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How Trump could lose his lead in the swing states

Trump leads Biden on the economy and immigration. Credit: Getty

March 3, 2024 - 1:00pm

Trump is leading Biden in the swing states that could determine the outcome of November’s election, according to a new Morning Consult poll via RCP

A few key issues, however, have the potential to hurt Trump in those states, where the voters he’s pursuing are more moderate than his GOP base. 

For example, about half of voters in swing states said they would be unwilling to vote for the presumptive GOP nominee if he’s convicted in any pending criminal cases, the poll found. These cases include allegations of mishandling classified documents, conspiracy to overthrow the results of the 2020 election, and hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. For comparison, a national poll found that only 32% of registered Republicans think Trump should not be the Republican nominee if convicted of a crime. 

Trump continues to lead Biden on the issues that are, by a wide margin, the most important to swing state voters: the economy and immigration. Two potential liabilities, however, could be improvements in voters’ perception of the economy or a significant border crackdown from Biden. As it stands, most Americans believe the economy is poor or only fair, most think it is getting worse or staying the same, and most blame the border crisis on Biden. But optimistic signs in the economy could be unwelcome news for the Republican hopeful, as could the president’s recent efforts to improve his image on immigration.

Aside from the two driving issues in this election, contentious social issues arguably pose a greater threat to Trump’s lead in swing states. The abortion issue has hurt the GOP electorally since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, a ruling Trump’s Supreme Court nominees were in-part responsible for. It’s unclear what this will mean for Trump in 2024. He supports legal abortion through 16 weeks of pregnancy, a limit favoured by about 45% of Americans, per YouGov; of the 36% of voters who oppose this limit, presumably most would not have voted for Trump in the first place. 

Yet even in North Carolina, perhaps the reddest swing state, abortion has become a potent issue that is expected to drive opponents of the state’s new abortion restriction to the ballots. Voters consistently rank abortion near the bottom of the list of important issues in influencing their vote, yet it nonetheless appears to be influencing voters. Similarly, as the GOP faces criticism over an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that allows IVF providers to be penalised for destroying human embryos, Trump has come out strongly in favour of IVF. 

In a race as close as this one, even a candidate projected to win every swing state can’t take victory for granted.


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
4 months ago

The other big factor is 3rd party Presential candidates. The recent Times’/Siena poll has Trump ahead by 4%, but 19% of voters disapprove of both candidates. If RFK jr, Stein, and West collectively get 10% of the vote in key states, Trump likely wins.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

I think it goes without saying that Trump’s lead could disappear by Election Day – for dozens of reasons.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It’s Not Just Who Votes, It’s Who Counts the Votes

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

Early to say, but I’m betting Trump wins.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
4 months ago

I’d say that’s a good bet. He won his last two elections.
Who becomes president next January is still up for grabs.

Marc Miller
Marc Miller
4 months ago

Voters have gotten used to the Trump accusations. It appears that the Supreme Court decisions will postpone the impact of these cases. Jack Smith cannot admit he’s in a hurry with his prosecutions because to do so shows he’s willing to violate DOJ rules on not affecting pending elections. Biden is only competitive because he is “not Trump” but this competitiveness is overwhelmed by his gross incompetence and the same by his “handlers,” whomever they are. Trum’p keeps gaining in the polls and the vote will be decided by swing voters. They are turning Trump’s way for now.

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
4 months ago

We seem so tin-pot where the party in power prosecutes the leader of the opposition, just before the election. They couldn’t file these charges in 2021?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

Technically, a giant meteor could crash into the earth between now and November rendering all this discussion moot. The election, whoever wins, probably won’t be quite that bad, but I have my doubts. I consider it a testament to how ugly our politics has gotten that I would probably have to get into the hypothetical specifics of how large the meteor and where it it vs. who won the election and whether/if one side or the other contested the result to make a definitive determination of which outcome is better.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
4 months ago

It is voting for Satan – (Biden) or St George – (Trump)

Biden vote = all the West becoming slaves to a technocracy, gulags, thought crime, money which does not spend for dissidents, the West utterly conquered by an invasion of Barbarians who sack and burn the lands.

A vote for Trump is a vote to fight this.

It all is down to this – do you vote Evil, or the side which will fight Evil.