About That Monmouth Poll on the Trump-Biden Rematch

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This week, Monmouth University released a new poll, and its results were quite interesting, to say the least. The most notable part of the poll was the inclusion of a generic third-party ticket, as well as a potential ticket featuring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) with former Utah Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman. Of course, Manchin has not declared his candidacy, and it’s entirely theoretical, but the results were nevertheless illuminating.

First, the poll found that 46% of registered voters would “definitely not” vote for Biden, while 50% would “definitely not” vote for Trump. Biden’s numbers aren’t anything to brag about, but it is quite bizarre to see a sitting president who in the same poll has a 52% disapproval rating performing better than Trump on this question. Biden also has better numbers among voters who say they would “definitely” or “probably” vote for him. Biden comes in at 47%, while Trump comes in a 40%.

Something just doesn’t quite add up, especially given Biden’s negatives on the economy. To say that they are bad is an understatement. He is underwater on jobs and unemployment and devastating on inflation. “The president has been touting ‘Bidenomics,’ but the needle of public opinion has not really moved. Americans are just not giving him a lot of credit when it comes to the economy,” explained Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

So how can Biden be edging out Trump in this poll? Well, the driving factor behind the match-up results is likely due to the fact that as low as Biden’s favorability ratings are, Trump’s are worse. Biden has a 43% favorability rating, compared to 36% for Trump. Trump’s -27% net-negative favorability is the lowest in the poll’s history.

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As for a potential third-party ticket, the poll finds that a third-party ticket would actually hurt Trump more than Biden.

“When a generic bipartisan ticket is offered as an alternative, Biden’s support drops from 47% to 37% and Trump’s support falls from 40% to 28%. With a Manchin/Huntsman ticket as the alternative, Biden’s support drops from 47% to 40% and Trump’s support falls from 40% to 34%,” the poll write-up explains. “Interestingly, among the 13% of voters who say they will vote for neither Trump nor Biden, most say they will vote for a generic third-party ticket (9% move from neither to the third party), but that support largely disappears when the ticket is specifically named as Manchin and Huntsman (only 4% move from neither to the third party).”

A few problems I have with the poll is that it seems really unlikely to me that a sitting president with approval ratings underwater wouldn’t lose more support to a third-party candidate. With the economy the way it is, the 2024 election with Biden on the ticket is a referendum on his job performance, and all indicators suggest that Americans aren’t happy with the way Biden has done his job.

Polls also show that a majority of Americans believe that Biden is too old and incapable of serving a second term. As the saying goes, “It’s the economy, stupid,” so the 2024 election should be a referendum on Biden and his poor performance with the economy. Unfortunately, what this poll tells us is that having Trump as the GOP nominee takes that out of the equation.

On Friday, Trump’s own pollsters, Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research, found that Trump struggles to win the support of independent voters over Biden and that Ron DeSantis performs better with independents against Biden. This is the political reality that many hardcore Trump supporters who are backing DeSantis this year acknowledge.

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