Due to reporting on a former Senate aide’s sexual assault allegation, the Biden campaign saw some of its poll numbers fall for the first time since February. The Morning Consult poll noted that the sexual assault allegations “appears to be taking a toll” on Biden’s popularity.
Morning Consult headlined its poll findings, “Voters Sour on Biden as Reade Allegations Find Higher Platform.” Former Senate aide Tara Reade accused Biden in March that he sexually assaulted her in 1993, which both Biden and his campaign denied that it happened. Biden told MSNBC that it “never, never happened.” Despite his defense, Morning Consult found that Biden’s popularity dropped 5 percentage points to 43 percent, when it was 48 percent several weeks before. Among women, his favorability dropped for the first time since February, with 46 percent viewing him unfavorably and 44 percent viewing him favorably. His campaign saw similar drops in favorability in men, suburban whites and black voters.
Biden’s poll numbers fell due to the media’s reporting on Reade’s allegation, although the media was slow to do so. Since March 3 – Super Tuesday — Biden’s favorability numbers shot up due to his surprising primary victories. Reade publicly aired her allegation on March 24, but the media took several weeks to report on it. When the media reported on it, Biden’s favorability numbers fell.
For example, the New York Times published its report on April 13, 19 days after Reade made the allegation. On April 29, the Washington Post’s editorial board urged Biden to address the allegation and not delegate it to his campaign staffers. By the time Biden denied the allegation in an MSNBC interview May 1, his favorability began to drop among voters. Now, almost a month since the New York Times report, his favorability numbers continued to decline.