New ABC News poll shows Trump and 2020 candidates neck and neck

A new poll from ABC News showed that registered voters prefer Trump and Democratic presidential candidates between 46%-49%, with Trump being the least preferred presidential candidate.
27:18 | 07/08/19

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Transcript for New ABC News poll shows Trump and 2020 candidates neck and neck
Everybody welcome to the the preacher man Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with us on Monday hoping had a great fourth of July and are seeing dry today after on the East Coast it is a soggy one flooding in. Here in the nation's capital lot to get to today and the race for 20/20 new developments. With Iran and of course that news on a New York today that has a lot of folks here in Washington talking that Jeffrey Epstein I sex trafficking case will break down what that means. For all of us and our politics coming up but first the race for toward each morning there's a new ABC news Washington Post poll which shows. President trump has its highest approval ratings since taking office but is trailing former vice president Joseph Biden. And head to head match up if that would happen today this is ABC news is learning now potentially. Of a possible shakeup in the presidential. Our race ahead we'll get an of that now and our political reporter Jon Lieber Holbrook is here also joining us live from New York Avery harper. Who covers the Biden campaign she was out on the trail in South Carolina over the weekend with the former rice president she joins us Avery great to see that's our review Johnny. Because these numbers are really significant let's start with the top line for president trump some really good news here at highest approval rating up his two year term. Right and that's that with a number that he's gonna focus on coming out of this Paul. And that is good news for him but he also have to take these numbers and contacts and if you look at. The two and a half your average of our ABC news Washington Post poll the first turn captures this presidency he's at around 39 and a half percent which is a historically low. But these numbers also come after last week his reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee announcing they raised. Over a hundred million dollars for his reelection effort so if you take those two things combined you really do see that this is a president who like most incumbent presidents is going to be a formidable challenge for any Democrat who emerges from that you know 24 candidates are running. And perhaps some tightening in this matter ABC post poll in it is very early and obviously presidential elections are won. In the elect for college not the national popular vote but it's a good litmus test for where things stand right now let's put up some of those matchups. First we have what people would who people would vote for if if the ticket wins. Our trump vs Harris you see there it's it's pretty close it's within the margin of error same thing with Sanders in Warren. But a different outcome Johnny. When it comes to Joseph Biden and that's its big giving him an edge. And that's was been really positive from this poll. And particularly well and inching imminent pullout is that Joseph Biden has a 29% advance what moderate voters over Donald Trump and that's really the former vice president the president spreading potter. And so that's certainly concerning for the trump campaign obviously it's incredibly early if you look back at what the polls said. In a four years ago or eight years ago in previous races you'll see people like Rudy Giuliani leading Republican primary Hillary Clinton up by big margins. But got by number you know has been also pretty consistent over some other public polls us replica. Not content some concern and does that number we just saw Joseph Biden leading Donald Trump in a hypothetical matchup does that help him among Democrats is that bolster his case of electability and that really is kind of what his whole campaign is centered around which is that. Look all these other people are running money's being you know bold progressive ideas. And the accuracy going to stand toe to toe with Donald Trump and beat him now we've Ubisoft the last you know couple weeks that Connolly Harris came in and sort of is trying to also make an argument out of that really is one of the centerpieces. Of Joseph Klein's entirety. Assessment of how he's hanging onto that idea of electability of or harper you spent the weekend with Joseph Biden in South Carolina he is really struggling to turn the page after. Several weeks of controversy about those comments of working with segregationist. Yeah we actually saw him apologize. Out during his first campaign stop in South Carolina over the weekend in Sumpter South Carolina 28 predominately. Black crowd he. What this is three weeks after those comments were made that he apologize he told background that he was wrong tomatoes comments. And that he was sorry for you the pain that they may have caused. And this is wet leaders that I have spoken to in South Carolina wanted. Him to do and they hope that he would do those comments were receding that apology was received well by the folks who were in that room and also the voters and I spoke with on the ground. And joining how do you move past something like this and so one by now I have to reconsider this they were afraid of this be death by a thousand Cox. This story line just won't go away what does he need to do to really pivotal this past this point. I think what you've seen from the vine campaign thus far is that there's this idea that if we just stay sort of consistent and our message and keeps UMC's other instances of where it looks like a former us president. May be sorted out of step with where the modern Democratic Party is in turn to