Sat. May 18th, 2024

An expensive, personal, very close presidential race careens toward an uncertain end

By 37ci3 May5,2024

Six months after Election Day, American voters face a presidential race that looks stable at first glance and is filled with uncertainty beneath the surface.

For the first time in more than a century, Americans will choose between two major party candidates who have already served as commander-in-chief: President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

The matchup is long overdue, but Americans are buzzing about it: Interest in the elections has reached its lowest level in the last 20 years A recent NBC News poll and majority of registered voters have negative views of both men. This means that, barring a major swing, the election will be decided by voters who hold negative views of both Biden and Trump — not just who they will vote for, but whether they will decide to attend the upcoming event at all. the most expensive presidential race in American history.

Trump has a narrow 2-point lead among registered voters NBC News’ April survey, in an election where both candidates have a different theory of the case. Biden is leaning heavily on issues like abortion rights, where polls show him ahead, while also enjoying a significant fundraising advantage.

But polls also show a majority of Americans disapprove of Biden’s performance in office — an opening Trump has seized to hammer Biden on issues like the economy and the border, while seeking to shore up his base as a quarter faces federal and state impeachment. different situations. Meanwhile, third-party candidates are trying to capitalize on the apathy of the primary candidates.

Here’s a look at where the 2024 presidential race stands six months in — in the polls, the balance sheet, the key battlegrounds and more.

Trump’s narrow edge over Biden

Despite the noisy and chaotic news environment, according to most polls, the race between Biden and Trump remains both close and stable with six months to go before Election Day.

The latest national NBC News poll has Trump ahead of registered voters by 2 points, 46-44% — within the poll’s margin of error.

It is worth noting that the race decreased slightly during the year, and Trump’s share remained between 45% and 47%. Biden fluctuated more, but only slightly, between 49% and a low of 42%.

Other polls — both nationally and in key battleground states — confirm how competitive and stable the race is.

Biden’s biggest advantages are among black voters, women and white voters with college degrees. Meanwhile, Trump leads among men, white voters and white voters without a college degree.

An NBC News poll shows Biden and Trump tied or competitive among independents, Latino voters and young voters — though polls differed on whether young voters were running away from Biden.

But the survey also points to potential wild cards that could boost that stability. These include third-party candidates introduced into the mix: a recent NBC News poll finds A 2-point margin for Trump becomes a 2-point lead for Biden when the ballot is expanded, although other polls have shown Trump doing better when third-party preferences are included.

Meanwhile, a quarter of voters say they could change their minds. Finally, the fluid battle for the votes of people considering third-party candidates could change dramatically between now and Election Day as Biden and Trump beat their other rivals — and each other.

How things can change in the last six months

When incumbents run for re-election, there has been relatively little movement in the NBC News national poll between six months and Election Day.

But this finding comes with a few big caveats. The Electoral College (not the popular vote) decides who wins the presidency. A change of just a few percentage points can be very significant, especially in close elections in key swing states. And the 2016 election changed significantly with Trump on the ballot.

In April 2020, Biden led Trump by 7 percentage points, 49% to 42%, in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Biden’s last popular vote margin against Trump in November was 4 percentage points.

In 2012, President Barack Obama led Republican Mitt Romney by 6 percentage points in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and then won the popular vote by 3 points.

And in 2004, President George W. Bush’s 3-point lead in a May 2004 NBC News poll mirrored his popular vote victory months later.

But that relative stability changed in 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton led Trump by 11 points in an April 2016 NBC poll, including the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server and Trump’s “Access Hollywood- did not exist long before the introduction of a’. ” tape. Clinton won the popular vote by just 2 percent, but she clearly lost the Electoral College and the presidency with it.

What is the most weight of voters

Voters routinely cited a number of key concerns when casting their ballots — the economy and inflation, Biden’s age and the state of abortion rights across the country.

The latest NBC News national poll presented voters with a battery of these frequently cited issues and qualities, asking respondents to determine which candidate would best address each issue.

Biden won only two qualifications. When asked who could bring the country together, 37% of voters said he would do a better job, and 28% said Trump would do a better job. On the issue of abortion, 46% said Biden would do a better job on Trump, compared with 31%.

Trump outscored Biden on an issue routinely rated by voters as a key issue this election year: dealing with inflation and the cost of living. More than half of those polled — 52% — said Trump would handle the issue better, and only 30% said the same about Biden.

Trump also pointed to Biden’s qualities, including being competent and effective and having a strong track record as president.

