Trump leads Biden in 5 of 6 key battleground states

With a little less than six months to go until the presidential election, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in five of six key battleground states, according to new polling by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer.


What You Need To Know

  • Former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in five of six key battleground states, according to new polling by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Biden is faring better among likely voters but still trails Trump in five of the six states
  • The surveys, conducted from April 29 to May 9, show that many Americans remain concerned about the economy and that Biden’s support among young, Black and Hispanic voters has eroded in the past four years.
  • Nearly 70% of voters polled said the country’s political and economic systems need major changes

In a head-to-head matchup, Trump leads Biden by 12 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, by 10 points in Georgia, by 7 points in both Michigan and Arizona, and by 3 points in Pennsylvania. Biden leads Trump in Wisconsin by 2 points.

Biden is faring better among likely voters but still trails Trump in five of the six states. Biden leads only in Michigan by 1 percentage point while trailing narrowly in Wisconsin (1 point) and Pennsylvania (3 points). Trump leads among likely voters in Nevada by 13 points, by 9 points in Georgia, and by 6 points in Arizona.

Biden carried all six states in 2020.

The results were similar when third-party candidates, including independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., were included. Kennedy is polling at 10% among likely voters and is drawing roughly equally from Biden and Trump. 

The surveys, conducted from April 29 to May 9, show that many Americans remain concerned about the economy and that Biden’s support among young, Black and Hispanic voters — groups that Democrats have traditionally been able to count on — has eroded in the past four years.

During Biden’s presidency, unemployment has remained historically low and the stock market has largely been strong — the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 22% since November. 

But inflation has remained stubbornly high, making it challenging for Biden to sell some voters on his economic record. In March, consumer prices were up 3.5% year-over-year. That’s down significantly from a peak of 9.1% in June 2022 but still above the Federal Reserve’s goal of 2%. 

After winning 60% of the vote from both 18- to 29-year-olds and Hispanics in 2020, Biden is essentially tied with Trump among both groups now, according to the surveys.

Trump is polling at 20% among Black voters, which would be the most by a Republican candidate since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2020, Biden won 92% of the Black vote.

Nearly 70% of voters polled said the country’s political and economic systems need major changes. But even only 13% of Biden’s supporters said they believe the president would bring major change in a second term.

Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war is adding to his sagging numbers. About 13% of voters who said they supported Biden four years ago but do not plan to vote for him again said his foreign policy or the war in the Gaza Strip was the most important issue to them.

The issue of abortion appears to be Trump’s biggest vulnerability. With nearly two-thirds of voters in battleground states, including 44% of Trump’s supporters, saying abortion should be always or mostly legal. But nearly 20% of voters blame Biden more than Trump for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022 despite Trump appointing three of the justices behind the ruling.

There was little indication Trump’s New York criminal trial — on charges he falsified business documents to cover up hush money payments to a porn star — was hurting him with voters. Just 29% of voters in swing states said they were paying “a lot” of attention to Trump’s legal woes. A little more than one-third said they thought he was likely to be convicted in New York.

Trump carried printouts of the polls into court Monday morning.

“The New York Times just came out with a poll that shows us leading everywhere by a lot,” he told reporters outside the courtroom. “And I think you’ll find it very interesting.”

Asked to comment on the polls, the Biden campaign pointed Spectrum News to a quote by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin, who said, “The only consistency in recent public polls is inconsistency.”

“These results need to be weighed against the 30-plus polls that show Biden up and gaining — which is exactly why drawing broad conclusions about the race based on results from one poll is a mistake,” Garin said. “The reality is that many voters are not paying close attention to the election and have not started making up their minds — a dynamic also reflected in today’s poll. These voters will decide this election and only the Biden campaign is doing the work to win them over.”

The polls did hold a bright spot for Democrats in terms of some of the races that could determine control of the U.S. Senate. The survey showed Democratic candidates leading in the four battleground states even as Biden trailed: Sen. Bob Casey tops Republican David McCormick 46-41 in Pennsylvania, Rep. Ruben Gallego is ahead of failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in Arizona, Sen. Tammy Baldwin leads GOP candidate Eric Hovde 49-40 in Wisconsin, and Sen. Jacky Rosen holds a narrow lead over Republican challenger Sam Brown in Nevada 40-38.

Democrats would need to sweep every Senate race, including key contests in deep red states Montana and Ohio, to hold the chamber, where they currently have a one-seat lead.


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