Here’s Who’s Leading Trump Vs. Biden Election Polls

Topline

Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden are in a neck-and-neck contest headed into the November election, polls show, as Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war has fractured the Democratic party and voters’ persistent concerns about the economy are turning them away from the president.

Key Facts

A May Harvard CAPS/Harris poll showed Trump with a five-point lead in a head-to-head matchup, but six points when voters were given the option of “don’t know/unsure,” indicating Biden has a slight edge with undecided voters.

Other May polls show Trump and Biden are virtually tied, including an Economist/YouGov survey that found Trump beating Biden by just one point in a five-way race, a Fox News poll that found Trump leading by one point in a head-to-head matchup, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll that found Trump and Biden were tied, while Morning Consult’s weekly poll taken May 17-19 shows Trump leading Biden by one point, consistent with the week prior.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll shows the Israel-Hamas war is dividing Biden’s base, with 44% of registered Democratic voters saying they disapprove of his handling of the conflict—among those voters, 77% said they would vote for Biden, compared to 93% who said they approve of his response to the war.

A New York Times/Siena/Philadelphia Inquirer poll conducted in April and released May 13 also found Biden is tied with Trump among Hispanic voters in the six battleground states (Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada) and trailing him by four points among 18- to 29-year-olds, two groups who voted for Biden by more than 60% in 2020, according to the Times.

Trump would beat Biden in five of six of those states (Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and Nevada), with the exception of Wisconsin, the New York Times/Siena/Philadelphia Inquirer poll found, while a May CBS poll found Biden trailing Trump by five points in Arizona and nine points in Florida.

The poll found the economy, immigration, abortion and inflation are the top issues for voters, in that order, while a majority trust Trump over Biden to handle the economy, crime and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but trust Biden more than Trump on abortion.

Surprising Fact

In a race this close, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy has the potential to sway the election—though it’s unclear in whose favor. The May Fox poll shows Trump widens his lead from one to three points with Kennedy and third-party candidates Jill Stein and Cornel West on the ballot. This week’s Times/Siena/Inquirer survey found Kennedy draws votes from key Biden supporters. Kennedy has the support of just 10% of voters in six battleground states in a six-way contest, but support grows to 18% for voters between the ages of 18 and 29 and 14% for Hispanic voters. And the recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll shows Trump’s five-point lead is unchanged with Kennedy on the ballot. Meanwhile, an April NBC poll found Biden trailing Trump by two points in a head-to-head race, but beating him by two with Kennedy and other third-party candidates on the ballot. Since Kennedy is running as an independent without the backing of a sanctioned political party, he is required to petition in each state for ballot access. His campaign has said he has qualified to appear on the ballots in Texas, Utah, Michigan, California, Delaware and Oklahoma, and has enough signatures to appear on the ballots in New Hampshire, Nevada, Hawaii, North Carolina, Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio.

Contra

Polls have consistently suggested Biden—and the Democratic party as a whole—have been losing support among key demographics, including Black, Latino and younger voters. A Harvard Youth poll released in April found Biden leads Trump by eight percentage points among people ages 18 to 29, compared to a 23-point margin at that point in the lead-up to the 2020 election. An April Axios/Ipsos poll shows Biden had only a nine-point advantage with Latino voters, compared to 29 points after his first year in office. And a recent Wall Street Journal survey found more Black voters said they were leaning toward Trump than they did in 2020, including 30% of Black men (12% of Black men voted for Trump in 2020, according to AP VoteCast), and 11% of Black women (6% of Black women voted for Trump in 2020).

Key Background

Biden and Trump are poised for a historic rematch after clinching their respective parties’ nominations in March, ending the primary season much earlier in the year than in previous elections. Polls show historically low voter enthusiasm as both candidates have relatively low favorability ratings below 45%. The NBC poll found 64% voters said they were “very interested” in this year’s election, a 20-year low. Trump has centered his campaign around his legal woes, accusing prosecutors and judges in the cases of working at Biden’s behest to hurt his chances of winning the election, though there’s no evidence suggesting the notion is true. Biden, meanwhile, has cast Trump as a threat to democracy, citing his role in the January 6 Capitol riots, and has hammered Trump over his appointment of Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. Immigration has also taken center stage in the election as border crossings have reached an all-time high under Biden and Congress has failed to reach an agreement on new border controls. Biden has seen some gains in polls since both candidates clinched their parties’ nominations and the president has ramped up his campaign activity. Trump’s polling lead over Biden has decreased more than three percentage points, to 1.1, since the end of January, according to RealClearPolitics’ poll tracker, while the Economist poll tracker shows Trump and Biden tied, a trend that began in early April after Trump had been leading Biden since September.

Further Reading

These Are The Six Swing States Trump Needs To Take From Biden To Win In November (Forbes)

RFK Jr. Candidacy Hurts Trump More Than Biden, Poll Reports (Forbes)

Biden Gains Ground Over Trump In Swing States, New Poll Finds—It’s The Latest Survey Showing Positive Signs For Biden (Forbes)


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