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Third party voters unhappy with Trump’s covid-19 response are leaning Biden

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In a positive sign for Joe Biden days away from the presidential election, likely voters who preferred a candidate other than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016—about 7 percent of all likely voters—are breaking three to one for the former vice president, according to a new study by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.

The key driver of these voters’ choice: whether they believe that the federal government took the pandemic seriously enough. Among the voters in this group who now favor Biden, 86 percent say the federal government didn’t take enough action against the coronavirus, compared to only 11 percent of those who favor Trump. 

Those voting for Biden also reported much higher adherence to public health recommendations, the survey found. And they had much higher trust in Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, whom Trump has publicly challenged.

The survey also found that voters who supported Trump in 2016, but now favor Biden,  outnumber Clinton-to-Trump switchers two to one, netting roughly a 2 percent margin shift in the Democratic nominee’s favor. Again, the key factor is belief that the federal government inadequately responded to the pandemic.

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