Former President Donald Trump continues to face legal charges on his return path to the presidency, while current President Joe Biden carries his age, fading mental acuity, and charges of corruption as he seeks a second term. So who has the edge now in the head-to-head electoral matchup for 2024? Thanks to solid independent voter backing, Trump still edges out Biden, the latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows.
Trump wins 43% of the overall vote, while Biden gets 41% in the national online I&I/TIPP Poll, taken from Jan. 31-Feb. 2, with 1,266 registered voters participating. The poll has an overall +/-2.8 percentage-point margin of error.
The results for the two major parties are predictably partisan, with Democrats favoring Biden over Trump 80% to 7%, while Republicans give Trump the nod 86% to 5% over Biden. However, once again, independent voters prefer Trump over Biden by 41% to 35%, while 13% wanted “other.”
As I&I noted last month, the independent vote will be crucial for both candidates, this year more than ever.
Why? Independents now make up a hefty plurality of 43% of all registered voters, according to recent data from Gallup, with both the GOP and Democrats at just 27% each. The share of people calling themselves “independent” was tied for a record high, while Democrat ID was at an all-time low.
However, the picture changes somewhat when all voters are asked which way they “lean,” Democrat or Republican. Then the answer is: 45% Republican, 43% Democrat. Edge, again, to the Republicans.
So both parties will have to focus not just on motivating their own voters, but in getting the increasingly sizable independent vote motivated as well. Right now the share of independents saying “other” (13%) or they’re “not sure” (10%) totals nearly a quarter of the entire independent vote. So neither party can take them for granted.
Yet, as it is now, both presidential hopefuls hold commanding primary leads in their respective parties with just nine months to the 2024 election, the I&I/TIPP Poll shows.
Start with the Democrats. With the nomination still up in the air, I&I/TIPP asked the 542 Democrats who answered the poll: “If the Democratic primary were held today and the following are the candidates, whom would you vote for?”
It wasn’t close.
Biden won 70% support over his two announced challengers, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (3%) and author, politician and activist Marianne Williamson (5%). “Someone else” won 4%, while “not sure” got a much-larger 17%, perhaps suggesting concerns about Biden among one-in-five Democrat voters.
So is it over among the Democrats? Not really. Given Biden’s record-low job-approval reflects his status as one of the least popular leaders in modern presidential history, it’s not certain he’ll make it to the election.
Rumors and open speculation that Biden might drop out or even be nudged out by concerned Democratic officials have circulated in Washington for months. What if his clear issues with age, mental clarity and expanding corruption allegations push Biden to drop out in mid-course and instead retire with First Lady Jill to his beloved Rehoboth, De., beach house?
Meanwhile, Trump, like Biden, holds a huge lead among what remains of the once sizable bunch of Republican challengers. Trump gets 74% of the GOP vote, compared to former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s 17%.
With a 57 percentage-point lead over his nearest competition, Trump’s biggest campaign challenge may well be staying out of prison on any of the four indictments he has faced since last year.
A more intriguing question might be how would Trump and Biden do with a full slate of third-party and independent candidates siphoning off votes?
We asked just that, listing both Trump and Biden as candidates, along with independent lawyer and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., former Harvard Professor Cornell West, Green Party standard bearer Jill Stein, Libertarian Party activist Lars Mapstead, and No-Labels Party front man and current West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.
As ordered immediately above, Trump gets 40%, Biden 34%, Kennedy 8%, West 2%, Stein and Mapstead 1% each, Manchin 3% and “other” (2%) and “not sure” 10%.
All told, all combinations of possible third-party candidates take home just 17% of the vote. And plainly, while they do take some support from Trump, Biden gets hurt worst, losing 7% of his votes compared to just 3% for Trump.
So, as it stands, Trump has a current edge over Biden, but his two percentage point advantage remains within the margin of error.
And no doubt Trump’s advisers are worried over a just-released Morning Consult Poll that reported “if Donald Trump were to be convicted of one of the 91 charges he’s facing, he would lose 51% of his support. And if he were sentenced to prison, the number goes up to 55%.”
(Note: In a December I&I/TIPP Poll, 72% of Trump’s GOP supporters said they would still vote for him if he were convicted.)
Right now, Biden’s dealing with serious political issues, including an abysmal 37% job approval rating, due largely to the massive influx of illegal entrants across the U.S. border, and what has been called a “stunning” NBC Poll showing Biden trailing Trump by five percentage points overall.
The data look even worse once they’re broken out. Newsmax writes:
Former President Donald Trump not only leads Biden by 5 points (47%-42%) in the national poll, but also leads by big margins:
- 23 points on mental and physical health to be president (46%-23%)
- 22 points on handling the economy (55%-33%)
- 21 points on dealing with crime and violence (50%-29%)
- 16 points on being competent and effective (48%-32%)
- 11 points on improving America’s standing in the world (47%-36%)
- 35 points on securing the southern border (57%-22%)
Barring an unexpected surge by a third-party candidate, for the time being it looks like it’s all Biden vs. Trump. And right now, clearly, Trump has the edge.
I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique, and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.
Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.
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Geopolitics, Geoeconomics, And More
Benjamin Netanyahu says in an interview that the Israeli military will provide “safe passage for the civilian population” ahead of an expected assault on the overcrowded southern Gaza city of Rafah, rejecting fears of a “catastrophe.”
Despite international alarm over the potential carnage in a city crammed with more than a million displaced Palestinians, the Israeli prime minister said the offensive is key to crushing Hamas.
Predawn Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza city of Rafah killed “around 100” people on Monday, the territory’s health ministry said in a statement.