somebody as progressive issues. But his message really hasn't changed is that we're in the battle for you know the soul of this nation and I'm the only one who can beat Donald Trump so I think he things that look. Yes I've had these different positions in the past and may not necessarily be a 100% online I'm still as evidenced by this poll but that's got to go in there and actually be. And wrapping himself right in the legacy of the first African American president Barack Obama every harper he is a name dropping Barack Obama. Almost every other sentence it seems like these days really cramped up those references of his ties to the. Obama administration. Yeah Ireland we see him do this especially when he's talking sue black audience says. I he continuously name drops are Barack Obama and accomplishments made during the Obama Biden administration as he often says we saw him these phrases like. As Barack says he also referred to obamacare as the jewel of the Obama administration to rousing applause. I so this is something that we'll continue to do its interstate he was asked about says ass now clinging to the Obama. Legacy and he deflected he said that he won its only talk about the future. But it's important to note that he is the person who continues to bring up his past via his work with segregationist. Or his work with a Barack Obama. Britain just now some breaking news about the straw wholly democratic field Johnny 24 candidates now getting a little bit smaller. Congressman Eric swallow of California just moments ago announced he's stepping out of the race take a lesson. Today ends. Our presidential campaign. But it is the beginning. Of an opportunity. In congress hoping new perspective. Shaped by the lives that touched Martin. Joining when the youngest candidates and every similar raid gone control a top priority in his campaign really never took crop despite that big moment. The first debate right continued as you're alluding to recent youngest candidates in the race he kind of trying to seize on that generational. Mantle and passing the torch moreover to provide exactly what you are you had and you see an early stage of this presidential race. Candidates like mayor people who judge who have actually really captured that sort of younger generational shift mantle that swallow is really kind of banking on. And he is a congressman from a relatively Lou. District he said he's gonna run for reelection to his house he began as a safe blue district you can kind of see hear and see the political calculation here Wallace mine there when he was announcing didn't make a difference in this race do you think in the end he moved. Move the conversation and all. I think on the issue of gun control it can be argued that he did really kind of put some policy ideas into the mainstream now we're not there before. And so I think you're sort of remains to be seen I think it's it's still early but it he didn't could have an impact we're also getting word now that. Potentially another Democrat could be getting it that's right and you can lose. One and go right back to 24. Billionaire from manager Tom sire who if you were called back in January mean that went to Iowa how this whole process. Press conference and said he wasn't a lot on our I'm I'm not running for president but we did always hear that he did reserve the right to sort of change his mind if he looked at the field. And spend answer wasn't satisfied with the with the messaging and the sort of primary and that is being fought and that made me very won't happen using other outlets part that. So it's starter does give and that I mean you know got to be very interesting dynamic because he's someone who can self fund his billions and billions of dollars he ran his own seat has his own sort of political operation behind him Simmons who was with bush. This idea to impeach Donald Trump there aren't could tap into that movement in the Democratic Party he's one guy though. Who won't be on the debate stage at the end of the month in Detroit the CNN debate coming up just around the corner one final put out today Johnny. We're just learning that CNN is going to hold a live draw. Next week four where the candidates will be placed on stage. Randy if you remember back to and it's a couple weeks ago where people were on the stage actually really was different zeal that people yet kind of building blocks in a way out on the wings kind of you know trying to China and so that really doesn't matter he concedes sort of capitalizing on that trauma center campaigns will be watching with bated. Carter thanks again Johnny from over care political reporter Aybar harper in New York thanks a lot guys turning now I to this sordid tale of a billionaire finance year with ties. To high profile political figures from both parties here in Washington Jeffrey Epstein you probably heard the name. How was indicted today on federal sex trafficking charges in New York City this is. A more than a decade after a widely criticized the plea deal gave him a sharply reduced sentence. In a similar case or bring their investigative reporter Josh mar goal and who has been covering this all along he joins us from New York hey Josh silver Harry. Berkett got for people who don't know Jeffrey Epstein don't they don't know this case why is this so significant. You know DeVon Jeffrey Epstein. Is is really well known are very small part of the world he is a billionaire investments purse investment. Guru. And also well known philanthropist. He's not somebody who's a public name but he did burst into the headlines as he said over a decade ago. When he was investigated for accusations of sex trafficking we've young girls and young women. In Florida and then he you know the investigation ended with this non prosecution. Plea agreement. That was was controversial and questioned by many