Thirty-seven percent of those questioned in a new Monmouth University Poll say the allegations by former Biden staffer Tara Reade that the then-senator from Delaware sexually assaulted her 27 years ago are true, with 32 percent saying the allegations are not true and 31 percent having no opinion.
Biden on Friday repeatedly denied the allegations leveled against him. “They aren’t true. This never happened,” Biden said in a statement. And later he emphasized in a cable news TV interview on MSNBC that “unequivocally, it never, never happened and it didn’t. It never happened.”
Most Democrats who’ve endorsed their party’s presumptive presidential nominee have said they believe Biden while emphasizing that his former Senate staffer’s side of the story needs to be told.
As expected, the poll illustrates a wide partisan divide, with Republicans by a 50-17 percent margin saying the allegations are probably true and Democrats by a 55-20 percent margin saying they’re likely not true.
Independent voters, by a 43-22 percent margin, say the allegations are likely true.
The allegations against Biden grabbed national attention with just six months to go until the November general election between the Democratic challenger and President Trump.
The GOP incumbent in the White House has faced and denied well over a dozen allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray noted that it's too early to predict the impact the allegations against Biden “will have in the long run.”
“For some voters who believe the charge, it is still not enough to override their desire to oust Trump. The outlook is murkier for those who don’t have an opinion on it. This group includes a number of Democratic-leaning independents who could potentially be swayed if this story grows in importance,” Murray emphasized.
Biden’s favorable rating has barely budged over the last month. The former vice president stands at 41 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable in the poll, down slightly from a 41-42 percent rating in Monmouth’s April poll.
Trump stands at 40 favorable and 53 percent unfavorable, slightly more negative than his 42-50 percent rating last month.
And Biden tops Trump 50-41 percent in a general election showdown. That’s up from last month when the former vice president edged the GOP incumbent by 4 points.
“Biden’s lead continues to build even as overall opinion of him remains soft. It’s possible that recent headlines about a sexual assault claim may have had an impact on his favorability rating, but most voters still see this election mainly as a referendum on Trump,” Murray said.
The Monmouth University poll was conducted April 30-May 4, with 808 adults nationwide – including 739 registered voters – interviewed by live telephone operators. Questions regarding the sexual assault allegations against Biden were asked May 1-May 4. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.