The poll shows 49 percent of respondents said they would definitely or probably vote for Trump against Biden, or that they lean towards voting for Trump, whereas Biden in such a scenario only nets 42 percent.
That means Trump leads Biden by seven percent, well outside the survey’s margin of error.
In total, if Trump is the GOP nominee in 2024, the cross tabs for the poll show 36 percent say they would definitely vote for him against Biden, another nine percent say they would probably vote for Trump in that scenario, and another five percent are leaning toward voting for Trump.
In said scenario, Biden only has 32 percent who say they will definitely vote for him, just six percent who said they probably would, and another four percent who said they lean toward voting for Biden.
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The fact Trump has such a commanding lead over Biden just about a week after Biden announced his reelection campaign is a remarkable turn of events for the former president. Not since the 19th century when in 1892 Americans elected then-former President Grover Cleveland back into the White House has the nation elected a former president who lost again. Cleveland was the 22nd president and the 24th president.
Trump is the nation’s 45th president and seeks to defeat Biden, the 46th president, to become also the 47th president of the United States.
This poll is not the only one showing a lead for Trump over Biden, and of course there is a long time between now and next November–and Trump still has to lock down the GOP nomination first before he gets a formal shot at a comeback–but this is the first establishment media survey showing Trump as the favorite for the White House from either party as spring turns to summer in 2023. Other surveys showing a Trump lead over Biden include Rasmussen Reports polls, and polls from Trump’s pollster Jim McLaughlin, but now that this trend is showing up in Washington Post/ABC News polling the White House must be feeling it.
This poll also comes at a particularly tumultuous moment for Biden, as the current president just launched his 2024 reelection campaign with a campaign video and a couple of public appearances–but the launch seems to have been rushed by the entrance into the Democrat primary of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy’s campaign is getting serious support among Democrats, and this survey also shows startling numbers for Biden among his own party.
This coming week, Biden will finally host congressional leaders from both parties–Republicans House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will join Democrats House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to meet with the president–to discuss the debt ceiling. Biden had for months this year refused to negotiate with Republicans in Congress over the debt ceiling, hoping to bluff them into agreeing to a “clean” debt ceiling increase with no spending cuts at an eventual deadline. But McCarthy’s move to pass a debt ceiling hike with significant spending reforms shocked observers and defied expectations, rallying Senate Republicans to the side of their House counterparts and weakening a backpedaling Biden and stunning Democrats in Congress. Just this weekend, Senate Republicans released a letter saying they stick by their House colleagues and back McCarthy in pushing for significant spending cuts for a debt ceiling increase–the letter had more than 40 signers among Senate Republicans, a message to observers that Schumer does not have the votes needed to pass a clean debt ceiling out of the Senate even if he wanted to.
The poll that shows Biden trailing his predecessor and likely future opponent by seven points heading into this summit and just after his lackluster reelection campaign launch would seem to further weaken the president’s position as he buckles and caves away from his original position of no negotiations period. This poll is a clear lead, too, well outside the poll’s margin of error. The poll, conducted from April 28 to May 3, surveyed 1,006 American adults and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent–meaning Trump’s seven-point lead is double the margin of error.
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Biden’s approval rating has also slipped to a new low in this poll, down to 36 percent–the lowest ever recorded for him by the Washington Post and ABC News since he took the White House.
“Biden’s overall job approval rating stands at 36 percent, down from 42 percent in February and about the same as the previous low of 37 percent in a Post-ABC poll conducted in early 2022,” the Washington Post’s Dan Balz, Scott Clement, and Emily Guskin wrote of the poll. “His disapproval stands at 56 percent, including 47 percent who disapprove ‘strongly.’ Other recent polls have pegged Biden’s approval in the low 40s without a decline in recent months.”
The approval rating issues are serious for Biden among several key demographics as well. “Biden’s approval rating is underwater among a slew of groups that supported him by wide margins in 2020,” the Post reporters wrote. “He stands at 26 percent approval among Americans under age 30, 42 percent among non-White adults, 41 percent among urban residents and 46 percent of those with no religious affiliation. Among independents who voted for Biden in 2020, 57 percent approve while 30 percent disapprove. Among independents who voted for Trump, 96 percent disapprove.”
A majority of respondents who are Democrats or lean Democrat, too, believe Democrats should nominate someone other than Biden for the 2024 presidential election. The poll asked people who leaned Democrat this question: “Would you like the Democratic Party to nominate Biden to run for a second term as president in 2024, or would you like the Democratic Party to nominate someone other than Biden as its candidate for president?” A majority, 58 percent, said they wanted someone else. Only 36 percent said they wanted Democrats to nominate Biden, and 6 percent said they had no opinion.
Among Republicans, meanwhile, Trump holds a commanding lead again. When a full field was tested, Trump stands at 43 percent–and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis down at 20 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence got 2 percent, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got 1 percent, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley got one percent, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson got one percent, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) got one percent. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu got less than a percent, and four percent said they backed “other” while 27 percent did not have an opinion.
Interestingly, the poll asked those GOP leaners who did not say Trump, Pence, DeSantis, Scott, Haley, or Hutchinson as their first choice who they would back in said scenario if that was the final field. Trump actually picks up more of the other people than anyone else, and in a field that only includes those people surges to majority support at 51 percent in the field–while DeSantis only increases to 25 percent. That would suggest that despite conventional wisdom holding that a crowded field helps Trump it might actually help his biggest possible challenger.
In the off chance that DeSantis overcame the staggering Trump leads in national and state surveys and won the GOP nomination, he actually also performs worse against Biden in a general election–albeit almost as good as Trump. Thirty-two percent said they would “definitely” vote for DeSantis against Biden, 10 percent said they probably would, and 6 percent said they lean that way–for a net of 48 percent–whereas Biden nets 41 percent in that hypothetical.
Some observers have noted that this survey, combined with other recent ones from reliable pollsters who are not being paid by undisclosed clients, is disintegrating one of the core arguments that anti-Trump Republicans have been making against a comeback bid by the former president, which is that he would be less electable than DeSantis.
This survey also shows Trump receives much higher marks from Americans on how he handled the economy than Biden is currently receiving.
A total of 54 percent–a clear and convincing majority–of Americans believe Trump handled the economy better than Biden. Only 36 percent said Biden is doing better at managing the economy than Trump did.
The survey also shows that clear majorities of Americans believe that Biden is physically and mentally unfit for office. Asked if Biden “has the mental sharpness it takes to serve effectively as president,” 63 percent said he does not while just 32 percent said he does and five percent had no opinion. Asked if Biden “is in good enough physical health to serve effectively as president,” 62 percent said he does not while just 33 percent said he does and five percent had no opinion.
When it comes to Trump, inversely, majorities believe has the mental sharpness needed to serve as president and is healthy enough for the office. On the first question, 54 percent said Trump does have the mental sharpness while 43 percent said he does not and four percent had no opinion.
On the second question, 64 percent said Trump is healthy enough to serve as president and just 28 percent said he is not while eight percent had no opinion.