Trump Dominates the GOP Field, but Consistently Fails in Head-to-Head Polling Against Biden

There is no denying that Donald Trump still holds the most sway over the Republican base. He is a former president, he is still (in their eyes) being persecuted unfairly by the Democrats and the Biden administration, and he is certainly an attention-grabber.


But there is a major difference between dominating a primary and winning a general election, and the most recent polling seems to show that, for all his support among Republicans, Trump is still not yet favored over Joe Biden in a “Devil You Know vs. Another Devil You Know” election fight.

On Sunday, NBC News released its latest poll on the 2024 election, and the numbers are fairly consistent with what we’ve seen – that Trump is a dominant force in the GOP, but the American public at large is still very hesitant where the former president is concerned. This is the same poll, mind you, that shows nearly three-quarters of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. So if Trump is still struggling to overcome that, well… things aren’t great.

He’s now up 29 points over the rest of the field – 51 percent to Ron DeSantis’ 22 percent,

What’s interesting is that the latest bump for Trump – which peaked on June 10, according to RealClearPolitics’ rolling average – was immediately after the second round of indictments against him (this time from a special counsel). However, it didn’t last. He’s currently polling at his lowest since the beginning of May. Still, it’s over 50 percent nationally, which is good for Trump and bad for the NotTrump crowd.


But that’s currently where Trump’s fortunes end. That same NBC News poll shows Trump coming up short of Joe Biden in a rematch from 2020, which Biden four points ahead of Trump, 49-45.

Caveat: It is still extremely early for both the primary and the general election. None of this is set in stone.

However, it is fairly consistent. Trump has routinely come up short in most polling, and Biden is currently averaging a slight lead, especially in the wake of the same indictment that got him a boost in the primary polling. You see, of course, where this is headed.

The cockiness of the Trump campaign is unmatched. He and his team, rightly or wrongly, believe he still wears the crown and every challenger is a pretender to the throne. He spends more time (and money) attacking other Republicans than he does Biden and the Democrats. Their strategy, as of right now, is to beat the Republican Party into submission, just like he did in 2016.

His problem? 2016 was about voters hating the idea of Hillary Clinton more than the idea of Donald Trump. 2020 was about voters being tired of the drama of Trump and going with someone who, at the time, just seemed really dull and boring – something America desperately wanted instead of a sideshow.


2024, however, is something different. Biden’s administration has been AWOL on key issues like immigration and crime. The economy has been terrible under his watch, and a recession still looms large over the American kitchen table. Biden himself comes across as an old man with dementia and his party is just committing elder abuse at this point. Americans are absolutely sour on the idea of Joe Biden.

So why, then, are they currently favoring Biden over Trump? It can’t be that the polling is wrong. If that polling is wrong, so is the polling showing Trump is dominating the field. The likely answer is, again, Trump’s drama. Americans are likely figuring that the drama goes away if Trump does and the rest of the Republican Party can hold the worst of the Democrats’ impulses at bay if they keep Republicans in just enough power to do so. And Democrats make that easy when they endorse people dancing naked in front of kids at Pride events, mutilating children for the sake of wokeness, and more.

It’s extremely likely, however, that Trump isn’t going to bow out, which makes the challenge that much harder for the NotTrump candidates, particularly Ron DeSantis. The primary has to go through Trump, but it has to be done in a way that doesn’t alienate Trump supporters (not the loud, obnoxious voices on social media, but the regular voter who likes Trump but also likes to win elections). I could not begin to tell you if such a road exists, but you can bet that every single campaign that is serious about winning is exploring and focus-grouping ways to find that path.


Is Trump doomed to fall to Biden again? No. As I said, it’s still early, and a full-on recession gives Trump a big advantage. But you can’t run a campaign that is solely focused on winning the primary. You need to be working your general election messaging a lot more than Trump and his team have been.


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