While much ado has been made about a recent national poll showing Former President Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden by 9 points, the majority of polling continues to indicate that while Biden faces significant hurdles to re-election, his clearest path to victory runs through the former president.
A recent WPA Intelligence poll of 1,005 registered voters dove deep into voter motivations and perceptions surrounding the likely 2024 presidential candidates. The results paint a grim picture for supporters of Donald Trump.
A Trump nomination provides shot in the arm for Biden
President Biden doesn’t exactly inspire energy among Democrat voters, with only 24% of Democrat respondents indicating that they are “very enthusiastic” to vote for the current president in 2024. However, when asked about a general election matchup between Biden and Donald Trump, the “very enthusiastic” percentage of Democratic voters supporting Joe Biden more than doubles to 55%. While this may not reflect their positive perceptions of Biden as their party’s candidate, it doesn’t really matter. According to the WPA Intelligence poll, a general election re-match with Donald Trump might just be the shot in the arm President Biden needs to secure re-election next November.
The poll went on to measure what the pollsters refer to as “voter intensity”, and what they found was a clear chasm between GOP and Democratic voters who stated that they are “certain” to vote for their party’s candidate. Only 61% of GOP voters in the WPA Intelligence poll indicated that they are “certain” to support Trump if he is the party’s nominee. Compare that to 79% of Democrats who are “certain” to vote for Biden in the 2024 general election and you find an 18% gap in “voter intensity” favoring the sitting president.
Biden’s favorability notably negative, Trump even more so
The WPA Intelligence poll also measured the electorate’s overall favorability of Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Both men receive high net negative favorability ratings, but the poll points to this being far more of a problem for Former President Trump. Among all respondents, Biden’s net favorability sits at -14% compared to Trump’s net favorability rating of -24%, a clear divide. What should be most concerning to supporters of the former president is his shocking net negative favorability among independent voters to the tune of -42% compared to Biden’s net favorability of -26%. In other words, 67% of independents hold an unfavorable view of the former president, giving President Biden a clear lead among this all-important bloc of voters.
A Trump conviction boosts Biden
The issue of Trump’s multiple indictments is a clear detriment to the former president’s re-election hopes. According to the WPA poll, Biden edges out Trump by 2 points overall in a head-to-head re-match (43% to 41%). However, that gap widens when voters were asked their preferred candidate should Trump be convicted of any of the charges he faces. In the scenario of a Trump conviction, Biden’s lead is bolstered by 6 points overall (45% to 39%). Moreover, the percentage of Republicans who state that they will abstain from voting in the 2024 election triples from 2% to 6% if the former president is found guilty. A scenario like this could cost Republicans more than just the White House.
Down-ballot implications could cost Republicans
Former President Trump’s claims of a rigged 2020 election continue to be unpopular with the American electorate, which WPA Intelligence poll found could have down-ballot implications for congressional Republicans in key races. When asked about candidates who align themselves with Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, 57% of all voters polled stated that they would be less likely to vote for any candidate who holds the same view. Among independent voters, that percentage rises to 65%.
There is also the issue of a potential Republican undervote. Only 78% of Republican voters surveyed by WPA Intelligence plan to vote for Trump and down-ballot for Republicans, with 10% of GOP voters indicating that they will abstain from voting for president while supporting down-ballot Republicans. The WPA analyzes in great depth a range of scenarios indicating a potential Republican undervote, which could prove costly to Republicans’ hopes of retaining a majority in the House of Representatives, let alone their hopes to take the Senate.
Although both candidates remain notably unpopular, Trump’s unpopularity among the electorate and a chunk of the GOP vote could prove to be the factor that delivers Joe Biden a second term.