LONDON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- A new "partisan gap" in U.S. postal voting is "an artefact of" the COVID-19 pandemic and President Donald Trump's assault on the post office, The Economist said in an article published Tuesday.

A poll released on Aug. 16 found that nearly half of Americans who support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plan to vote by mail rather than in person on election day, compared with just one in ten backers of Trump, read the article, titled "How Donald Trump polarised postal voting."

In 2018, polls showed that "40 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Republicans supported postal voting, a difference of just 15 percentage points. By May, this gap had widened nearly four-fold," it added.

By May, after weeks of Trump calling mail-in ballots prone to voting fraud, support for postal voting among Republicans who paid the virus little mind had fallen, it said, adding that "the pattern was not present for Democrats or independents."

"The partisan split has the potential to harm both parties," it warned.