Biden’s weak coalition and Trump’s clash with moderates: AP data shows challenges for candidates

Washington: President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have secured their party’s presidential nomination, setting up a rematch of the 2020 election.

While both men were successful in the primary season, their path to victory will be more difficult in November.

An analysis of survey data from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and AP VoteCast highlights the two men’s electoral challenges as they face off for a second contest. Polls taken during Biden’s term reveal a widespread sense of disappointment with Biden’s performance as president, even among some of his staunchest supporters, including black adults. This is a sign that his winning coalition may be weakening and, as a result, Biden will need to work to generate excitement about his candidacy among his own base as well as among the moderates who voted for him to victory in 2020. Helped to inspire.

Meanwhile, Trump, who has consistently struggled to broaden his appeal beyond his base, won his party’s nomination with limited support from moderates and independents. That deficit wasn’t an issue for conservative GOP primary voters, but it could become a bigger problem as Trump looks ahead to November when these voters could play a key role in deciding the election.

The Democratic coalition that sent Biden to the White House came with high expectations about his presidency — which may have been a double-edged sword. AP-NORC polling shows that three years after Biden took office, the share of American adults who approve of the way he is handling his job as president has fallen by more than 20 percentage points since early 2021. From 61% last month it has increased to 38%.

Nearly all Democrats, 97%, approved of Biden’s job performance in an AP-NORC survey conducted in February 2021. This has now dropped to 74%, with the rating falling even further when it comes to immigration and the handling of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. , And that includes substantial erosion in some of Biden’s most important constituencies. Only half of Black adults have approved of Biden’s job performance in recent months, down from 94% at the start of 2021 — a steep decline in satisfaction among the cornerstone of the Democratic coalition.

Biden’s approval ratings among Hispanic adults, independents, young adults and moderates also declined by at least 20 percentage points. He is now in the water among all four groups, according to last month’s AP-NORC survey.

The economy has been a particular thorn for Biden since 2022, when inflation reached a 40-year high. Widespread dissatisfaction over rising prices is reflected in Biden’s approval regarding the economy: Only 34% approved in the latest AP-NORC poll, down from 55% in February 2021. An AP-NORC poll released last month found that 57% of American adults think the national economy has gotten worse since Biden took office.

Although Trump won landslide victories in nearly every state, conservative Republican primary voters are very different from the broader range of voters Trump will try to win over in November.

In contrast to Biden’s struggle with falling approval, Trump’s challenge as president had an approval rating that started low and remained low, with the bulk of his support coming from his Republican base. His post-presidency favorability ratings have been similarly sticky: 36% of American adults had a favorable view of Trump in January 2021, essentially unchanged from the most recent February poll. And despite Biden’s apparent weakness with black and Hispanic adults, only about one-quarter of black adults and about 4 in 10 Hispanic adults held a favorable view of Trump in February, which may make it harder for him to capitalize on those potential shortcomings. .

There are serious risks for Trump if he cannot extend his appeal beyond his Republican base this time. He lost liberals to Biden in 2020, and there continue to be signs of trouble for Trump among these voters in the first head-to-head Republican contests.

According to VoteCast surveys of the 2024 Republican primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Trump won only 3 out of 10 independent candidates in each state. His support from moderate Republicans was slightly higher but still significantly low: between 46% and 51% of this group supported him in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Those groups were more skeptical than conservative Republicans (who overwhelmingly supported Trump in all three states) about Trump’s ability to win the general election or to govern as president. Nearly 6 in 10 moderate Republicans in New Hampshire and South Carolina were concerned that Trump is too extreme to win the general election, while 4 in 10 moderate Republicans in South Carolina said Trump has the ability to govern effectively as president. Don’t have the mental capacity to do it.

Trump may have his best chance with white, liberal voters without college degrees. Those voters represent one of Trump’s primary constituencies — but he split this group among voters who identify as moderates by a margin of 48% to 50% in the last election. Biden’s past appeal to moderates of all backgrounds could create problems for Trump.

A significant portion of centrist Republicans have also indicated that they would be unwilling to vote for Trump in the general election. In early polls, 29% to 37% of Republican moderates said they would not vote for Trump if he became the nominee.

But while liberals make up a relatively small share of GOP voters, they are important in the general election. Nearly one-third of voters in the 2020 election identified as moderate. About half of those liberal voters identify as Democrats, while about a third are Republicans.

And Trump now has less than a year to win over a group of voters who were less inclined to support him in 2020. According to 2020 AP VoteCast surveys, 62% of moderate voters supported Biden, while only a third, or 36%, voted for Trump.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – The Associated Press)