The statement revised upward the ministry’s earlier toll of 52 people killed in the strikes on the city along the Egyptian border.
The Israeli military said that two hostages taken by Hamas during the October 7 terror attacks were freed during an overnight operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
Around 130 hostages are believed to still be held by Hamas.
The Ukrainian military described the situation along the war’s frontlines in the east and south as difficult late Saturday, with the Ukrainian army repulsing 87 attempted attacks by Russian forces over the day.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate passed a key procedural vote on a contentious bill that secured $95 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine and Israel. It includes $60.1 billion to help Kyiv in its war against Russia and $14.1 billion to Israel for its war against Hamas.
The European Union is preparing to sanction military and tech firms from China, Kazakhstan, Serbia, and other countries helping Russia’s war effort, according to a document seen by RFE/RL.
Russia has overcome sweeping EU and U.S. technology sanctions aimed at stifling its military-industrial complex by rerouting crucial goods like microprocessors through friendly third nations, such as China.
Japan will pledge 15.8 billion yen ($106 million) in aid to support the reconstruction of Ukraine from war damage in seven fields, such as infrastructure rebuilding and demining, sources familiar with the matter said.
The two countries’ governments are expected to agree on Japan’s involvement in the European nation’s post-war reconstruction and sign more than ten memorandums of cooperation at the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Reconstruction slated for Feb. 19 in Tokyo.
As the latest phase of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption crackdown cuts through high-level banking and the elite nuclear rocket force, some have questioned when it might end.
The short answer: it won’t. It has become a central plank of the system of governance for China’s leader. And, because the anti-corruption drive has been used to remove anyone with even the slightest hint of a tendency to divert from his way of doing things, Mr. Xi is sometimes characterized as an out-of-control Stalin-like figure purging left, right, and center without good cause.
Although China became the world’s top auto exporter in 2023, its presence in Europe remains relatively small. Transportation bottlenecks have held them back.
To bypass this problem, Chinese EV manufacturer BYD plans to secure eight RORO vessels within two years, each capable of carrying 7,000 EV units, for its exclusive use.
BYD Explorer No. 1, carrying more than 5,000 EVs, is already on a voyage and will call on ports in the Netherlands and Germany later this month. Rival automaker SAIC Motor ordered its vessel that set sail for Europe in January.
North Korean eyelashes exported to China are repackaged and sold worldwide in possible violation of sanctions. Consumers who buy them may be indirectly funding North Korea’s missile program.
“North Korean trading companies produce artificial eyelashes using raw materials imported from Chinese companies,” the trader told RFA Korean. “Then they sell them back to companies in China. North Korean workers receive 1 Chinese yuan (14 U.S. cents) for every three artificial eyelash products they make.”
During a ministerial meeting held amid China’s growing influence, Japan and Pacific island nations expressed their strong opposition to any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion.
During the meeting in the Fijian capital, Suva, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said she agreed with her counterparts from the 18 members of the Pacific Islands Forum on the importance of the “international rules-based order” while pledging continued support to the strategically important region.
The new president will have a central role in defining Finland’s NATO policies amid growing security concerns about Russia.
Former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has won the election runoff against ex-Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto to become Finland’s next president and take on the task of steering the Nordic country’s foreign and security policy now that it is a member of NATO.
With all votes counted on Sunday, the center-right Stubb of the National Coalition Party had 51.6 percent of the votes, while independent candidate Haavisto from the green left got 48.4 percent of the votes. Initial voter turnout was 70.7 percent.
Donald Trump’s suggestion the U.S. would not protect NATO allies by failing to spend enough on defense “undermines all of our security,” the Western military alliance’s chief has said.
Jens Stoltenberg also suggested it put U.S. and European troops at greater risk.
The Republican said he had told allies he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO member that failed to meet the alliance’s target of 2% of their GDP. Members of NATO commit to defend any nation in the bloc that gets attacked.
North Korea appears to be setting its sights on Fourth Industrial Revolution technology, such as artificial intelligence, to explore ways to expand its applications.
However, the isolated nation may also attempt to use Fourth Industrial Revolution technology for military purposes.
The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s main newspaper, reported that global competition for science and technology has intensified, citing efforts to apply AI to education and the increased use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology.
14. Dubai’s World Government Summit: UAE Minister Says $17 Trillion Spent On War A Year – Al Arabiya
Mohammed Abdullah al-Gergawi, the UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and World Government Summit (WGS) chairman said $17 trillion is the cost of disputes, conflicts, and violence worldwide in just one year.
“This was not invested in construction, education, and health, but in wars, sabotage, and destruction,” he said in Dubai during the opening session of WGS 2024.
He pointed out that 50 percent of global growth comes from China and India alone – two countries that will shape the future of global economic growth.
In a recent address at the Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva highlighted concerns over the sluggish growth of West Asia economies.
Last month, the IMF’s regional economic report for West Asia and North Africa downgraded GDP growth forecasts to 2.9 percent for the year, citing short-term oil production cuts and the conflict in Gaza as significant factors.
16. Physical Activity Is Insufficient To Counter Cardiovascular Risk Associated With Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption – Université Laval
Contrary to popular belief, the benefits of physical activity do not outweigh the risks of cardiovascular disease associated with drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, according to a new study.
Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, professor at Université Laval’s Faculty of Pharmacy, was a co-author of the study says:
The marketing strategies for these drinks often show active people drinking these beverages. It suggests that sugary drink consumption has no negative effects on health if you’re physically active. Our research aimed to assess this hypothesis.
Replacing sugar-sweetened beverages by diet drinks is good, because it reduces the amount of sugar. But the best drink option remains water.
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Republished with permission from TIPP Insights