Republican President Donald Trump trails Democrat Joe Biden among registered voters in three battleground states that he narrowly carried in 2016 and are seen as crucial to winning November's election, according to an Ipsos public opinion poll conducted exclusively for Reuters.
The poll, which ran from April 15-20 in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, showed 45pc of registered voters said they would support Mr Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, while 39pc said they would support Mr Trump.
It also found that Mr Biden, vice president under Mr Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, has an advantage of three percentage points among registered voters in Wisconsin, six points in Pennsylvania and eight points in Michigan.
The Ipsos poll shows Mr Biden has maintained or slightly improved his lead over Mr Trump in those states over the past few months, even though his campaign and the presidential primaries have been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic. The United States has the most confirmed cases and deaths in the world with at least 821,000 people infected and 46,000 deaths.
Mr Biden's advantage in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania over Mr Trump averaged three to four percentage points in February and March, according to an aggregation of survey results by Real Clear Politics.
That would also suggest that Mr Trump has not experienced an uptick in support in those states, even though he has commanded the public's attention at the helm of the federal response to the coronavirus crisis and sought to cast himself as a "wartime president" fighting an invisible enemy.
A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Tuesday that Mr Biden has an eight-point advantage over Mr Trump nationally, as support for him rose nationally in each of the last three weeks while disapproval of Mr Trump's response to the pandemic grew.
To be sure, anything can happen with several months to go before the November 3 general election. State polls in 2016 showed Democrat Hillary Clinton enjoyed wide leads over Mr Trump early in the election cycle in those same states before she lost them to Mr Trump on election day, all of them by less than a percentage point. Mr Trump is still more popular in those battlegrounds than he is nationally, in part thanks to his appeal to some blue-collar white voters.
Yet the number of registered voters who disapprove of Mr Trump outnumber those who approve of him in all three states, the Ipsos poll found.
The Ipsos poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points for the entire region and five points for each state.