On the ground in the battlefields

The realities of the Electoral College system mean that much of the next six months of campaign activity and spending will be focused on a few closely contested battleground states. So far, Trump has slightly edged Biden in the most competitive states, in part because he lives in the battleground state of Florida. Without Florida, it’s Biden holding more battleground events.

In 2020, eight states decided 5 percentage points or less. Biden won Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin by razor-thin margins — winning each state by less than 1 point. Biden’s narrow wins in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada also bolstered his victory, while Trump led North Carolina by 1 point and Florida by 3 points.

Both Biden and Trump are heading to key battlegrounds, although Trump has yet to hold a campaign event in Arizona. While Biden has held fewer campaign-only events, he has visited those states several times for official White House events, highlighting how incumbents can use their offices in an election year.

Biden’s most notable battlegrounds so far include North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, with six events in each state. Trump has attended more events in Florida than any other battleground, including some at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, where Trump also lives. After that: Pennsylvania and Nevada.

Fewer voters than ever are interested in elections

Voters aren’t excited about the 2024 race, especially compared to past elections. The latest NBC News national poll found the lowest level of interest at this point in the election cycle since 2012, with 64% of registered voters rating their interest a “9” or “10” on a 10-point enthusiasm scale.

This is significantly lower than the 74% who said they were highly interested in the April 2020 election. Interest has been stagnant for months, but past elections have seen enthusiasm pick up around November. In a March 2012 NBC News poll, 67% of voters said they were highly interested in the election, and by October of that year, that figure had risen to 77%.

Big cash gap

It’s clear that Biden and the Democrats have a significant fundraising lead over Trump and the Republicans with six months to go.

In the first three months of 2024, the Biden campaign raised more money than the Trump campaign, spent more and ended March with more money in the bank. Through March, the most recent month for which campaigns file campaign finance reports, the Biden campaign raised more than $85.5 million, while the Trump campaign raised $45.1 million.

National party organizations are in a similar spot: The Democratic National Committee outperformed the Republican National Committee in each of January, February and March, closing the first quarter with $45.2 million in cash to the RNC’s $21.6 million. Overall, Biden and the DNC had twice as much money as the Republicans and Trump.

But the GOP hopes it can seize that lead now that Trump has a firm grip on the party, capturing delegates for the nomination in March. Sources told NBC News last month that he held a fundraiser in early April in Florida Has committed more than 50 million dollars (figures cannot be confirmed until fundraising reports are submitted later this month). Republicans have bigger donors returns to the loop and supports Trump as he continues to lag behind the party’s presumptive nominee. And after establishing new leadership at the RNC, Trump leads the party’s spring retreatwill take place in part at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.

On air

More than $400 million has already been spent on ads in the presidential race, including millions spent during the competitive GOP primaries, according to ad tracking firm AdImpact.

A Trump ally super PAC, MAGA Inc., was one of the top spending groups on Sunday. So far, $45.6 million has been spent to secure the Republican nomination for Trump. But Biden’s campaign had already overtaken Trump on the airwaves, spending more than twice as much on ads by Sunday.

After former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley dropped out of her bid for the GOP nomination in early March, Biden held a huge lead over Trump on the airwaves. Since Haley left the race and entered the general election, Biden’s campaign has spent $24.5 million on ads, while Trump’s campaign has spent just $50,000.

A Biden ally super PAC is also the only group to allocate airtime from Monday until Election Day in November. So far, Future Forward PAC has spent $130 million on ad bookings through Nov. 5, and MAGA Inc. has spent $728,000 on future bookings.

AdImpact predicts that the 2024 race will be the most expensive ever. estimates that $10.2 billion will be spent on advertisingIt exceeded the record of 2020 by more than 1 billion dollars.

Trump is on trial

Trump’s legal troubles add a particularly unexpected and unusual twist to the 2024 election.

Trump has already completed an 11-day trial in New York, where he is accused of falsifying business records related to a hush-hush payment to an adult movie star. And that trial is expected to last for weeks before the jury is asked to reach a verdict.

Before the year is out, he could still face a trial or two on more serious charges, trials that could sideline him from the campaign trail for a long time and, most importantly, change the contours of this race. But no date has been set.

The ongoing federal case in Washington, where he is accused of election interference, is on hold pending a Supreme Court decision, which is not expected until the end of June.

Neither the Florida case, which considers Trump’s mishandling of classified documents, nor the Georgia case, which accuses him of racketeering in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election, have a start date, but could theoretically begin in the next six months.

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By 37ci3

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