And the polls keep getting worse for Biden

Recent polls show former President Trump leading President Biden in key swing states that will likely decide the 2024 election, indicating Trump is not just the overwhelming favorite to secure the GOP nomination but is in a strong position to recapture the White House less than a year before Election Day.

Trump leads Biden in hypothetical match-ups both with and without third-party options on the ballot in states including Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to fresh polling. Biden carried each of those states in 2020, and Trump will need to flip at least a few of those states if he is to win in 2024.

The numbers underscore that there is work for Biden to do, even as experts and strategists agree plenty can change in the roughly 10 months until the election. 

“I think it illustrates where we are at in both the former president and the current president’s trajectory heading into November 2024,” Nick Trainer, a former Trump campaign official, said on the “Yes Labels” podcast.

A CNN poll released this week showed Trump leading Biden by 5 percentage points in Georgia, a state Biden carried in 2020 by roughly 12,000 votes. The poll also found Trump leading Biden by 10 points in Michigan, where Biden won by about 155,000 votes in 2020.

The poll found majorities in both states — 54 percent in Georgia and 56 percent in Michigan — believe Biden’s policies have worsened economic conditions as Biden struggles to sell what aides believe is a strong economy to voters.

A Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll released this week had similarly sour results for Biden. 

That survey found Biden trailing Trump in several crucial swing states: by 11 points in North Carolina, by 7 points in Georgia, by 6 points in Wisconsin, by 5 points in Nevada, by 4 points in Michigan and by 3 points in Arizona.

The results came from a hypothetical ballot that included third-party candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and Jill Stein. There was also an option for participants to choose an unlisted candidate or answer “don’t know/no opinion,” or choose to forgo voting altogether.

While it’s unclear if any of those candidates will secure ballot access next November, it still spells trouble for Biden. The president won each of those states over Trump in 2020 except for North Carolina, and Trump would only need to flip a few of those states to win the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency.

The swing-state polls come as national polls show an extremely tight hypothetical race between Trump and Biden, but one former Trump White House official noted the former president could realistically win the electoral votes he needs even without winning the national popular vote, just as he did in 2016.

Trump has cemented his status as the front-runner for the GOP nomination, crossing the 50 percent threshold in a recent Iowa survey conducted by pollster J. Ann Selzer. 

Trump has yet to see any drop-off in support even as he testified in a New York City fraud trial, has prompted backlash and comparisons to dictators for his rhetoric and campaign proposals, and as he continues to face dozens of criminal charges.

“What it shows is swing voters who are open to voting for Trump are not viewing the indictment as anything but political retribution, or they say to themselves, ‘You know what, I don’t have to like Trump, maybe he did some bad stuff, but the economy was better under him, and I wasn’t constantly worried about World War III,’” one Trump-aligned operative said.

Biden, meanwhile, is struggling to sell voters on his accomplishments, even as aides believe they are directly improving Americans’ lives. The White House repeatedly points to low unemployment and strong economic growth that has defied expert predictions of a recession to argue Biden’s economic plan is working.

The president frequently touts the effects of his major legislation, such as the CHIPS and Science Act leading to major investments; the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law leading to funding for roads, railways and bridges nationwide; and the Inflation Reduction Act capping the cost of prescription drugs for seniors.

But Biden is also facing divides within his party over the war in Israel and on immigration, and his approval rating has hovered around 40 percent for months.

David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Obama who has expressed concerns about Biden’s ability to beat Trump, said on a recently published podcast that a Wall Street Journal poll showing Biden trailing Trump and with an approval rating at 37 percent did not bode well for the president.

“What I worry about, you guys, from a Biden standpoint is: These are the kinds of things you get when people are starting to rationalize their votes,” Axelrod said on the “Hacks on Tap” podcast.

Biden allies and campaign officials have for months dismissed panic around polls as an overreaction to surveys being conducted well in advance of when voters will actually head to the polls.

Biden has racked up millions in donations at recent high-dollar fundraisers as he builds a campaign war chest that will be used to hammer Trump on the airwaves for much of 2024 on his record on abortion, democracy, the climate, guns and more.

Matt Barreto, co-founder of BSP Research polling firm, said this week that polls asking voters who they’d back if the election were being held today are of limited value, because the election is not being held for another 11 months.

“Trump has largely escaped any media scrutiny or attention about his ’24 policy agenda because he is mostly in one of five courtrooms being scolded,” Barreto wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Right now you have a one-sided information environment where nearly all the focus is on Joe Biden, that will change and things will change quickly when the media starts to focus on Trump and his dangerous & extreme plans.”

“There is going to be effective campaign outreach and you can expect partisans to come home resulting in another 50-50 contest,” Barreto added.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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