Fox News Poll: Trump has edge over Biden in potential 2024 rematch

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With eight months until Election Day, former President Trump carries voters who say either the economy or immigration is their priority voting issue, and this edge on the top two issues gives the Republican frontrunner a 2-point advantage over current President Biden in a hypothetical general election matchup. The poll also shows Nikki Haley, Trump’s last-standing Republican primary challenger, with an 8-point lead over Biden.

Additionally, third-party candidates continue to draw from each major party candidate in possible 5-way ballots.

That’s according to the latest Fox News Poll released Sunday.

In a potential rematch, the survey finds Trump receives 49% support while Biden gets 47%.  That’s pretty much where it’s been since September.  Trump’s advantage is within the margin of sampling error.

Biden was ahead in August by 3 points, the first time the 2024 matchup was tested (44% Biden, 41% Trump), and by one point in October (49%-48%) – both times within the margin of error.

Trump’s advantage comes from record or near-record support among key Democratic groups, while maintaining strong support among his own constituencies.

For instance, 28% of Black voters support Trump in the head-to-head against Biden, 7 times as many as supported him four years ago (4% in February 2020).  In addition, Trump has significant support among voters under age 30 (51%) and Democrats (8%), with near-record support among Hispanics (48%) and suburban women (43%).

Some of Trump’s strongest groups are White evangelical Christians (68%), White men without a college degree (64%), and rural voters (60%), while for Biden it’s Black voters (66%), urban voters (59%), and college graduates (57%).

Democrats (90% Biden) and Republicans (92% Trump) don’t stray far from their homebase, while independents go for Biden by 8 points (within the margin of error).  

‘The focus for many will be on Trump’s advantage, but his support hasn’t wavered much since late fall,’ says Republican Daron Shaw who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. ‘The more interesting question is whether Biden can resurrect his standing among African Americans, Hispanics, and younger voters, and boost his edge with independents.’

Haley fares better than Trump against Biden, receiving 50% to Biden’s 42% for an 8-point lead. That’s outside the margin of error.  Like Trump, the only time Biden has bested Haley was in August 2023 (42% Biden, 36% Haley).

Haley’s standing against Biden is better than Trump’s among independents, college graduates, suburban women, and Democrats. Among independents, she’s ahead of Biden by 15 points compared to Biden’s 8-point advantage against Trump. 

In a potential 5-way race, Trump (41%) remains ahead of Biden (38%), with both losing support to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (13%), Cornel West (3%), and Jill Stein (2%).

The 5-way is less favorable for Haley, as she loses her lead to Biden and barely edges out Kennedy: 35% Biden, 28% Haley, 24% Kennedy, 5% West, and 2% Stein.

Haley’s woes come from a split among Trump supporters and MAGA Republicans.  Only 45% of Trump supporters back Haley, while 38% back Kennedy. It’s a similar story among MAGA supporters, as 49% of them go for Haley and 37% for Kennedy.

Kennedy’s strong showing in the ballot with Biden and Haley is due in part to independents, as he gets 29% of them against Biden (25%) and Trump (24%) and 34% against Biden (20%) and Haley (22%).

It doesn’t help Haley that her favorable ratings are underwater by 14 points (37% favorable, 51% unfavorable).  

A large part of Biden’s success in 2020 was that he had a considerable favorability advantage over Trump, but that has disappeared. His favorable rating went from being net positive by 4 points in February 2020 to net negative by 18 points today.  But Trump’s ratings have only shifted a few points, from -11 to -14 today.

‘In an election year where the two major party candidates are both viewed so negatively, RFK Jr. has the potential to tip the scale, but it’s unclear in which direction,’ says Anderson.

When voters are asked what issue will be most important when deciding their vote, almost 4 in 10 say the economy (37%). Also receiving double-digits are two other hot topics: immigration (21%) and abortion (10%).  All others get single digits: health care (7%), election integrity (5%), climate change, crime, foreign policy, and guns receive 4% apiece. 

Economy voters back Trump by a 14-point margin.  Among abortion voters, Biden beats Trump handily (+56 points), while immigration voters resoundingly go for Trump (+70).  

The top issue among Democrats and independents is the economy, while Republicans split between the economy and immigration. 

Almost 8 in 10 voters say the situation at the southern border is either a major problem (37%) or an emergency (41%) and that Congress deserves a great deal (52%) or some (29%) of the blame for no action.  Fewer, though still 7 in 10, say the Biden administration’s lack of enforcement is the cause for the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border (47% a great deal, 25% some).

Biden and Trump made separate visits to the southern border on Thursday, after the poll was conducted.  

Immigration is Biden’s worst issue tested: 31% approve vs. 66% disapprove.  He does slightly better (though he remains considerably underwater) on the Israel-Hamas war (31-65%), inflation (34-65%), China (35-61%) and the economy (37-62%)   

Overall, 42% approve of the job Biden is doing and 58% disapprove, which is about where the results were in December, but is far below where he was near the start of his term (54% approve-43% disapprove in April 2021).

Compared to where recent former presidents were at this time in their presidency, Biden’s 42% job approval is below his predecessors. At the start of their re-election years, Trump was at 45% approval in 2020, Obama 45% in 2012, and Bush 53% in 2004. Trump is the only incumbent who wasn’t re-elected. 

In hindsight, voters are almost twice as likely to say Trump’s policies helped (45%) their family during his presidency than say Biden’s are helping them now (25%).  

In May 2019, only 32% said Trump’s policies helped them. Yet when looking back at that time, 45% now say they helped. That increase comes not only from a 12-point surge among Republicans, but from his ‘helped’ numbers doubling among Democrats (+8) and independents (+15) from four years ago.

Meanwhile, just a quarter of voters today feel Biden’s policies are helping them, as almost half say they are hurting (48%) and another quarter (27%) say they don’t make a difference.

Some voters question Biden’s and Trump’s motives. Majorities think each is doing what’s best for themselves rather than what’s best for the country:  51% say Biden is in it for himself, while 57% say the same for Trump. 

Both Biden’s and Trump’s mental soundness have been questioned this election cycle, and while Americans have concerns about both candidates, it is hurting Biden more than Trump. Some 47% say Trump has the mental soundness to serve as president, which is 10 points better than the 37% who say Biden is up to the job.

When it comes to honesty, the opposite is true: by 7 points, more voters say Biden is honest and trustworthy (43%) than they do Trump (36%).  Still, majorities think they are both dishonest.

‘An election between two candidates who can’t break 50% on honesty and where majorities think they’re not prioritizing the country is a depressing prospect,’ says Anderson.

A couple more things…

Vice President Harris’s numbers fared the worst in the favorable ratings test, with a negative 23-point rating (37% favorable, 60% unfavorable). 

Over half, 54%, think the legal charges against Trump are legitimate attempts to investigate important issues, including majorities of Democrats (86%) and independents (64%) as well as about 2 in 10 Republicans (19%).  Overall, 45% say these charges are politically motivated.

When it comes to impeachment proceedings against Biden, 45% say they’re legitimate vs. 52% bogus. Majorities of Democrats (84%) and independents (57%) call them bogus while most Republicans (79%) say they’re legitimate. 

Conducted Feb. 25-28, 2024, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with a sample of 1,262 registered voters (RV) nationwide randomly selected from a national voter file. Respondents spoke with live interviewers on landlines (134) and cellphones (797) or completed the survey online after receiving a text message (331). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of ± 2.5 percentage points. Weights are generally applied to age, race, education, and area variables to ensure the demographics of survey respondents are representative of the registered voter population.

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