In a poll conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post between 15–20 September and released on 24 September, Former President Donald Trump leads incumbent President Joe Biden by ten percentage points. 52 per cent of the 890 registered voters surveyed said they would vote for President Trump in next year’s US presidential election, while 42 per cent said they would vote for President Biden.
Evidently, such a margin in the popular vote is extremely unlikely in the 2024 election. However, two major news brands, ABC News and The Washington Post, putting out a poll like this very much bolsters the public perception of Donald Trump being the frontrunner.
In the 2022 midterms, Republicans underperformed even mainstream media expectations—while they did win the House popular vote by 2.8 per cent and regained the majority in the House, they ended up losing two governorships and a seat in the Senate (where they remained in the minority).
However, the national popular vote polling in RealClearPolitics’s average proved to be extremely accurate in 2022, showing Republicans up 2.5 points on election day, 0.3 below what they actually ended up getting. In the same polling aggregate by RCP, Trump is currently up 1.1 percentage points.
Furthermore, that aggregate tends to underestimate Republicans when Donald Trump is on the ballot by a bigger margin.
In 2016, it showed Hillary Clinton up by 3.2 points on election day—she ended up winning the popular vote by 2.1 per cent, while losing the electoral vote and thus, the election. In 2020, Joe Biden’s lead over Trump was measured at 7.2 percentage points, while the actual difference was 4.5 points. So,
in the last two presidential elections, the RCP aggregate underestimated Donald Trump’s performance by 1.1 points and 2.7 points, respectively.
Since the release of the the ABC/WaPo poll, another survey by The Economist and YouGov has also been published which shows Biden up by five points. Both of these results are outliers. However, the latter was conducted by a self-proclaimed left-learning organization, oversampling Democrats 46–41 over Republicans, and still it showed Trump up by seven points among independent voters.
It is interesting to note that President Trump has seen a big bump in his poll numbers ever since his mugshot was released by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in August.
Can Donald Trump Win in 2024?
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary has stated multiple times in the past that he would like to see President Trump return to the White House. He even went as far as saying that bringing back Trump is ‘the only way out of the war’, referring to the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war.
But what are the chances of him actually winning?
As we wrote above, traditional models and predictions proved to be very off in 2022. However, that may have a procedural reason behind it. The coronavirus pandemic changed the voting rules in many states, expanding early voting periods and relaxing the qualifications for mail-in ballots.
The Democratic Party has embraced these new opportunities, doing their best to maximize what’s been dubbed as ‘ballot harvesting’. Meanwhile, Republicans, in an effort spearheaded by President Donald Trump, have urged their supporters to stick to the traditional election-day, in-person voting. In states where the Republicans also engaged in ballot harvesting methods, namely in California and New York, they did perform very well in 2022, gaining seats in the House and shifting the popular vote in their favour by over ten points in both states compared to the 2020 presidential election.
After the midterm disappointment, President Trump has changed his tone on early and mail-in voting, and some party leaders have vowed to make real efforts in harvesting as well.
Virginia, a blue-leaning state, has State Senate and State House elections this November. In a turn of events, Republicans are leading in early voting there, which may be a very good sign for them for 2024.