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Poll: Just 3 in 10 Potential Biden Voters Aware of Trump’s Authoritarian Speak

The poll suggests that Biden can win swing voters if he makes Trump's extremism a central point of the campaign.

Former President Donald Trump hugs an American flag as he arrives at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel And Convention Center on February 24, 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland.

As nationwide polling relating to the 2024 presidential election has caused concern for many who do not want to see another Trump presidency, a new survey suggests that one of the main problems for the Biden campaign is that not enough voters are aware of Donald Trump’s more recent authoritarian outbursts.

The poll suggests that informing those voters of Trump’s rhetoric could help Biden to court more voters.

The New Republic’s Greg Sargent, examining the survey by a Democratic-aligned group called “Save My Country,” reported its findings in a column he published earlier this week.

The poll was conducted in three key swing states (Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan) that Biden had won in 2024 but that Trump had won in 2016. It discounted respondents who said that they voted for Trump in the last presidential election or that they believed Biden wasn’t the legitimate winner of that contest, focusing solely on the kinds of voters whom the Democratic incumbent president can persuade to vote for him — or, as Sargent put it, voters who “are genuinely gettable for Biden.”

The poll asked those voters whether they had heard about several of Trump’s recent fascist and authoritarian comments — including his describing political opponents as “vermin,” promising to pardon January 6, 2021, Capitol rioters who sought to disrupt the certification of Biden’s election win, describing immigrants as “poisoning the blood of our country,” and stating that he would be a dictator on “day one” of his presidency, if elected, to enact xenophobic policies.

Although these stories have made headlines across the country in recent months, the poll shows that fewer than a third of the voters surveyed (31 percent) had heard “a lot” about them, suggesting that a large segment of the “gettable” voters for Biden are currently unaware of Trump’s embrace of authoritarian principles.

At first glance, the findings of the “Save My Country” poll are deeply alarming, indicating that voters aren’t paying attention to some of Trump’s most disturbing comments. But Sargent points out that they also offer a glimmer of hope to the Biden campaign, which has been struggling in polling in recent weeks against Trump, sometimes tying and losing to the probable Republican presidential nominee in nationwide surveys.

As the poll discussed by Sargent shows, potential voters for Biden are more likely to view Trump in negative terms if they are made aware of his authoritarianism. The percent who see him as “out for revenge” in running for president goes up by 5 points, for example, while the percent who view him as a “dictator” rises by 7 points when they are informed of his recent statements. The rate of “gettable” voters who see Trump as “dangerous” after learning of these comments goes up by 9 points.

“It’s sometimes said Trump’s negatives are ‘baked in,’ [that Democrats] shouldn’t obsess over his authoritarianism. This polling debunks that,” Sargent said on X, adding that, for some voters who Biden needs to go after, Trump’s remarks are “actually new information.”

Some of Sargent’s assessments are perhaps confirmed by additional polling. A Reuters/Ipsos poll from last week, for instance, showed that, for a sizable number of voters — including constituents Biden has to court — “political extremism or threats to democracy” is their most important issue.

More than one in five voters (21 percent) in that poll listed that topic as their most important, outranking all others listed, including the economy and immigration. Among independent voters, almost a third said political extremism is their most important issue, and among Democratic voters, 44 percent said it was.

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