Watch CBS News

CBS News poll finds voters remember Trump's economy as good, boosting Trump to national lead over Biden today

What to expect from Super Tuesday
Biden facing more protest votes, Haley on last legs against Trump with Super Tuesday next week 03:20

As Super Tuesday makes an historic rematch all but official, voters are comparing not just two presidents, but two presidencies

And right now former President Donald Trump emerges from that comparison as the frontrunner. He leads President Biden by four points nationally, his largest lead to date. Here's why:

Voters recall the economy under Trump more fondly than they rate the economy now. 

While neither gets great marks, voters today look back on Trump's presidency with relatively better retrospective ratings than they'd rate Mr. Biden's presidency so far.   


 (For the record, in 2019 people did indeed rate the economy well, but views cratered in Trump's last year in office, during the pandemic.)

This is the case, despite the fact that views of today's economy keep inching up. 

That's not helping Mr. Biden yet, at least not compared to Trump.

This is partly because Mr. Biden's policies are expected to cause price increases and Republicans overwhelmingly say they expect lower prices if Trump is elected.


This is part of a larger dynamic: Some of Mr. Biden's polling deficits come from his own Democratic base being relatively more critical of him. Twice as many Democrats call Mr. Biden's presidency fair or poor than Republicans describe Trump's presidency that way.

More voters think Trump "fights for people like them" than think Mr. Biden does.


More voters think Trump has a vision for the country than think Mr. Biden does.


And then many of the Biden campaign's arguments on Trump's potential liabilities aren't getting enough traction to move Mr. Biden past Trump.


Most Americans think Trump did try to stay in office past his term, but just under half think he tried to do so illegally. 

(And they're voting overwhelmingly for Mr. Biden.)

But the rest of the country — including those who think he tried to stay legally, would overwhelmingly return Trump to office.


So, Mr. Biden has no significant advantage over Trump as the one who'll keep democracy safe.


Abortion and IVF

A majority think the overturning of Roe v. Wade was bad for the country, but far fewer blame Trump for it.

 Big majorities do think IVF should be legal.


Immigration and the border

Trump has a huge advantage on reducing the number of migrants crossing. It's an issue that most continue to say is at least very serious, if not a crisis. 


Trump v. Biden health

As has been the case for months, Trump is seen to have the physical and cognitive health to serve, more so than Mr. Biden.


And finally, there's the motivations of voters and the party bases. 

"Negative" and "depressing" are voters' most commonly picked descriptions, when asked about their expectations of another Biden-Trump campaign. 

Democrats, in particular, say so.


Most of Mr. Biden's voters feel this is an election mostly about fear of what might happen; and more of them are voting to oppose Trump than because they like Mr. Biden.

Most of Trump's voters say this is an election about hope for what might happen; more of them are voting Trump because they like him, not opposition to Mr. Biden. 


And the impact of that, at least for now, is simply this: Mr. Biden is trailing, in part, because Democrats are less likely to say they'll definitely vote.

This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,159 U.S. adult residents interviewed between February 28-March 1, 2024. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past vote. The margin of error is ±2.8  points.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.