people. Yet and that plea deal was actually are arranged by then prosecutor Alex the cost who is now the labor secretary in the front administration. It said that creates a whole interest Steen who array of questions for someone who is now at a very high profile post. Well absolutely and in fact a cost was asked about the circumstances surrounding that agreement. Back when a cost that was you know before the senate for his confirmation hearings when he was nominated by the president to be labor secretary. But a Costa really had has not satisfactorily. Answered the questions that had been asked about the circumstances surrounding. This plea deal and now what you have is federal authorities prosecutors and FBI agents here in Manhattan. Issuing this in unsealed in this indictment today a resting. Epstein over the weekend and basically saying that they are going back into the heart of the case against him from back over a decade ago and reentering. And I think just before I let you go one and other reasons why people are so fascinated by this case. Is because of the connection Jeffrey Epstein had to two precedents President Bill Clinton president Donald Trump in fact. Donald Trump himself had been there's a picture of trump with Jeffrey Epstein many years back but they gave this quote about Jeff. To New York magazine in 2002 this is Donald Trump I've known Jack for fifteen years terrific guy a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do in many of them are on the younger side the White House. Has not responded to a request for her for comment about this case but that. Has been a really kind of a key piece to this puzzle that two presidents have had connections with him. Absolutely I mean you know Epstein the accusations against that team. Our are awful. And serious and if he's convicted on the counts that were announced today he could go to prison for 45 years. But truth is it's his connections to these other high profile people to president's specifically. That have really need this I'd national a story of national interests. There really are really is just more going neck in New York force tracking that Jeffrey Epstein think construction. Moving on now to an unusual move over at the White House today president trump is talking about the environment something that is front and center for many Democrats of course but not so much. For members of his party the president today is claiming that the US is a world leader. On environmental issues this from the president who withdrew us from the parent climate accords and also rolled back more than eighty environmental regulations in his first. Two years in office the president speaking about this at the White House this afternoon we're taking a look right now the president let's listen in briefly. When we innovate produce and grow up. We're able to unleash technologies. And processes that. Make the environment better while reassuring. And so importantly you look at. We shoring production. All the way taken it away from foreign polluters and back. Two American soil the previous administration. Waged a relentless war. On American energy we can't do that they sought to punish show workers are produces. And manufactures. With. Ineffective. Global agreements. That allowed the world's worst polluting countries to continue their practices. These radical plans. Would not make the world cleaner they would just make and put Americans. Out of work and they put a matter of work rapidly. -- production to foreign countries with lower standards are companies forced. And that's president Donald Trump in the east room at the White House taking credit for what he says his US leadership. On environmental issues we will now asked to a murmur I'll ask experts whether they think that's the case is brand Heather matier. Tony if she's a national field director with moms clean air force was a former EPA official. During the Obama administration had a great to see you in Victoria Herman. And National Geographic Explorer managing editor. Managing director rather of the Arctic institute over with our friends. At ten Nat geo great to see you think you so much Victoria for coming in let me start. With you Heather you have been advocating. For so many of these environmental protections that the president. Has rolled back. What we're do you think he who is his leadership is on this environmental issue and end it do you think he's done anything right on the environment. When you know as the old saying don't spit on me you can't praying that the bank being asking. Happening right now the idea the acts that he's making this statement today is laughable at best this administration has done an ink. But credit the worst polluters in the US. I give them a hand in the ministry administration by. Clinton lobbyists to key positions and earth EPA and department of interior. Containing lead honorable Barack I didn't. Think that we know regulation that we now have been helpful skewed communities all across this country. So scary I DNA he's trying to Wayne Abu barn polluters or look at what isn't what he called it happened near empty. Really steady not only moms but all Americans at eight we have to do better and hold this administration as well each. Count all. Ernie Egypt where protecting our children. An art I'm. Victoria Herman you studied the impact of climate change on many vulnerable communities are or how in the world. You know the president it's saying today that his focus on promoting natural gas. Has been part of the solution to improving air quality in the United States is there anything to that. Is the greater use of natural gas a positive thing. Natural gas used to be viewed as a bridge between. Our and a intensive cool are oil and renewable energy but at this point when we have less than twelve years to cantina a climate change catastrophe. We don't have