The former US president holds an advantage over Joe Biden despite being viewed by a cohort of voters “corrupt,” a poll says
Former US President Donald Trump has nudged ahead of Democratic rival Joe Biden in a hypothetical matchup between the two candidates most likely to contest next year’s presidential election, according to the findings of a national poll
The survey, published on Saturday by the Wall Street Journal, shows Biden with the lowest approval rating of his near three-year presidency, echoing similar polls which show the legally embattled Trump gaining ground in his bid to return to the White House.
According to the WSJ, Trump leads Biden by four percentage points – 47% to 43% – the first time the former president has established a lead in a head-to-head race against his successor. The survey also found that the addition of a third-party candidate, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., further tilts the race in Trump’s favour, by a margin of 37% to 31%.
Biden, whose foreign policies have been brought into sharp focus by conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, has also seen his approval rating plummet in several key categories, the WSJ data shows. Just 23% of voters polled say that Biden’s policies have helped them personally – while 53% say they have been “hurt” by his presidential agenda.
By comparison, roughly half of respondents said that they were personally helped by Trump’s policies during his four-year stint in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, Biden’s overall job performance polled at a record low for the WSJ at 37% – while a record high, 61%, view the president in an overall unfavorable light.
The findings of the poll, which comes less than 11 months before voters cast their ballots in November 2024, echoes concerns in some Democratic circles about Biden’s electability. The incumbent president would be 81 on election day and 86 by the time a second term ends, and his advancing age and speculation about his deteriorating mental capacity have been highlighted by the 77-year-old Trump.
According to pollster Michael Bocian, Biden is falling short with groups who traditionally hold support for Democrats, including young, black and Latino voters. “They are feeling economically stressed and challenged right now,” Bocian told the WSJ. “And they are not showing enthusiasm in the way they were in 2020 and 2022.”
He added, though, that a lot can change between now and next November, and that a reestablishment of the Biden electoral coalition “is eminently doable.”
In a glimmer of hope for Democrats, Trump’s cascading legal woes appear to be his achilles heel. The WSJ poll suggests that Biden is viewed as the more “honest” candidate compared to Trump, whom a majority view as “corrupt.” A felony conviction for Trump – who faces 91 charges in four separate ongoing prosecutions – would dramatically shift the polling landscape and hand Biden a one point advantage, the poll also says.