Political races could be fairly described as popularity contests, but presidential races have changed. Increasingly they are about voting for the lesser of two evils. Indeed, the 2024 general election is shaping up to be a battle between two highly unpopular candidates, where voters cast their ballot for the choice they least loathe.
According to a new national NBC News poll, three-quarters of voters said they had concerns about President Joe Biden’s age and mental fitness, while nearly two-thirds had concerns about the legal battles facing former President Donald Trump. Just 37 percent of respondents said they had no or only minor concerns about Trump’s numerous indictments, compared with 62 percent who said they had either major or moderate concerns.
President Biden’s age isn’t the only concern for Democratic voters. The NBC News poll also found that fewer than four in 10 voters approve of his handling of the economy. Biden’s job approval rating among voters was just 41 percent, with 56 percent disapproving – the highest disapproval rating of his presidency.
The Unpopularity Contest
With both suffering low approval numbers, Biden and Trump are tied in a hypothetical contest, with each earning 46 percent support.
Yet even as most Americans don’t appear to have a favorable view of Trump, the former president is still a dominating force in the Republican Party, the NBC News poll found.
With 59 percent of support among Republican primary voters, he remains the first choice, far ahead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who had 16 percent support. They are followed by Nikki Haley at 7 percent, and by Mike Pence and Chris Christie at 4 percent each.
One result that does stand out is that even as Trump is tied with Biden in the poll, Haley edges out Biden in a hypothetical match-up, 46 to 41. She is the only GOP hopeful to see such a lead over the sitting president. Biden holds a one-point lead over DeSantis, 46 to 45 percent, but that is within the poll’s margin of error.
Another Poll Shows Trump Leading
Though the NBC News poll shows a dead heat, the findings from The Washington Post/ABC News poll, released on Sunday, found that in a hypothetical match-up, Trump would defeat Biden 52 to 42 percent. However, the paper of record downplayed its own poll, suggesting that it was an outlier.
“The sizable margin of Trump’s lead in this survey is significantly at odds with other public polls that show the general election contest a virtual dead heat,” the Post wrote Sunday. “The difference between this poll and others, as well as the unusual makeup of Trump’s and Biden’s coalitions in this survey, suggest it is probably an outlier.”
The Washington Post/ABC News poll did find that voters still had many of the same concerns, notably Biden’s age and his handling of the economy, as well as Trump’s legal problems. All this is a sign that we should be prepared to face the ultimate unpopularity contest in the 2024 general election.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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