time for breach pupils. Well natural gas does occurring not less dirty and then. Coal or gas it also increases it met in emissions and methane is 100 times. More ho and then carbon dioxide and the only real energy solution is renewable energies. And as Heather as you look ahead to to between twenty presidential campaign. I think I know where you fall on the issue any environment. How I. How salient do you think this is going to be this year as voters head to the polls do you think that climate changes. Actually get topped the list and in surpassed things like health care and the economy and in people in your circles. This housing and money every angle we're looking anarchy and and deacons. Are at not. Looking an important regulations like Mercury is in business administration trying to rule the clean car and you're trying year old. Trying to make more money at it gas problem just put it. Fueling the current ticker Houston practical school it's definitely top the list on top and Victorian just then we know who has been twelve years outs in the sewer billiard changing things get our children are not had a irreversible in cash so I think you know Maggie they you know trying to dainty feet well water and now. Over and immediately series truck. Yet there sure was assigned today a lot of flooding at the White House actually in the press room over there in the west wing we saw water. All over the floor in the ABC Booth there here we have your name and have pictures of it there is water in the carpet. And was up to the shoes as some people in there but Victoria before. Are we let you got to ask you about that the leadership that cities in local communities are doing on this we hear from so many places across the country California Florida. Including some Republican and controlled areas. Really stepping not to take on climate change and community adaptation do you think that's. Sort of the future here in the near term that this is going to be you have to be a local issue community based issue responding to this. I think ultimately it needs to be both a national and S national issue. Well we have a lack of leadership during this administration in late. 83 environmental roll backs the are now seeing cities states. Ands or local villages and talents rising up to eat climate change champions. You seem mayors who are stepping up and committing to the climate Paris agreement despite the United States withdrawing from that agreement. And smaller rural communities that are binding climate solutions. All across the united state and US territories so wild C a lack of action at the federal level. We are seeing thousands of community private champions that are rising up to that challenge. And to really pioneering the solutions to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to those impacts that we can no longer a boy like that flooding in DC today. Had it's inspiring to see those communities and those sell local residents taking us that's that your right we do need some. Our national leadership doctor Victoria Herman the managing director of the art institute and National Geographic Explorer thanks much Victoria and Heather matier Tony. A national few director for moms clean air force we appreciate you for coming on thank you so much Heather. A turning now to the nuclear threat coming from Iran a major development now as it was announced over the weekend. Iditarod has begun enriching uranium about those caps sat in the 2015 nuclear deal this is a name dangerous. New turn in their crumbling agreement with Donald Trump officially. He was officially withdrew from that deal of course last year. So what does this mean how close are we to Iran getting nuclear weapon and George here now by coriander she with the nuclear threat initiative she's one of the people who. I helped negotiate that deal and advise. The truck Obama administration rather during the negotiations also Connor Fagan joins us from the State Department. Of course are with use seems like a very big. Development an ominous one when they come out and say you know after several years with the brakes on. We have now begun reaching that cap how dangerous is that. It's not dangerous from a technical point of view but I certainly think it's dangerous from a political point of view. When we're looking at this agreement that is already been kind of hanging by a thread after the US withdrawal and the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran. We're really thinking about what actions do we all have available to us from a technical point of view. Even going up to the four point 5% enriched uranium which was announced today above the cap of three point 67 you know these numbers don't mean anything magically. But what they do mean is that Iran is starting to kind of tip tell over the line. They can't make a nuclear weapon tomorrow we're still at that approximately a year before they could even have the first quantity of material for a nuclear bomb. But it is important because what we need to do is try to figure out what options we have to hold the line here and hopefully you reverse and these steps are eminently reversible. Can't offend again we were talking before the show about the deal itself which was sort of hanging on by a thread even though president from withdrew the US from it because the European countries. Re hearing by their terms Iran for the most part was adjourned by its terms a sort of hanging in there. Is this now the death knell for the deal that they've that they've broken your Richmond caps. Well if the Europeans have anything to do with it DeVon I don't think that the death now has sent it just get. They are still actively working with Iran to try to salvage the agreement you know that the trump administration continues to say that. These moves by Tehran will further isolated. But it's actually the