The perception that Biden has shifted left was observed across partisan identity. Democrats rated Biden’s ideology at a 3.3 compared with 3.7 months ago, similar to the movement measured among independents, who now say Biden is a 3.1 instead of a 3.4. Republicans, who were already more predisposed to view Biden as very liberal, also increasingly see him that way, from a 2.4 to a 2.1 between the two polls.
Candidates perceived as moderate tend to fare better in general elections, and it’s an advantage that the president enjoyed over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, four years ago. But while voters are increasingly likely to say Biden is liberal, the findings also suggest that members of the Trump campaign, which is trying to brand the Delaware Democrat as a Trojan horse for socialist policies, still have their work cut out for them in making him look comparatively extreme.
With a 5.7 rating, voters are also slightly less likely to view Trump as moderate than they were earlier this year, while also viewing him as farther from the center than his presumptive challenger. Additionally, the surveys asked voters to rate the ideology of their “ideal presidential candidate,” a metric that inched leftward from 4.3 to 4.2 between the two polls. That puts Biden slightly closer than Trump to the general electorate’s sweet spot.