- Former President Donald Trump is leading President Joe Biden in a series of recent swing state and national polls.
- Polling analysts argued that Trump’s current lead in the polls is attributable to voters’ concern over the Biden administration’s policies, but some cautioned that it’s still early for these surveys to be predictive of the 2024 election.
- “As Biden’s likeability has waned, we’re seeing a real trend of voters being drawn back in by Trump’s policies,” Nathan Klein, pollster for OnMessage Inc., told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “As Trump now sits on a small put persistent lead in national polls, if he continues to win back a few thousand of the voters he lost in 2020 the path to victory certainly exists.”
Former President Donald Trump is leading President Joe Biden in a series of recent battleground state polls and national surveys, indicating his continued political resilience despite a summer of criminal indictments as voters remain lukewarm on the current administration.
Trump is ahead of Biden in key swing states by anywhere from 1 point to 9 points, and the former president is leading from 1 point to 10 points nationally, according to numerous recent surveys. Polling analysts argued to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the surveys appear to be trending in Trump’s favor, with some cautioning that it is still too early in the election season to be predictive.
“[Trump] can absolutely win a general election, that has always been true, and his odds get better every day Joe Biden is president,” Nathan Klein, pollster for OnMessage Inc., told the DCNF. “The positive movement for Trump we’ve been seeing in the presidential race seems real. I wouldn’t go as far as to say Trump has an outright advantage yet, as many of the swing state polling leads are within the margin of error. But Trump certainly is experiencing a bump, helped by some political environment factors and the current perception of the incumbent President. Nearly 70% of Americans feel like our country is on the wrong track, and Biden’s approval rating sits around just 40%.”
Across the states with the narrowest margins of victory in 2020 — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — Trump is leading Biden 41% to 35%, according to a mid-September Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Trump is leading Biden by 2 points in Pennsylvania, which was crucial in deciding the 2020 election, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday. The former president also beat Biden 48% to 39% among independent voters.
In Georgia, Trump is ahead of Biden 47% to 38%, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released on Sept. 15. The former president is also beating Biden in North Carolina by 4 points, a near 3-point gain from when Trump won the state in 2020.
“It’s important to remember that Trump only lost Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin by about 40,000 votes combined. So, the assumption that Biden would cruise to re-election if Trump becomes the nominee was flawed from the start,” said Klein. “That aside, Biden’s numbers have been dropping recently across the board. Crime, immigration, and his rampant mismanagement of crisis after crisis have all combined to sour his standing with Americans, which has begun to show in his polling numbers. Today, around 60% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of immigration, the highest we’ve seen throughout his presidency.”
Trump would beat Biden 47% to 43% in a national head-to-head matchup, and the former president is advantaged more with third-party candidates in the mix, according to a late September McLaughlin & Associates survey.
“Trump is running to win the presidency and we have to beat Joe Biden. And our opponents are running a campaign in the primary trying to say we cannot beat Joe Biden, and that’s been proven false,” John McLaughlin, CEO and partner of McLaughlin & Associates, which works closely with the Trump campaign, told the DCNF. “These are not just our polls, but these are lots of media polls, and some of them are not as favorable to Republicans when they don’t really reflect the actual voter turnout. But still, we’re doing well in those polls.”
A Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday suggests Trump is leading Biden 51% to 48% among registered voters. The former president trounced Biden by 10 points in a late September Washington Post/ABC survey.
A CNN/SSRS poll released Sept. 7 indicated that nearly every Republican primary candidate would beat Biden in a general election matchup, with Trump leading by 1 point.
“As Biden’s likeability has waned, we’re seeing a real trend of voters being drawn back in by Trump’s policies,” said Klein. “As Trump now sits on a small put persistent lead in national polls, if he continues to win back a few thousand of the voters he lost in 2020 the path to victory certainly exists.”
McLaughlin argues that Trump is doing better in the polls than Biden because Americans are comparing their records and have a negative view of the economy, crime, the border and other issues under the current administration, which the pollster characterized as “buyers’ remorse.”
“There are a lot of trends here that are helping President Trump, and he’s making a very clear and effective case that he will be a successful president again,” said McLaughlin.
Though Kyle Kondik, nonpartisan polling analyst and managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, believes that head-to-head matchups for the general in 2024 don’t hold “a ton of predictive value” currently, he told the DCNF the recent surveys indicate the race will be “close and competitive.”
“It may be like 2016 given that both Biden and Trump are unpopular, just like Clinton and Trump that cycle. In that race, the candidate who was NOT in the news seemed to do better. I kind of wonder if that is hurting Biden a little now, given that he’s the incumbent and Trump is not super-visible right now (he’s skipping the debates, etc.),” said Kondik.
The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 general election matchup between Trump and Biden, based on polls conducted between Sept. 14 and Oct. 3, indicates the former president is ahead by 1.1 points.
A Republican nominee like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would have a better chance than Trump against Biden, according to Jon McHenry, a GOP polling analyst and vice president at North Star Opinion Research. Despite this, McHenry told the DCNF that Trump could beat Biden on the basis of the economy, though he acknowledged it’s still too close to call.
“We have such a unique situation right now with both party’s leading candidates in negative territory on their favorable to unfavorable ratings — and the current and previous officeholder. Reelection campaigns are typically a two-step process as a referendum on the incumbent: first, does he or she deserve reelection, and second, would the other candidate do better? I think right now President Biden is losing the referendum, with voters disapproving of his job overall, and especially on the economy and immigration,” said McHenry. “But if the choice is between two candidates with 35 to 40 percent favorables, voters are likely to choose the one who had the better economy.”
The RCP average for a 2024 national Republican and Democratic primary, based on the most recent polling, indicates Trump and Biden are leading their respective fields with 57.9% and 62.4%, respectively.
Neither Trump nor Biden immediately responded to the DCNF.
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