Exclusive poll: Texans more excited about Trump than Biden, weigh in on Tara Reade accusation

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WILMINGTON, DE – MARCH 12: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak, at the Hotel Du Pont March 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Health officials say 11,000 people have been tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A statewide Nexstar Media/Emerson College poll of Texans over the weekend gauged their enthusiasm for presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden and dug into what those surveyed think about Biden and his campaign choices.

Excitement levels and the Democratic nominee

The poll gauged how excited people are to support Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. Trump both had more people say they were “very excited” and fewer people say they were “not that excited” about him than all those who responded to the same question about Biden.

Excitement level of supporting Joe Biden

Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020

Excitement level of supporting Donald Trump

Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020

When broken down by party, 19.5% of Democrats said they were extremely excited about Biden and 22.6 said they were “not that excited.” Meanwhile, 49.4% of Republicans said they were “extremely excited” about supporting Trump and 9.5% reported they were not that excited about him.

While Biden is the presumptive nominee, he has not been officially named so and likely won’t for months. The Associated Press reported the Democratic National Committee would delay its nomination convention until August. As recently as April 23, the AP reported Chairman Tom Perez believed the convention would be in-person, provided there is a downward slope in COVID-19 cases.

Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020
Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020

The poll floated the idea of who would be a more popular pick for the Democratic nomination: Joe Biden, or New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has recently been in the spotlight because of the coronavirus pandemic in his home state. Those surveyed were split, with 51% supporting Cuomo and 49% supporting Joe Biden.

Director of Emerson College Polling Spencer Kimball said their pollsters have asked this question in other states, and generally Biden is leading by a few points.

“In Texas, it’s actually Cuomo that leads and that also suggests that the party itself is not very excited, not very supportive, or have doubts now about Joe Biden,” Kimball said. “It will be interesting to see if he’s able to bring back all of that momentum he was able to do around Super Tuesday, because right now it seems that voters are now questioning.”

Manny Garcia, the executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said throughout the primary it saw Democratic voters were strongly behind Biden, and now is the time to “put our foot on the gas and make sure we hold Donald Trump accountable.”

“Every single thing we have seen throughout the course of the past year and a half or so, has shown that this race is within the margin of error,” Garcia said.

He also added excitement could build from races on a local level, as Democrats try to flip the Texas House and end the Republican supermajority in the Texas Senate.

Possible Biden running mates

Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020
Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020

The poll asked Texans who they believe Joe Biden should pick for a running mate and offered seven options. The people who received the most support were both Democratic senators who suspended their presidential campaigns. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 34.0% while Sen. Kamala Harris had 20.6%. Stacey Abrams, former Democratic nominee for Georgia’s governor, was the third most-popular named option with 10.0% of the vote. A total of 22.3% of people said they would choose someone else.

“What’s interesting is we come back to that enthusiasm gap and a vice-presidential candidate may be able to bring back some enthusiasm,” Kimball said. “But if we recall back to John McCain — he tried to bring Sarah Palin in to do just that. It really wasn’t able to get it over the finish line. So we’ll have to see what type of gamble Joe Biden’s willing to take here in 2020.”

Former staffer’s accusations

Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020
Nexstar Media/Emerson College Poll conducted March 8-10, 2020

Tara Reade has accused Biden of sexually assaulting her when she was his aide in 1993. Biden denied her claims in an interview in May, saying it “never happened.”

The poll asked those who responded if, based on what they’ve read and heard, they believe Reade’s “allegation of sexual harassment and assault against Joe Biden is true or false.” A total of 41.8% of people said they believe it’s true, 27.1% said they believed it was false and 31.1% said they were either unsure or hadn’t heard of the allegations.

Interestingly, Kimball points out the issue “really cuts bipartisanship” — 21.3% of Democrats believe Reade’s allegations are true, while 60.4% of Republicans and 38.2% of Independents believe the same.

“This is becoming an issue for Joe Biden,” Kimball said. “And that if he denies — it works within his party to some degree, but it really doesn’t work outside the party, as in bringing in Independents or trying to convert Republicans to become supporters. So it seems as if there’s a selective perception of how people look at this event, but regardless, in their reality, they do think that Biden has still more evidence to put out to clear his name, and that’s something that we’ll see if it lingers for the next six months until the election, or if he’s able to resolve this issue before the summer.”

Poll information

The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday via phone and online and its results have a +/- 3.4% margin of error. It surveyed 800 people — 28.7% of whom identified as Democrat, 38.0% of whom identified as Republican and 33.3% of whom said they were Independent or other.

The poll was conducted in the greater metropolitan areas of Austin, Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio and El Paso.

The poll also revealed Texans are reserved about returning to life as normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses begin to reopen across the state. It also showed Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval rating is higher than President Trump’s in Texas.

The same poll was also conducted in Ohio and California. According to the Ohio Nexstar/Emerson poll results, Ohioans overwhelmingly approve of Gov. DeWine’s  leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, but are split on President Trump. If the presidential election was held today, a slim majority of Ohioans polled said they would cast their vote for Trump.

Meanwhile, the California poll showed Californians are not ready for things to go back to normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump’s overall approval rating is low among Californians who also say they don’t believe the federal government has done enough to help the state during the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to the presidential election, the poll shows Californians will vote for Democratic candidate Joe Biden but they aren’t very excited about it.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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