We’re still more than a year from the 2022 midterms, but 2024 still weighs heavy on many minds.
Will Trump run? He probably is.
Will Biden run? Who knows?
But, according to the latest Emerson College poll, voters prefer Trump over Biden in 2024 in a hypothetical matchup—with Trump edging out Biden 47 percent to 46 percent.
While close, it’s significant because Trump never had a lead over Biden in any Emerson College poll during the 2020 election after the start of the pandemic.
- The October 25-26, 2020 survey had Biden up 5 points.
- The September 22-23, 2020 survey had Biden up 4 points.
- The August 30-31, 2020 survey had Biden up 2 points.
- The July 29-30, 2020 survey had Biden up 4 points.
- The June 2-3, 2020 survey had Biden up 6 points.
- The April 26-28, 2020 survey had Biden up 6 points.
- The March 18-19, 2020 survey had Biden up 6 points.
The last Emerson poll to have Trump ahead of Biden was the February 16-18 survey, which had Trump up 4 points.
Biden’s performance in the hypothetical matchup seems to correlate with his presidential approval, as Emerson has him at 47 percent disapproval and 46 percent approval. Still, one could argue that things don’t look so bad for Biden. There’s still plenty of time to turn things around. However, this new Emerson poll has him performing better in presidential approval than the current RealClearPolitics average, which has his average spread at -4.1 approval.
Also, Biden performs better against other potential GOP candidates, and if the GOP nominates someone other than Trump, it could fracture the GOP vote.
“Voters were asked about a series of hypothetical 2024 matchups. If Biden and Trump are the eventual nominees in 2024, Trump is slightly favored with 47%, while Biden is at 46%. Biden is stronger against DeSantis, with a 48% to 36% advantage,” according to the poll. “However, when Mitt Romney was listed as the potential Republican nominee, the vote splintered, with Biden at 42%, Romney at 23%, and 29% indicating they would vote for someone else.”
That likely won’t be an issue, as Trump has the support of two-thirds of Republican voters.
“Historically, this data reminds me of 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt failed to win the Republican nomination from then-President Taft and created a third party dooming the Republican chances against Woodrow Wilson,” said Spencer Kimball, polling director of Emerson College. “This data suggests that Republicans want either Trump or a Trumpian candidate to be their nominee, or half of them may split from the party.”
Another problem for Biden in this poll is that 39 percent of Democrats would rather someone else be their party’s nominee in 2024—hardly a ringing endorsement for an incumbent. This suggests that if Biden chooses to run in 2024, he will once again suffer a significant enthusiasm gap.
Donald Trump has hinted that he plans to run again in 2024 but says campaign finance laws prevent him from definitively saying so. One thing is clear, though. Should he run, the GOP nomination looks to be his, and he will also be the Republican Party’s best shot at winning back the White House.