CNN Poll: Most voters think Democrats have a better chance of keeping White House if Biden isn’t the nominee | CNN Politics (2024)

CNN Poll: Most voters think Democrats have a better chance of keeping White House if Biden isn’t the nominee | CNN Politics (1)

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Supreme Court's immunity ruling at the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, DC, on July 1, 2024.


Three-quarters ofUSvoters say the Democratic Party would have a better shot at holding the presidency in 2024 with someone other than President Joe Biden at the top of the ticket, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.His approval rating alsohas hit a new low following a shaky performance in the first debate of this year’s presidential campaign.

In a matchup between the presumptive major-party nominees,voters nationwide favor former President Donald Trump over Biden by 6 points, 49% to 43%, identical to the results of CNN’s national poll on the presidential race in April, and consistent with the lead Trump has held in CNN polling back to last fall.

There are some signs in the poll that each candidate has consolidated support among their own partisans in recent months, a period that has seen both Trump’s conviction on felony charges in a New York court and the firstgeneral electiondebate of the contest, though independents appear increasingly reluctant to support either man.

The poll also finds Vice President Kamala Harris within striking distance of Trump in a hypothetical matchup:47% of registered voters support Trump, 45% Harris, aresultwithinthemargin of errorthat suggests there is no clear leader under such a scenario. Harris’ slightly stronger showing against Trump rests at least in part on broader support fromwomen (50% of female voters back Harris over Trump vs. 44% for Biden against Trump) and independents (43% Harris vs. 34% Biden).

Several other Democrats havebeen mentioned as potential Biden replacements in recent days,andeach trails Trump among registered voters, withtheirlevels of support similar to Biden’s, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom (48% Trump to 43% Newsom), Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (47% Trump to 43% Buttigieg), and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (47% Trump to 42% Whitmer).

Biden’s campaign hasinsisted he will not drop outof the race, and while some Democratic insiders have privately discussed the possibility of replacing him as the nominee, any path forward would be bothlogistically difficultandpolitically risky.

Biden’s support among Democratic voters has inched up to 91% from 85% in April,while93% of Republicans back Trump (about even since April). Trump maintains a roughly 10-point advantage among independents (44% to 34% in the new poll), while the share of independents who choose neither candidate or say they do not plan to vote has climbed from 15% to 21%.

Both Biden and Trump supporters have grown likelier to say their choice is an affirmative vote of support rather than one against the opposing party’s candidate, but the election continues to be driven more by feelings about Trump than about Biden. Two-thirds (66%) of Trump backers say they’re voting mainly for him rather than against Biden (up from 60% in January) while 37% of Biden’s supporters say their vote is more for the president than against his predecessor (up from 32% earlier this year).

However,most Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters (56%) say the party has a better shot at the presidency with someone other than Biden, while 43% say the party stands a better chance with him. Democratic confidence in Biden’s chances has not increased since he locked up the party’s nomination in the primaries: In January, 53% felt the party would have a better shot with someone other than Biden at the top of the ticket and 46% felt more confident with Biden.

People hold signs calling for President Joe Biden to step aside this upcoming election in East Hampton, New York, as Biden's motorcade passes by on Saturday, June 29, 2024.

At the same time, Republican-aligned voters have grown considerably more positive about their chances to win with Trump than without him: 83% now say that the GOP has a better shot to win with Trump, compared with 72% who felt that way in January.

Biden’s approval rating in the poll has fallen to a new low among all Americans (36%), with 45% now saying they strongly disapprove of his performance, a new high in CNN’s polling.

Among the full US public, Biden’s favorability rating stands at just 34%, with 58% viewing him unfavorably.Andwhile many of the Democratic names bandied about as possible replacements for Biden are less widely disliked, none would start with more public goodwill – instead, they are less well known. Harris has the widest recognition – and is also deeply underwater, with a 29% favorability rating, 49% rating her unfavorably, and 22% saying they have no opinion or haven’t heard of her. Roughly half of the public has no opinion on Buttigieg (50%) and Newsom (48%), with about two-thirds (69%) offering no opinion of Whitmer.