Washington that has really been isolated. As leaders like French president Emanuel McCraw and spent over an hour on the phone with the Iranian President over the weekend. They're trying to work with Iran to give them enough economic activity. As was promised under the deal to satisfy a running to make up for the biting US sanctions. Whether or not they're going to be able to do that so far they haven't been able to an in Iran is continuing to put pressure on the Europeans to come up with some sort of bigger deal in bigger economic package for them. Inquiry we hear all the time about to break out period that Iran needs to to make a bomb you said that still about a one year. Window right now if they really were to go all and are we seeing the break out happening to me is this the sprint. To the bomb right now taking place before us. There is no sprint right now and the important thing is that we actually have those international inspectors still on the ground every day and you're still there with day I don't there. And we know the bet they've gone over the 300 kilograms and we will have confirmation that they've gone over the four point 5% because those inspectors are on the ground. If we were to see an all out sprint I think we would see. I might different kind of approach to the nuclear program. What we're seeing right now is a tip tell rather than a sprint. And I would even say it we don't know that it's towards a nuclear weapon they're not indicating that they're doing anything related to the building of a nuclear weapon right now. But they're certainly certainly demonstrating that their patients where they're going to adhere to all of their commitments. While the rest of the parties are not able to meet. Their own is not gonna last. Ever and certainly it's not Connor what options does the US have right now we've heard from secretary Pompeo today. What can the US do. To stopper Ron right now. I would that I think they're gonna continue with their maximum pressure campaign as they call it. They'll probably implement further sanctions and they're gonna try to can sits it to isolate Iran diplomatically you as I said though. The European allies are still working with Iran. To try to salvage the agreement did to give them enough for assurances that you know good Europe will meet their commitments. But for the US it's it's all about now trying to change the argument. I've heard secretary Pompeo seen recent days that Iran doesn't have a right to enrichment that. This standard that used to exist that Iran wouldn't be allowed twin rates within its own country should be implemented. That was what was of the one in the real hard parts as Cory would dwell on though in negotiating the agreement was allowing Iran to enriched. Domestically we think you know certain limitations on that the trump administration is trying to go back to the days before that. And say that there should be no in Richmond domestically within Iran. And does that mean quarry that that basically the genie is out of the bottle here in the deal that you work so hard on achieving is basically done. And I guess the corollary to that is and what he had to say it all these democratic candidates who we hear time and again over the past couple weeks say if I was president. Which simply go back to the Iran the did it doesn't seem to me to be that simple. Does that could you go back to the deal you broker. It's not going to be that simple and at least part of that is because of the way the deal was structured and Al while I don't want to correct you I also don't want to take credit for the amazing negotiation that the teams on the ground did. Might in implementation role is really about holding the deal. And making sure everybody was was in meeting their obligations after the completion. And what we saw even in that time was there's no easy question there's always going to be in a deal of you know hundred plus pages. Questions about how do we interpret this paragraph how do we. Meet this standard and so that requires ongoing vigilance. It's not going to be immediately easy to just go back and partially because. That deal was not designed to live in a vacuum and it was not designed to be preserved in amber and just sat on a shelf. It was supposed to be the first step in ongoing process and we see map process unfortunately cult with the US withdrawal. If you think about it. The deal was never supposed to be transactional you do this and I'll do that it was supposed to be transformational. If we each meet our commitments together we will be able to get to a different point. At this ten year fifteen year 25 year mark well we have a different kind of dynamic with Iran and frankly different level confidence in their activity lost. Serious diplomatic talks ago they start over that over the year we appreciate query Henderson with the nuclear threat initiative thank you so much for your expertise Korean banks are Connor Finnegan. I at the State Department today finally a rare look inside the US Secret Service. Where they keep a secret tool to help them combat. The counter fitting take a look at this your scene for the first time what eight. They have a collection of 151000. Different cakes set to be largest in collection in the world and believe it or not they say they can use. This library to determine just about. Anything that was printed in the world where it was how was printed and what materials were used this is from the US Secret Service. And it's pretty neat to take a look inside. Thank you for joining us today here on the briefing room on ABC news live creative directors for your everyday at 3:30 PM eastern time live. And ABC news' hope to see you back here tomorrow on Devin Dwyer Washington have a good afternoon.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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