Trump vs. Biden Contest Pulling Former President's Way

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

A new round of polls is making things look even worse for President Biden, especially in a match-up against former President Donald Trump.


On Friday, my colleague Nick Arama gave us an excellent rundown on polls up to that point. There have been some interesting developments since.

One of the more interesting sets of results comes out of a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, which shows Trump pulling ahead in some key Electoral College states:

U.S. President Joe Biden's chances of re-election are being jeopardized by voters' concerns over his age, the economy and crime, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, creating an opportunity for Republican challenger Donald Trump to return to the White House.

The opinion poll found Democrat Biden, 80, tied in a hypothetical November 2024 election against Trump, 77, the former president who is the front-runner for the Republican nomination, with both receiving 39% of the vote and one in five voters undecided.

Democrats held a strong advantage among voters most concerned about protecting abortion rights, while Republicans had an edge among those worried about crime, the poll found.

The results here—as in abortion versus crime—are not surprising since those results would have been obtained in most Presidential surveys since about 1980. But here's the onion:

But in a worrisome result for Biden, Trump held a small advantage in the seven states where the 2020 presidential election was closest: Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada and Michigan. In those states, Trump led with 41% to Biden's 35%, and 24% undecided.

If we plug those states as Trump wins into a proposed 2024 electoral college map (using the 270toWin interactive tool), these are the results you get:


This is interesting indeed: not a landslide, but a comfortable win. And it's not unreasonable to think that Arizona and Wisconsin may well be in play, as well.

Donald Trump also holds a significant edge on the age issue:

Voters expressed concern over Biden’s age and his fitness for office. Seventy-seven percent of respondents, including 65% of Democrats, said Biden is too old to be president, while just 39% said Biden was mentally sharp enough for the presidency.

By comparison, 56% of poll respondents said Trump is too old for the office, while 54% said he was mentally sharp enough to handle the challenges of the presidency.

This is sure to be a key issue, given President Biden's increasing and concerning mental and physical deterioration. 

As of this writing, the RealClearPolitics averages of polling show former President Trump narrowly leading President Biden, 45.6 to 45.  President Biden has an edge over Florida Governor Run DeSantis at 44.8 to 41.4, while former President Trump is trouncing Vice President Harris, 45.3 to 41.3. As far as the GOP nomination goes, the national average has former President Trump way out in front of the pack with 56.6 percent of the vote. President Biden likewise leads the Democrat field with 66.7 percent of the vote.

It would be easy to look at these results and think that 2024 is increasingly shaping up to be a repeat of the 2020 contest, only with both candidates four years older and facing legal challenges. However, it's important to remember a few things: 


First, not one primary vote has yet been cast in either party; at this point in the 2008 contest, most people were pretty certain that the contest would end up being between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. It's not too late for everyone's current assumptions to be knocked into a cocked hat.

Second, President Biden's health is becoming a serious worry for Democrats, especially given their lack of a capable understudy. Vice President Harris's approval ratings are similar to those for polecats or navel lint. California Governor Gavin Newsom has denied being interested in the job, at least this time around. 

Third, President Trump is beset with legal challenges. He may be able to campaign effectively despite this; in fact, it may well energize the GOP base like no one has yet suspected.

It is, as yet, very early in the cycle. But it's sure shaping up to be an interesting race.


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