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The latest opinion polls indicate that Joe Biden, the Democrats’ likely candidate, is leading the race for the White House. Photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images

The latest opinion polls indicate that Joe Biden, the Democrats’ likely candidate, is leading the race for the White House. Photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images

The latest opinion polls indicate that Joe Biden, the Democrats’ likely candidate, is leading the race for the White House. Photo: Jim Watson/Getty Images

President Trump has dismissed opinion polls that show his likely Democratic presidential opponent, Joe Biden, leading in the 2020 race for the White House.

The Republican president said he did not expect the election to be a referendum on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and added he was surprised the former vice-president was doing well.

"I don't believe the polls," Mr Trump said. "I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don't think that they will put a man in who's incompetent."

Mr Trump has criticised Mr Biden's decades-long record as a US senator and as Barack Obama's vice-president.

"And I don't mean incompetent because of a condition that he's got now. I mean he has been incompetent for 30 years. Everything he ever did was bad. His foreign policy was a disaster," Mr Trump said.

Polls conducted this week by Reuters/Ipsos about the general election showed that 44pc of registered voters said they would back Mr Biden in the November 3 election, while 40pc said they would support Mr Trump.

More critical for Mr Trump, a recent poll by Reuters/Ipsos of the three key battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, had Mr Biden with a 45pc-39pc edge over the president. Mr Trump's victories in those states in the 2016 election helped propel him to the White House.

Mr Trump closely questioned his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, and other political advisers after they showed him poll numbers that would have seen him lose the re-election race to Mr Biden, according to a source.

The president was told he was behind Mr Biden in many key states and would have lost the Electoral College if the election had taken place in April.

Mr Trump, in a tweet yesterday, said he supported Parscale. "Actually, he is doing a great job. I never shouted at him (been with me for years, including the 2016 win), & have no intention to do so," he said.

Mr Trump added that he did not view the election as a test of how he did with the pandemic.

"No, I don't think so. I think it's a referendum on a lot of things," he said.

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"I think it's going to be a referendum on all the things we've done and this will be a part of it."

Mr Biden has criticised Mr Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Asked if he would debate with Mr Biden in the autumn, Mr Trump responded: "Of course."

The president has sought to stir up discord in Democratic Party ranks about Senator Bernie Sanders, who dropped out of the Democratic presidential race and endorsed Mr Biden earlier this month.

The president has suggested that if fellow progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren had dropped out of the contest earlier, Mr Sanders would have prevailed over Mr Biden.

"He should never have won the primary, ever in a million years, because those votes were taken away.

"They were taken away from Bernie Sanders. And I think I'm going to get a lot of Bernie Sanders voters," he said.


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