Americans Associate Negative Words With Trump, While Biden Tied to Nice Phrases

Americans are hearing, reading and seeing more about President Donald Trump than former Vice President Joe Biden. But unlike in 2016, his Democratic rival is tied to positive buzz words.

Researchers from Georgetown University, the University of Michigan, and polling partners at CNN and SSRS teamed up to asked Americans what words they associate with Biden and Trump on a week-to-week basis. While roughly 70 percent of respondents versus 60 percent say they hear more about Trump, those words are primarily associated with negative topics such as "coronavirus" and "pandemic."

But on the other side, Biden's name is widely associated with words such as "honest," "good" and "cares," the data shows. And in the past few weeks, words associated with Biden have primarily tilted toward his recent announcement of California Senator Kamala Harris as his vice president.

The pollsters conducted the same term test during the 2016 presidential election between Trump and then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state was overwhelmingly tied to words about her emails and allegations over her having a private email server in the weeks leading up to the election. Meanwhile, words associated with Trump changed on a weekly basis — something that is happening on Biden's side this year.

This year, the word "good" has been associated with the top three phrases tied to Biden's name for five of the past six weeks. But in Trump's case, "coronavirus" and "mask" and "news" were the primary phrases associated with his presidency. Mentions of "coronavirus" dominate discussions surrounding Trump among Republicans, Democrats and independents. Republicans were more likely than any other group to associate the word "economy" with the president.

One major potential setback for the former vice president could be his association with an absence from TV or news or headlines — the exact opposite issue faced by Trump.

Additionally, discussion of Biden's mental health, capability, and age are "lurking just below the surface," as CNN noted Sunday. Many discussions, words and phrases tied to Biden appear critical of his seeming absence on the 2020 campaign trail versus Trump's seemingly omnipresent stature this year.

Although context appears to be lacking, Biden is also far more associated with phrases of diversity including "African-American," "Latino" and "Black people."

"Taken together, the findings suggest Biden begins the sprint to Election Day from a more positive position than Trump. But the conversation continues," the CNN authors highlighted.

Newsweek reached out to both the Trump and Biden campaigns for additional remarks about the polling data Sunday morning.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Americans are hearing, reading and seeing more about President Donald Trump than former Vice President Joe Biden - but unlike in 2016 - his Democratic rival is tied to positive buzz words. Drew Angerer/NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty