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Americans More Satisfied With Biden Than Trump Campaign

Americans More Satisfied With Biden Than Trump Campaign

Story Highlights

  • 56% satisfied with how Biden's campaign has been conducted
  • 46% say the same about the Trump campaign
  • 90% of Democrats, Republicans satisfied with own candidate's campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A majority of Americans, 56%, at the tail end of the 2020 campaign report being satisfied with the way Joe Biden's campaign has been conducted, while 46% say the same about President Donald Trump's campaign.

Ratings of Trump's campaign are markedly better than they were during his 2016 run, when that campaign received the worst satisfaction rating (29%) Gallup has recorded for any major-party candidate in the past six election cycles. Meanwhile, Biden's campaign is rated slightly better than Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign (50%).

Satisfaction With the Way Presidential Campaigns Have Been Run, 2000-2020
Are you generally satisfied or dissatisfied with the way [ROTATED: Democratic candidate's campaign/Republican candidate's campaign] has been conducted?
Satisfied Dissatisfied
% %
Joe Biden 56 43
Donald Trump 46 53
Hillary Clinton 50 48
Donald Trump 29 69
Barack Obama 58 37
Mitt Romney 54 41
Barack Obama 66 31
John McCain 40 59
John Kerry 51 46
George W. Bush 55 42
Al Gore 61 30
George W. Bush 58 31
Final pre-election measurements shown

These data are based on national adults' responses from an Oct. 16-27 Gallup poll.

In most election years, Gallup has found the Democratic candidate at least slightly ahead of the Republican candidate in satisfaction with how the campaigns have been run; 2004 was an exception. In 2008 and 2016, satisfaction with the Democratic candidate's campaign was more than 20 percentage points higher than satisfaction with the Republican candidate's campaign.

Barack Obama (66%) in 2008 received the highest rating of any presidential candidate. Al Gore (61%) in 2000 also received a satisfaction rating above 60%.

John McCain is the only candidate other than Trump with a satisfaction rating below 50%. This rating came after a difficult month for the McCain campaign, including three debates in which the public viewed Obama as the winner in each. McCain had received criticism in the month prior for "suspending" his campaign in response to the unfolding global financial crisis. McCain also consistently trailed his opponent in election polling in the final month of campaigning, which was not the case for the losing candidate in other elections since 2000.

Nine in 10 Republicans, Democrats Satisfied With Their Party's Campaign

Despite Biden's advantage among all Americans over Trump in reaction to his campaign's performance, equal percentages of Republicans and Democrats -- 90% each -- are satisfied with the campaign of their own party's candidate.

Democrats' satisfaction with the Biden campaign matches their level of satisfaction toward their own candidate in 2008 and 2012 -- both winning election years for the party, and ones in which Biden's name was on the ticket.

A small majority of self-identified political independents are satisfied with Biden's campaign. Meanwhile, fewer than one in four Republicans (23%) are. Republican satisfaction with the Democratic nominee's campaign has been significantly lower in the three most recent presidential elections compared with the elections of 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Line graph. Americans' satisfaction with how Democratic presidential campaigns have been conducted, by political affiliation. In 2020, 90% of Democrats are satisfied with how Joe Biden's presidential campaign has been conducted, compared with 55% of independents and 23% of Republicans.

Republicans' current satisfaction with the Trump campaign is up substantially from 51% for Trump's 2016 campaign, and roughly matches the party's previous high of 89% in 2012 when now-Sen. Mitt Romney was the candidate. Republicans' satisfaction with their party's campaign has varied much more than Democrats'.

Unlike the Democrats' trend, Republicans' level of satisfaction with their candidate's campaign does not line up with their candidates' electoral successes. The party's previous high in campaign satisfaction in 2012 was a losing year for Republicans. The 51% low among Republicans came in a winning year, 2016.

Political independents are less satisfied with Trump's campaign (39%) than they are with Biden's (55%) but more satisfied with Trump's than they were in 2016. Just one in 10 Democrats (10%) are satisfied with how Trump's campaign has been conducted. Democrats' satisfaction with Trump's two campaigns is significantly lower than it has been for any other recent Republican nominee.

Line graph. Americans' satisfaction with how Republican presidential campaigns have been conducted, by political affiliation. In 2020, 90% of Republicans are satisfied with how Donald Trump's presidential campaign has been conducted, compared with 39% of independents and 10% of Democrats.

Bottom Line

With the race for the presidency nearing its end, Americans are more satisfied with the major-party candidates' campaigns than they were during the last election. Biden's campaign is viewed more favorably than Hillary Clinton's was, and the Trump campaign's ratings are much less negative than they were during his first run, similar to the pattern seen with favorable ratings of the candidates themselves.

Biden and Trump have taken very different approaches to campaigning, on everything from the number of campaign appearances to COVID-19 safety measures to ad spending. Ultimately, though, satisfaction with a campaign is largely a function of one's political party affiliation.

Much like the president's approval and favorability ratings, overall satisfaction with Trump's campaign tilts negative -- though it comprises nearly total support from Republicans. Biden's campaign enjoys greater standing than Trump's by virtue of political independents' more positive views.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

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