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Few Think Biden Telling Truth About Sex Charge

A former Senate staffer has accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, and voters suspect she may be telling the truth. But they don’t expect the media to cover the Biden story like they did the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 34% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Tara Reade’s accusation that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. The likely Democratic presidential nominee has denied the claim, but only 24% think he is telling the truth. A sizable 41%, however, is undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

By comparison, 33% believed Kavanaugh’s main accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, when she first came forward with claims that he sexually assaulted her in high school. Thirty-eight percent (38%) believed Kavanaugh’s denial instead.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters say they have been following recent news reports about the allegation against Biden, although only 26% have been following Very Closely. Among voters who have been following Very Closely, 60% think the accuser is telling the truth.

Voters aren’t surprised that most major media outlets have largely ignored the Biden story which broke earlier this month, a stark contrast to the blanket coverage given to Kavanaugh’s accusers during his Senate confirmation hearings. Just 30% think the media is likely to cover the allegation against Biden as much as they did those against Kavanaugh. A plurality (45%) disagrees and says the media is unlikely to cover the Biden story as much. Twenty-five percent (25%) are not sure.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted April 28-29, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

There’s a lot more voter excitement about a matchup between Biden and President Trump compared to the last two presidential elections, especially among Republicans. 

Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party have been following news reports about the allegation against Biden more closely than Democrats have. But even 21% of voters in his own party don’t think Biden’s telling the truth, although that compares to 48% of Republicans and 36% of unaffiliated voters.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of GOP voters and 47% of unaffiliateds think the media is unlikely to cover the allegation against Biden as much as they did the allegations against Kavanaugh. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Democrats agree; 39% do not, while 32% are not sure.

Women and those under 40 are more likely than men and older voters to believe Biden’s accuser.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters who believe Biden expect the media to cover the allegation as much as the ones against Kavanaugh. Among those who believe the accuser, 71% think the media is likely to cover the Biden charge less.

Most Democrats now think their party is likely to hold an open convention in which the delegates choose a candidate rather than rely on the primary results. But they overwhelmingly believe Joe Biden will still emerge as the presidential nominee.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of all voters said last September that most reporters were trying to defeat Kavanaugh's confirmation. Just eight percent (8%) thought most were trying to help him win Senate confirmation.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted April 28-29, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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