A new poll released over the weekend indicates that President Joe Biden is currently losing to former President Donald Trump in five out of six key battleground states that are imperative for either candidate to win the 2024 election.
The New York Times/Siena College poll published on Sunday asked respondents in six closely watched states who they would support if the 2024 presidential election was held today. Only in Nevada does Trump appear to win an outright majority in the hypothetical election, with 52 percent of voters saying they’d support Trump.
The former president doesn’t garner majority wins elsewhere in the poll, but still does better against Biden in four additional states. In Georgia, Trump is ahead by six points, according to the poll. In Michigan and Arizona, he leads Biden by five points, and in Pennsylvania he’s ahead by four points.
Biden only defeats Trump in one battleground state — Wisconsin — and only by two points.
Overall, Trump outperforms Biden 48 percent to 44 percent among voters in the six swing states, a major reversal from 2020 when Biden won all six against Trump.
Hampering Biden in the poll is the public’s perception of how the country and the economy are faring. Sixty-seven percent of voters in the poll said the country is headed in the wrong direction, while only 22 percent said it’s on the right track. Meanwhile, 52 percent rate the U.S. economy as “poor,” with only 19 percent saying it’s “excellent” or “good.”
There are some positive signs for Biden — he does better on the issue of abortion, for example, outpolling Trump by nine points on the topic. Voters also view Biden as being better for democracy, although he only outdoes Trump by three points on that issue.
But voters have a negative view of Biden’s age, with 71 percent of respondents in the poll agreeing with the statement “Joe Biden is just too old to be an effective president.” Despite being just three years younger than the current president, only 39 percent said the same thing about Trump.
The poll is likely worrying many Democrats, as the states Biden would lose in the hypothetical matchup with Trump amount to 69 Electoral College votes he would lose in the general election — more than enough for Trump to secure the win in 2024, if all things from the previous election stay the same.
However, political observers have noted that a lot can change between now and next year. Norman Ornstein, emeritus scholar at conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, appeared on MSNBC over the weekend to discuss the poll’s findings. While the poll was positive for Trump, Ornstein said, it also demonstrated that he could be in trouble with voters once his legal matters take center stage.
“One of the things that I think is clear here is that most voters have paid no or little attention to Donald Trump’s legal problems. That will change when we get criminal trials,” Ornstein said. “And especially if and when we get convictions.”
Ornstein also reminded voters of Trump’s virulent racism and past wrongdoings.
“When we get down to two choices, and we have one presidential candidate who is for a complete Muslim ban, who has supported and lunched with Nazis or neo-Nazis and who has criminal convictions. And when we see clear choices, I think we’ll find a different dynamic,” Ornstein remarked.
Ornstein’s words reflect what other polling has found — a Politico/Ipsos poll from August, for example, demonstrated that 32 percent of voters overall would be less likely to support Trump if he’s tried and convicted in the federal election subversion case.
Even the New York Times/Siena College poll showcases that Trump’s legal problems could imperil his presidential aspirations. When asked their opinion of the two major party candidates, voters said that they’d prefer Biden over Trump in the 2024 race if the latter is convicted and sentenced to prison for any of the crimes he’s accused of committing, with Biden winning by a margin of 49 percent to Trump’s 39 percent. Biden would also win every single individual swing state that was polled, some by double-digit margins, if Trump gets convicted.
Notably, the poll was released in the middle of a civil trial involving Trump and his businesses. Trump, his family members and others in the Trump Organization stand accused of inflating the worth of his properties in order to receive positive loan approvals, in violation of New York state law.
Trump appeared on the witness stand on Monday in that civil trial, decrying the case against him as “inappropriate and not good,” and claiming that prosecutors were simply targeting him for political reasons.
“You and about every other Democrat district attorney… U.S. attorneys, etc. were coming after me from 15 different sides,” Trump said in response to questioning from prosecutors.
Trump’s outburst and his refusal to answer questions directly prompted the judge overseeing the case to warn him against making unrelated remarks.
“Please, just answer the questions, no speeches,” Judge Arthur Engoron said to the former president. “Some of your answers have not been responsive to the questions.”
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