One reason Biden’s advantage might have been cut is that the peaceful protests of early summer have faded from the news and the importance of race relations has dropped down on the list of Americans’ most important problems.
The shift in the numbers has been seen even more dramatically in the pivotal swing of Wisconsin before the Blake shooting.
The net approval rating (approval – disapproval) for the protests fell from +27 points to -1 point during the same time period.
This comes as the protests are seen as mostly peaceful by 49% compared to 40% who see them as mostly violent.
During the same period, the presidential race went from 52% for Biden to 44% for Trump in June to 50% for Biden to 46% for Trump, within the margin of error result, in August. (Biden’s edge in the average is still about 6 points.)
At the same time, Trump’s approval rating on the protests in the Marquette poll remains in the 30s in Wisconsin.
Indeed, the story of the protests has been that voters don’t necessarily like the actions of the protesters, but they really don’t like Trump on the issue either. Biden is still overwhelmingly trusted over Trump when it comes to race relations.
If the protests are seen as a crime issue, it benefits Trump. If they’re seen more through the lens of race relations, it’s to his detriment. That’s why you don’t really see Trump give any ground to the protesters, and why you see Biden trying to balance praise for the protests with condemnation of those committing violent acts of protests.
The trend has clearly been in the direction Trump wishes to be on how the protests are seen, though the issue is far from a winner for him.
We’ll have to see where the numbers go after the recent events in Kenosha.