Thursday, February 22, 2024


Joe Biden leads the presidential race by 4, according to a new Quinnipiac poll:
In a hypothetical 2024 general election presidential matchup, President Joe Biden holds a small lead over former President Donald Trump with 49 percent of registered voters supporting Biden and 45 percent supporting Trump, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University national poll of registered voters released today.
Quinnipiac has been Biden's best poll recently -- he led by 6 in a survey the firm released last month.

Biden has a 1-point lead in a multi-candidate race:
When the hypothetical matchup is expanded to include independent and Green Party candidates, Biden receives 38 percent support, Trump receives 37 percent support, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. receives 15 percent support, independent candidate Cornel West receives 3 percent support, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein receives 3 percent support.
Quinnipiac is an outlier -- apart from the firm's two 2024 surveys, every other poll released this year has Trump in the lead, is a tie, or has Biden up by 1. In most of these polls, Trump is in the lead. But Quinnipiac might be right! Polls have been underestimating the Democrats' strength in most elections since 2020.

But there are some unsettling numbers here. Yes, this is just one poll, but if it's accurate, it's more evidence that the Democrats' grip on younger voters is slipping. The two-candidate race is effectively even in every under-65 age group, though Biden has a small lead in every non-senior age category. Biden leads by 4 because of a double-digit lead among seniors:

Now look at the five-candidate race:

Trump has a tiny lead in the under-50 age categories -- and the minor-party vote explodes: 36% of 18-to-34-year-olds say they're going to vote for Kennedy, West, or Stein, more than the percentage who say they'll vote for Biden or Trump. The minor-party vote is 25% in the 35-to-49 group, 19% in the 50-to-64 group, and only 13% in the senior group.

If this is correct, the youngest voters hate the two-party system, or at least the two major-party candidates they've been offered. And although polling tends to overestimate minor-party voting, there'll be a double-digit minor-party vote among the young even if this number is three times the actual minor-party number in November.

I don't believe Cornel West will be on any ballots in November -- as Forbes reported in December, West is effectively broke and running an underfunded, understaffed campaign. I have my doubts about Kennedy, too, after reading Mediaite's report on wasteful spending in his campaign. So if neither of these candidates is on most state ballots (and if No Labels doesn't run a candidate, which appears more and more likely), will disgruntled young people vote in surprising numbers for Jill Stein? Will they refuse to vote? Will they conclude that Trump isn't the staus quo and Biden is, so voting for Trump is kinda-sorta like voting for Bernie? Or will they come home to Biden? It'll be some combination of those, but I don't know the proportions.

Here's another weird result: Biden loses to Nikki Haley 46%-43% -- but if the minor-party candidates are included, Biden beats Haley in a blowout, 35%-27%. How does that happen? Here are the numbers by party:

Haley gets only 56% of the Republican vote! Kennedy gets 30%! I keep telling you that her fight with Trump has made Haley quite unpopular among Republicans -- right now, her favorable rating among GOP respondents is only 43.3%, with a 37.8% unfavorable rating, according to FiveThirtyEight's average. In the Quinnipiac poll, her favorable and unfavorable numbers among Republicans are 42%/32%. Kennedy's numbers among Republicans are 40%/17%. His net favorable rating among Republicans is much higher than hers. (For comparison, Biden's favorable/unfavorable numbers among Democrats are 83%/16%. Among Republicans, Trump's numbers are 87%/13%.)

That five-candidate race is highly unlikely -- but if it happened, Haley and Kennedy would split the anti-Biden vote, and Biden would cruise to victory. (Another fun fact: Kennedy wins among independents by double digits.)

Again, this is just one poll. But there are some strange numbers in it.

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