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Joe Biden. Picture: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN
Joe Biden. Picture: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN

Washington — US President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Donald Trump are tied in the race to win the November presidential election, as Trump fights criminal prosecution and Biden weathers criticism over his support for Israel’s war against Hamas militants, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. About 40% of registered voters in the eight-day poll, which closed on Tuesday, said they would vote for Biden, a Democrat, if the election were held today, with the same share picking former President Trump. The dead heat was little changed from a 1 point lead that Biden held in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted April 29-30.

The survey had a roughly 2 percentage point margin of error for registered voters and many voters remain on the fence with about six months left before the November 5 election.

About 20% of registered voters in the poll said they had not picked a candidate, were leaning towards third-party options or might not vote at all.

The poll found 13% of respondents would pick Robert Kennedy Junior, an anti-vaccine activist running as an independent, if he were on the ballot with Trump and Biden. The prior poll conducted in April showed Kennedy with 8% support. While nationwide surveys give important signals on American support for political candidates, just a handful of competitive states typically tilt the balance in the US electoral college, which ultimately decides who wins a presidential election.

Both candidates carry significant liabilities in the first US presidential election rematch in nearly 70 years.

Trump has spent much of the last months in a Manhattan courtroom in what is the first of four pending criminal trials against him and may be the only one to go before a jury before November.

The trial in Manhattan involves accusations Trump covered up a payment to an adult film actress before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump. An earlier Reuters/Ipsos poll also found a firm majority of Americans considered the charges to be serious. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies any such encounter. On Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers sought to undermine the testimony of the prosecution’s star witness who said Trump authorised the hush money payment.

The other trials involve charges Trump tried to overturn his 2020 election defeat or that he mishandled sensitive documents after leaving the presidency in 2021. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Biden’s liabilities include concerns about his age — 81 — as well as strong criticism from a slice of his Democratic Party over his support of Israel’s war on Hamas militants. Protests have roiled US universities in recent weeks, fuelling concerns among Democrats that some young voters could turn against Biden.

The poll, which surveyed adults nationwide, included many ways to measure support for Biden and Trump, 77, and most pointed to a close race. They were tied at 46% each among registered voters when respondents were not given an option to vote for a third-party candidate or say they weren’t sure who to pick, with 8% refusing to answer the question. Among registered voters who said they were completely certain they would vote in November, Biden had a slight 3 point lead. Only two-thirds of eligible voters turned out in the 2020 presidential election in which Biden defeated Trump.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll included responses from 3,208 registered voters who were surveyed online nationwide.


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