Recent polling data has delivered a setback to the arguments against nominating former President Trump as the Republican presidential candidate in 2024. Some of Trump’s primary rivals had contended that he couldn’t defeat President Biden in a general election, especially in crucial battleground states where moderate and independent voters play a pivotal role.
However, the latest polls from The New York Times, CNN, CBS News, and Emerson College have shown Trump leading Biden in hypothetical 2024 matchups, both at the national level and in key swing states. This shift in polling dynamics has weakened the electability argument against Trump.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has framed much of her campaign around electability, had previously argued that Trump couldn’t win in a general election and pointed to polls showing her beating Biden in a hypothetical 2024 matchup. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also focused on his record of delivering victories in Florida as part of his nomination argument.
Despite losing to Biden in the 2020 election, recent polls have challenged the notion that Trump is incapable of competing with Biden in a future election. A New York Times/Siena College poll found Trump leading Biden in five out of six critical battleground states that could determine the outcome of the 2024 race. CBS News and CNN polls also showed Trump leading in hypothetical rematches.
However, some Republicans still argue that Haley or DeSantis might be less risky candidates in a general election than Trump. The Biden campaign has cautioned that these polls are a year ahead of Election Day and should not be considered predictive, pointing to the 2022 midterms as an example of unexpected outcomes. They also anticipate that once Trump becomes the nominee, he will face increased scrutiny and attacks over various issues.
Furthermore, Trump’s legal challenges, including trials in multiple states, add a layer of uncertainty to his potential candidacy. The New York Times/Siena College poll suggested that a small percentage of voters in critical swing states would switch from Trump to Biden if Trump is convicted and sentenced, potentially influencing the election’s outcome.
In summary, recent polling has changed the dynamics of the electability argument against Trump, making the 2024 presidential race more unpredictable and competitive within the Republican Party.