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AP-NORC poll: Trump, Biden supporters diverge on issues

WASHINGTON – As Election Day nears, a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds supporters of President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden diverge on many issues central to the campaign.

While the pandemic has complicated the election season, scrambling party conventions plans and preventing rallies, the two candidates have criticized the positions of their opponent as part of their efforts to rally their bases — or expand them — from afar.

The new poll finds both coalitions interested in the election, but Trump supporters are somewhat more likely than Biden backers to be excited. Biden supporters overwhelmingly feel anxious, which may also be a motivator come Election Day.

Among the findings in the survey, conducted July 16-20:

— The past month has featured several court decisions on abortion, including the Supreme Court's rebuke of a Louisiana law regulating the admitting privileges at nearby hospitals for doctors performing abortions. With the next president all but certain to fill a seat on the high court, advocates for and against abortion contend the issue is at stake in the upcoming presidential election.

Overall, registered voters are more likely to oppose than favor making abortion illegal, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman is at risk, 47% to 32%. Another 21% of voters are neither in favor nor opposed. Among Biden supporters, 67% are opposed to making abortion illegal except in specific cases, while 16% are in favor. Trump supporters are more likely to favor than oppose doing so, 52% to 26%.

— Another highly visible issue this summer, removing Confederate statues from public places, closely divides voters: 43% are in favor, while 39% are opposed. Another 17% hold neither opinion. The demands for removal resurfaced after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes, sparked protests against racial injustice throughout the country.

Trump has remained adamant that these monuments should be preserved. Roughly three-quarters of Trump supporters opposed Confederate statue removal, while about as many Biden supporters are in favor.

Democrats are making access to health care a top campaign issue with the pandemic as a backdrop. The poll finds voters largely favor a public option, which Biden has backed. Fifty-eight percent favor a new government health insurance plan that any American can purchase instead of a private health insurance plan, while 19% are opposed. Another 23% hold neither opinion.

Fully 76% of Biden supporters are in favor of a public option. Trump supporters are closely divided, with 37% in favor and 35% opposed.

— U.S. relations with China have deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks following two years of a trade war of tit-for-tat economic sanctions, including Trump's punishing tariffs on Chinese goods. Voters are more likely to favor than oppose tariffs on some goods imported into the U.S., 42% to 24%, with another 32% holding neither opinion. Two-thirds of Trump voters are in favor, with just about 1 in 10 opposed. Among Biden supporters, 27% are in favor, while 35% are opposed; 37% say they hold neither opinion.

— But voters are more likely to oppose than support another core Trump policy, the U.S.-Mexico border wall, 49% vs. 37%. Another 13% say they're neither in favor nor opposed. About 8 in 10 Trump voters are in support of a border wall, while about as many Biden backers are opposed.

— Other issues:

On gun policy, voters are more likely to favor than oppose a nationwide ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles and similar semiautomatic weapons, 54% to 31%. About 8 in 10 Biden supporters are in favor. About 6 in 10 Trump supporters are opposed, while a quarter express support.

Voters also closely split on a carbon tax, though they are slightly more likely to favor than oppose taxing the use of carbon based fuels, 38% to 31%, while 30% hold neither opinion. Among Biden supporters, 59% are in favor, while just 15% are opposed Fifty-two percent of Trump voters are opposed to a carbon tax, while 14% are in favor.

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The AP-NORC poll of 1,057 adults, including 922 registered voters, was conducted July 16-20 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

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Online:

AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/.