted her in a hallway in Congress after she gave him a duffel bag. She never filed an official complaint.
Biden remained silent when Reade’s accusations were initially brought up last year, but last Friday he responded 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.”
“We don’t know what impact this allegation will have in the long run,” 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.”
Murray added that Democratic-leaning independents potentially could be swayed by the allegations against Biden if the claims become more significant in media exposure.