Articles

Voters Want Anyone but Trump or Biden

November 09, 2023
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As Democrats savor their victories in Tuesday’s Ohio abortion referendum, Kentucky governor’s race and Virginia and New Jersey legislative contests, they might be tempted to ignore the implications of a Nov. 3 New York Times/Siena College poll that shows Donald Trump beating Joe Biden in five of six 2024 battleground states. Mr. Trump lost all six in 2020. 

Mr. Trump leads Mr. Biden by 5 points in Arizona, 6 in Georgia, 5 in Michigan, 10 in Nevada and 4 in Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden beats Mr. Trump only in Wisconsin, by 2 points. Among the combined six-state sample of 3,662 registered voters, Mr. Trump leads by four points, 48% to 44%. If the 2024 election plays out this way—adjusting for reapportionment but otherwise assuming other states stay the same—Mr. Trump would flip the White House, winning 302 electoral votes to Mr. Biden’s 236. Last time it was 232 Trump, 306 Biden.

The poll shows a real risk for Mr. Biden from three blocs critical to his 2020 victory and his hopes for a 2024 repeat—young, Latino and black voters. His drop among these groups is driven by poor approval numbers on key issues—especially the economy—and a widespread feeling that he’s too old (71% of respondents agreed) and doesn’t have the “mental sharpness” to be president (62%). 

Team Biden’s response was predictable and anemic. Campaign manager Julia Chavez Rodriguez emailed supporters to say polls a year before the election “are not predictive” before asking for a $25 donation. Spokesman Kevin Munozopined that “predictions more than a year out tend to look a little different a year later,” then said a Gallup poll had Barack Obama trailing Mitt Romney by 8 points a year before the 2012 election. Actually, Mr. Obama’s overall numbers were much better than that: He led Mr. Romney 46% to 44.3% on Nov. 7, 2011, in the RealClearPolitics average. 

Mr. Obama also had advantages Mr. Biden doesn’t. The public saw Mr. Obama as a strong leader—young, energetic, mentally sharp and a much better and more natural political talent than Mr. Biden. He prosecuted his argument that Mr. Romney was a heartless plutocrat from a position of strength. Mr. Biden is operating from a position of extreme weakness. It will be much harder for him to take Mr. Trump down.

There was more dangerous news in the Times/Siena poll for both parties’ front-runners. Though not as well-known as Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley beats Mr. Biden in all six battlegrounds now. In four states, her margins are wider than Mr. Trump’s: She leads Mr. Biden by 7 points in Arizona, 3 in Georgia, 10 in Michigan and Pennsylvania, 6 in Nevada, and 13 in Wisconsin. Among the combined six states, Ms. Haley leads by 8 points (46% to 38%), twice Mr. Trump’s margin.

Mr. Biden may think he can caricature Ms. Haley as “ultra-MAGA,” but the Times/Siena survey shows voters know the difference between the GOP and Mr. Trump. A generic Republican beats Mr. Biden by even bigger margins in every battleground state, leading the Democrat by 14 to 18 points in each one. When all six are combined, the generic GOP candidate’s lead over Mr. Biden is 16 points (52% to 36%), four times Mr. Trump’s.

As Democrats savor their victories in Tuesday’s Ohio abortion referendum, Kentucky governor’s race and Virginia and New Jersey legislative contests, they might be tempted to ignore the implications of a Nov. 3 New York Times/Siena College poll that shows Donald Trump beating Joe Biden in five of six 2024 battleground states. Mr. Trump lost all six in 2020. 

Mr. Trump leads Mr. Biden by 5 points in Arizona, 6 in Georgia, 5 in Michigan, 10 in Nevada and 4 in Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden beats Mr. Trump only in Wisconsin, by 2 points. Among the combined six-state sample of 3,662 registered voters, Mr. Trump leads by four points, 48% to 44%. If the 2024 election plays out this way—adjusting for reapportionment but otherwise assuming other states stay the same—Mr. Trump would flip the White House, winning 302 electoral votes to Mr. Biden’s 236. Last time it was 232 Trump, 306 Biden.

The poll shows a real risk for Mr. Biden from three blocs critical to his 2020 victory and his hopes for a 2024 repeat—young, Latino and black voters. His drop among these groups is driven by poor approval numbers on key issues—especially the economy—and a widespread feeling that he’s too old (71% of respondents agreed) and doesn’t have the “mental sharpness” to be president (62%). 

Read More at the WSJ

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