May 30, 2024

President Joe Biden has a tenuous lead over lawfare-challenged former President Donald Trump, but continues to show weakness among key voting groups that he needs to win a second term in office, the latest numbers from the May I&I/TIPP Poll show.

The national online I&I/TIPP Poll, taken from May 1-3, included 1,264 responses to a number of questions about the upcoming 2024 presidential election. The poll’s margin of error is +/-2.8 percentage points.

Our main question was to ask registered voters about a straight, head-to-head matchup between Biden and Trump. More specifically, voters were asked to choose among Biden, Trump, “not sure” “other” and “prefer not to answer” as possible responses.

In this matchup, Biden comes out ahead 42% to Trump 40%, but remember the margin of error is greater than that, so statistically it remains a tossup. Among other answers, 10% chose “other” over either of the main candidates, while 7% said the weren’t sure.

Biden’s strength is based on solid 86% support from his base Democratic Party backers, while Trump sees identical support from among Republicans. But Democrats generally see slightly higher turnout than Republicans, so Biden gets the edge.

A second comparison includes Biden, Trump and the three main third-party or independent candidates, including independent lawyer-activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., university professor and activist Cornel West, and Green Party standard-bearer Jill Stein.

As expected, adding the others into the mix alters the results somewhat. Biden takes 39% of the vote, while Trump takes 38% of the vote, a virtual dead-heat given the margin of error.

But Kennedy gets 12% of the overall vote, taking from both Biden and Trump. West and Stein, with 1% each, have little if any impact. Kennedy attracts 9% of Democrats and 7% of Republicans, but an even-larger 18% slice of the independents.

As noted, while the overall appears close, there are some mitigating factors.

Start with this: At over 40% of the potential total vote, those who declare themselves “Independents” are the swing vote in close elections. This could spell trouble for Biden, more than Trump.

In the head-to-head poll, Trump wins 35% of independents’ support, compared to just 30% for Biden and 21% for “other.” Add in the third-party candidates, and Trump beats Biden 33% to 25%, with 18% (as mentioned above) picking RFK Jr. as their favorite.

Why is this important? Independents in the last election favored Biden 54% to Trump’s 41%. That has, for all intents and purposes been reversed this time around, as the I&I/TIPP data demonstrate.

Trump has also made significant inroads among key traditional Democratic constituencies.

African-Americans, for instance, gave 87% of their vote to Biden in 2020, compared to just 12% for Trump. But that’s changed dramatically in 2024: Black voters say they favor Biden by 59%, a 28% decline from four years ago, while 15% say they back Trump, a three percentage-point gain. All told, it’s a 31-point swing.

Among Hispanics, Biden slammed Trump in 2020, 65% to 32%. In this month’s I&I/TIPP Poll, Hispanics give just 47% support to Biden, 26% to Trump, and 13% to Kennedy.

This month, the I&I/TIPP Poll also asked a number of questions that attempt to gain a better idea of how people see this election turning out.

In one of those questions, we asked partisans of Trump, Biden and Kennedy, “Do you support (candidate’s name) strongly or moderately?”

Again, the answers are revealing for the depth of support each has. For Biden, 54% said they support him “strongly,” while 43% backed him “moderately.”

For Trump? Of those responding, 64% described their Trump support as strong, but just 34% termed it moderate.

Kennedy did worse. Just 38% of his backers called their support strong, as 53% said it was moderate.

So Trump appears to have stronger intensity of his base support than either of his two rivals. That, possibly, could give Trump a solid edge in last-minute “get-out-the-vote” efforts in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Further digging, the poll asked all respondents who they expected to win in November.

The answer: 37% predicted Trump, 34% Biden. Another 15% described the election as “too close to call,” while 12% said they “don’t know enough to answer one way or the other.”

Another question, intended to help discover how people really feel about the candidates, is to ask them “if the election were held today, who do you believe most of your neighbors would vote for?”

The answer is revealing: 43% responded Trump, while just 31% said Biden. Another 25% said “not sure.”

What does it all mean? That Biden and third-party candidates appear to have an “enthusiasm gap” with Trump.

In an election marred by charges of “lawfare” against former President Trump, with a majority saying he can’t get a fair trial, the sudden emergence of the “Gaza problem” after what many believe has been Biden’s diplomatic ineptitude and lack of support for Israel, a growing third-party insurgency by RFK Jr., and the possible defection of key Democratic voting blocs, including minorities, organized labor, working-class voters, and even Catholics, Biden and the Democrats cannot rest easy.

I&I/TIPP data indicate that even voters who support Biden show a lack of enthusiasm, while most registered voters now expect Trump to win, significant since recent studies indicate such expectations have a high likelihood of becoming reality.

“55% of the public now considers the Trump presidency a success, and 44% look at it as a failure,” wrote Rich Lowry in the New York Post. “Biden, in contrast, is upside down. Only 39% say his presidency has been a success, while 61% say it’s been a failure.”

“With about six months remaining before Election Day, Biden stands in a weaker position than any prior incumbent,” the recent Gallup Poll noted. No doubt, those leading Biden’s re-election bid have noted the same thing.

I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique, and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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