A year away from a potential rematch, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in five of the six most important battleground states, according to New York Times-Siena College polling released Sunday and Monday.
What You Need To Know
- A year away from a potential rematch, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in five of the six most important battleground states, according to New York Times-Siena College polling released Sunday and Monday
- Seventy-one percent of likely voters said Biden, who turns 81 later this month, is too old to be an effective president and 62% said he lacks the mental sharpness needed
- David Axelrod, the chief strategist behind former President Barack Obama’s campaigns, said the poll “will send tremors of doubt thru the party--not ‘bed-wetting,’ but legitimate concern"
- While the poll was more favorable to Trump, there are signs of lukewarm support for him in a general election as well
The poll shows Trump leading Biden by 11 percentage points in Nevada, six in Georgia, five in each Arizona and Michigan, and four in Pennsylvania. Biden holds a three-point advantage over Trump in Wisconsin.
Combined, Trump leads Biden 48%-45% across those states.
Trump won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016, but Biden flipped all five in 2020. Nevada went to the Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Biden, in both elections.
Fifty-nine percent of registered voters surveyed in the six swing states said they disapprove of the job that Biden is doing as president. Meanwhile, 71% said Biden, who turns 81 later this month, is too old to be an effective president, and 62% said he lacks the mental sharpness needed.
Only 38% said they believe Trump, 77, is too old, and 54% said they think he is mentally sharp.
Likely voters said they trust Trump to do a better job than Biden on the economy (58%-38%), immigration (53%-42%) and national security (53-42%).
“The only good news for President Joe Biden in this New York Times/Siena College poll is that it was conducted a year before voters go to the polls,” Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute, said in a statement.
The Biden campaign did not respond to an email Monday from Spectrum News seeking comment about the poll. But campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz told The Times, “Our campaign is being built to win an election in November 2024 — not the next New York Times poll.”
On social media, other Biden campaign officials have been sharing remarks from prominent Democratic figures downplaying the survey's results.
But David Axelrod, the chief strategist behind former President Barack Obama’s campaigns, said the poll “will send tremors of doubt thru the party--not ‘bed-wetting,’ but legitimate concern.”
“Only @JoeBiden can make this decision,” Axelrod wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?"
The poll also found that if a “generic” Democrat faced Trump in a general election, the Democrat would be ahead in all six states — by seven to 12 points in five of them, and by three points in Nevada.
Last month, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination, citing previous polling showing tepid support for Biden, even among Democrats.
“I could offer no statement more powerful than the one made by suffering Americans in today’s NY Times poll,” Phillips wrote on X on Sunday.
“I’m saying the quiet part out loud,” he added. “Biden/Harris isn’t viable against Trump. I will defeat Trump. And we will make life affordable for Americans.”
While The New York Times-Siena poll was more favorable to Trump, there are signs of lukewarm support for him in a general election as well. In addition to trailing a generic Democrat, Trump’s negative favorability score (56% unfavorable, 42% favorable) is only slightly better than Biden’s (57% versus 41%).
The survey indicated that Trump’s four indictments, which include 91 felony charges, have not hurt him politically, but about 6% of voters across the six swing states said they’d switch their votes from Trump to Biden if Trump is convicted and sentenced.
Meanwhile, a plurality of voters — 41% — across the six states said they believe Trump is bad for democracy, while 31% said they believe he’s good for democracy. And 54%, including majorities in all six states, said Trump has committed serious federal crimes.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which include his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election while falsely claiming there was widespread fraud.
In addition, likely voters said they were more inclined to vote for former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley against Biden (47%-38%) than Trump and as likely to support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who leads Biden in the poll by the same three-point margin Trump does.
Swing-state voters also said they support a “generic” Republican over Biden 52%-36%.
Trump and his campaign have said little about The Times/Sienna poll beyond sharing the results in social media posts and emails. The former president did reference it Monday just before testifying in New York in his business’ civil fraud trial, as he tried to paint the case as part of a politically motivated pursuit to damage his campaign.
“I’m leading all over the place, but it’s a very unfair situation,” he said. “This is really election interference.”
The poll was conducted last week and interviewed 600 voters in each of the six battleground states.