With views of things in America continuing to be bad and now hitting their most negative marks of the year, one might expect an incumbent president to trail in a pre-election poll — as Joe Biden does in this one. But that's only half the story. The other half is that Donald Trump holds distinct advantages in his own right when voters look forward: More voters think they'd be better off financially if Trump wins in 2024, and more voters think it's Trump who can keep the U.S. out of a war, if he wins.
Mr. Biden's Democratic base looks a little more shaky than Trump's going into next year, too, which isn't helping him. On those financial measures, Mr. Biden hasn't fully made the case to his fellow Democrats that he'll help them financially, or address inequality — certainly not in the way Trump has convinced Republicans.
Looking overseas, Democrats aren't as sure about Mr. Biden avoiding an overseas war as Republicans are about Trump doing so. And then more directly, Democrats are just less apt to say they'll vote. Granted, it's far off, but it does speak to the challenges Mr. Biden has in front of him one year out from Election Day.
Those partisans may be reading the, too: Mr. Biden's backers react to the idea of a rematch by mainly saying they're nervous and frustrated; Trump's say they're hopeful and motivated.
Plus, as ever in American politics, views on race continue to play a role.
Let's unpack these more — first, the financial factor:
Americans have long described financial setbacks because of inflation and interest rates. Those who feel they're worse off financially are backing Trump. And this isn't just punitive toward Mr. Biden — those voters overwhelmingly think they will be financially better off if Trump wins.
And voters continue to believe the wealthy are favored over the middle and working class in America today, and Mr. Biden has not persuaded them this would change during a second term, nor does he have any meaningful advantage over Trump in being seen as helping the middle and working class.
The overseas factor:
As foreign policy dominates the news, it isn't the central vote driver here (it rarely is in presidential politics) but then again, it isn't helping Mr. Biden either:
It's Trump more than Mr. Biden who is more widely viewed as decreasing the chance of the U.S. being in a war, and also more seen as able to increase peace and stability in the world. These are tough numbers for a president trying to inspire confidence in a time of international crisis.
Mr. Biden gets less than the full backing from his own party: Democrats are less confident in Mr. Biden decreasing the chances of war in a second term than Republicans are in Trump.
Specifically, on Israel, each set of partisans think their candidate would back Israel the right amount. That's the majority sentiment within Mr. Biden's own party, but a third of Democrats think Biden would back Israel too much — which in turn undercuts Mr. Biden overall on this measure.
Trump taps into the more isolationist tendencies that have long run through American politics, and which certainly seem to hold sway through much of the political right. He leads Mr. Biden with the majority of voters who want the U.S. to stay out of other countries' affairs. And Trump leads, even though more voters think Trump would side with Russia over Ukraine or not take a side in that war.
Meanwhile, views of how things are going in America are worse now than at the start of 2023, and in fact have ticked to their harshest rating as we head into winter.
The race factor:
Always a factor in American politics, race plays a part in the nascent 2024 campaign, too.
Most White voters backing Trump believe that it's racial minorities who are favored over White people in America today — but they believe that if Trump wins, he would try to treat everyone the same.
These sentiments have echoes in those expressed by Trump voters as far back as Election Day 2016, when he first won the presidency.
But Biden voters, and Democrats overall, see the impact of race in America quite differently: they believe White people are advantaged over racial minorities, and that Mr. Biden would try to treat them the same — views are shared by White voters backing Mr. Biden.
Those financial factors may be hurting Mr. Biden with Black and Hispanic voters, key parts of the Democratic coalition, who are not convinced they would be helped financially if he wins a second term.
Hispanic voters are much likelier to say their finances would improve under Trump than Mr. Biden. And most Black voters do not expect their finances to change if Mr. Biden wins again.
Partly as a result, he's down in support from 2020 with both those groups. His big majority of Black voters today isn't quite as big, and Hispanic voters are divided in their vote preference — similar to what we saw in, but markedly down from the two-thirds who voted for him in 2020.
The abortion factor:
The abortion issue helped keep Democrats competitive in the 2022 midterms, and they are almost twice as likely as Republicans to say it makes them more likely to vote in 2024. It'll take the spotlight again this week in an Ohio referendum. Here, Mr. Biden does appear to have an opportunity, at least in terms of motivating his party. Most voters think his policies in a second term will try to protect abortion access (the public overall supports abortion being mostly legal). And Democrats are more confident in his affecting that than they are on some other issues.
All this helps put Trump in a better national position for this potential 2024 matchup, three points over Biden - a number that is slightly higher than September's and which would almost surely translate into a comfortable Electoral College win for Trump, were it to emerge in the national vote next year.
Finally, here are those differences in how each candidate's backers see the idea of a matchup. There's plenty of frustration and nervousness to go around, but it's more Trump voters who express being hopeful and motivated.
Kabir Khanna contributed to this report.
This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,636 U.S. adult residents interviewed between Oct. 30 - Nov. 3rd, 2023. 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 ±2.6 points.
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