The events of the past several months have done little to shift Trump’s image either way. Since April, Trump has been found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records at his New York hush money trial and had a debate performance widely viewed as a win (76% of voters who watched or followed news about it say he did the better job in last week’s debate, while only 23% say Biden did). But his favorability rating remains deeply negative: 39% have a favorable view of Trump and 54% an unfavorable one, about the same as it has been since last fall. The pool of double-hater voters – those with unfavorable views of both Biden and Trump – remains about the same: 18% fall into that category, and they break in Trump’s favor, 41% to 31%.

And a generic congressional matchup in the poll suggests a near-even contest for the House of Representatives: 47% of registered voters nationwide would choose the Republican candidate in their district, 45% the Democrat.

Perceptions of Biden and Trump post-debate

About 9 in 10 registered voters in the poll (91%) say there are important differences between Trump and Biden, and when asked to name those key differences, voters most frequently mention honesty, ability to handle the job and service to the country above self as distinguishing factors. Among Biden’s backers, 31% say the most important difference is around honesty and integrity, while the top response among Trump’s supporters is fitness for the job (24% say that).

The poll also reveals how voters see the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.

Voters appear to have significant questions about Biden’s handling of key issues and his physical and mental abilities. They trust Trump over Biden on two of the three issues they consider most important to their choice for president (Trump leads on the economy and immigration by roughly 20 points, with Biden holding a slight 5-point edge on protecting democracy).When asked about whether certain attributes were reasons to vote for or against each candidate, 72% of voters say Biden’s physical and mental abilities are a reason to vote against him rather than for him. For Trump, views are narrowly positive: 43% see his physical and mental abilities as a plus and 39% as a minus.

Beyond Trump’s advantages on the economy and immigration, the former president is more trusted than Biden on foreign policy (46% to 36%) and handling the role of commander in chief (43% Trump to 35% Biden).

Biden’s strengths are on abortion and reproductive rights (44% trust Biden, 32% Trump) and health care (44% Biden to 34% Trump). A plurality say they trust neither Biden nor Trump to unite the country (39% feel that way), while 31% say they trust Biden more to do so and 30% Trump.

Biden’s demeanor and temperament – a strong point for him in the 2020 presidential election – is a net neutral for him, though a clear negative for Trump (41% see it as a reason to vote against Bidenand39% a reason to vote for him, compared with 57% describing demeanor and temperament as a reason to vote against Trump).

Convincing movable voters

The president’s central challenge in his reelection bid remains winning over skeptical and persuadable voters, and the poll suggests neither Biden nor Trump have won them over yet.

Among all registered voters, 31% either say they could change their minds between now and Election Day or do not support a specific candidate. The almost 7 in 10 voters who have made up their minds break heavily for Trump – 53% to 45%. In order to overtake Trump, Biden would have to bring a significant share of these movable voters to his side, though they currently split 39% for Trump to 37% for Biden in a two-way matchup; 8% say they’d back someone else and 14% that they don’t plan to vote.

These persuadable voters are more likely to dislike both Trump and Biden (38% have an unfavorable view of both candidates, compared with 9% among voters who have made a choice), and are less likely to see important differences between Biden and Trump (18% say they are pretty much the same, compared with 5% of those who have made a choice).

These voters are also more likely to support an alternative Democrat against Trump than they are to choose Biden. In hypothetical matchups, they break 47% for Harris to 34% for Trump, 42% for Newsom to 36% for Trump, and 42% for Buttigieg to 35% for Trump.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS from June 28-30 among a random national sample of 1,274 adults drawn from a probability-based panel, including 1,045 registered voters. Surveys were conducted either online or by telephone with a live interviewer. Results among the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. For results among registered voters, it is plus or minus 3.7 points.

CNN’s Edward Wu and Dana Elobaid contributed to this story.

CNN Poll: Most voters think Democrats have a better chance of keeping White House if Biden isn’t the nominee | CNN Politics (2024)


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