Voters Broadly Critical of Biden, Trump as Election Heats Up

About half of voters say that, if given the chance, they would replace both candidates on the ballot

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2024. President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Atlanta on March 9, 2024. (Scott Olson and Megan Varner, both via Getty Images)
Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2024. President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Atlanta on March 9, 2024. (Scott Olson and Megan Varner, both via Getty Images)

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand voters’ views on the 2024 presidential election, as well how the public views President Joe Biden. For this analysis, we surveyed 8,709 adults – including 7,166 registered voters – from April 8 to April 14, 2024. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.

Here are the questions used for this report, along with responses, and the survey methodology.

As the 2024 presidential race heats up, American voters face a similar set of choices as they did four years ago – and many are not happy about it.

With the election still more than six months away, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the presidential race is virtually tied: 49% of registered voters favor Donald Trump or lean toward voting for him, while 48% support or lean toward Joe Biden.

Chart shows About two-thirds of voters have little or no confidence that Biden is physically fit to be president; nearly as many lack confidence in Trump to act ethically

A defining characteristic of the contest is that voters overall have little confidence in either candidate across a range of key traits, including fitness for office, personal ethics and respect for democratic values.

Where Trump has the advantage: More than a third of voters say they are extremely or very confident that Trump has the physical fitness (36%) and mental fitness (38%) needed to do the job of president.

Far fewer say the same of Biden (15% are at least very confident in his physical fitness; 21% are extremely or very confident in his mental fitness). Majorities say they are not too or not at all confident in Biden’s physical and mental fitness.

Where Biden has the advantage: More voters are extremely or very confident in Biden (34%) than in Trump (26%) to act ethically in office. And while 38% say they are at least very confident in Biden to respect the country’s democratic values, fewer (34%) express that level of confidence in Trump. The survey was conducted before the start of Trump’s “hush money” trial in New York City.

(Read more about voters’ views of Biden and Trump in Chapter 2.)

The state of the 2024 presidential race

Chart showing In 2020 rematch, nearly identical shares of voters favor Trump and Biden

The new Center survey of 8,709 adults – including 6,039 registered voters – conducted April 8-14, 2024, finds large divides in voters’ candidate preference by age, education, and race and ethnicity. As was the case in 2020, younger voters and those with a four-year college degree are more likely to favor Biden than Trump.

Older voters and those with no college degree favor Trump by large margins.

Among racial and ethnic groups:

  • White voters favor Trump (56%) over Biden (42%) by a wide margin.
  • Roughly three-quarters of Black voters (77%) support Biden, while 18% back Trump.
  • Hispanic voters are more evenly divided – 52% favor Biden, while 44% back Trump.
  • Asian voters favor Biden (59%) over Trump (36%).

(Read more about voters’ candidate preferences in Chapter 1.)

Most voters who turned out in 2020 favor the same candidate in 2024. Among validated 2020 voters, overwhelming majorities of those who cast ballots for Biden (91%) and Trump (94%) support the same candidate this year. Registered voters who did not vote in 2020 are about evenly divided: 48% back Trump, while 46% support Biden.

A majority of voters say “it really matters who wins” the 2024 race. Today, 69% of voters say it really matters which candidate wins the presidential contest this November. This is somewhat smaller than the share who said this in April 2020 about that year’s election (74%). Nearly identical shares of Biden’s and Trump’s supporters say the outcome of the presidential race really matters.

About half of voters would replace both Biden and Trump on the 2024 ballot

Reflecting their dissatisfaction with the Biden-Trump matchup, nearly half of registered voters (49%) say that, if they had the ability to decide the major party candidates for the 2024 election, they would replace both Biden and Trump on the ballot.

Chart shows About half of voters would like to see both Biden and Trump replaced on the 2024 ballot

Biden’s supporters are especially likely to say they would replace both candidates if they had the chance. Roughly six-in-ten (62%) express this view, compared with 35% of Trump supporters.

There also are stark age differences in these views: 66% of voters under 30 say they would replace both candidates if they had the chance, compared with 54% of those ages 30 to 49 and fewer than half (43%) of those 50 and older.

(Read more about voters’ feelings toward the upcoming election in Chapter 3.)

Evaluations of the Biden and Trump presidencies

Chart shows About 4 in 10 voters say Trump was a good or great president; around 3 in 10 say this about Biden today
  • 42% of voters overall say Trump was a good or great president, while 11% say he was average. This is a modest improvement since March 2021, two months after he left office.
  • 28% of voters say Biden is a good or great president, while 21% say he is average. These views are mostly on par with June 2020 assessments of the kind of president Biden would be – but today, a smaller share of voters say he is average.

(Read more about ratings of Biden’s and Trump’s presidencies in Chapter 1.)

  • Biden’s approval among the general public: Today, Biden’s approval rating sits at 35% – roughly on par with his rating in January (33%). His job rating has climbed slightly among Democrats over that period, however. Today, 65% of Democrats approve of him – up 4 percentage points since January. (Read more about Biden’s approval rating in Chapter 4.)
  • Conceding the presidential election: A majority of voters say it is important that the losing candidate in November publicly acknowledge the winner as the legitimate president. But Trump’s supporters are far less likely than Biden’s to say it is very important (44% vs. 77%).  (Read more about voters’ views on election concession in Chapter 3.)

As Trump faces charges that he sought to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, 45% of Americans say they think Trump’s actions broke the law. This compares with 38% who say his actions did not break the law – including 15% who say his actions were wrong but not illegal, and 23% who say he did nothing wrong. Nearly two-in-ten are not sure.

Chart shows Public divided over criminal allegations that Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election

Democrats mostly say Trump broke the law; Republicans are more divided. An overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) say Trump’s actions in seeking to change the outcome of the 2020 election broke the law. 

Among Republicans and Republican leaners:

  • 49% say Trump did nothing wrong.
  • 21% say he did something wrong but did not break the law.
  • 9% say Trump broke the law.
  • 20% are not sure.

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