PAF in Newsweek: Donald Trump’s Polling Lead Could Be Masking a Real Problem

Donald Trump‘s polling lead over President Joe Biden could be masking a problem his campaign faces.

Even though the general election is expected to be a tight race between Trump and Biden, the presumptive Republican nominee has been seeing good news out of both national polls and surveys in battleground states. But those numbers carry a warning sign with them: Trump’s lead is within the margin of error.

In a head-to-head matchup, the former president leads over his Democratic opponent by 2 points, 44 percent to 42 percent, according to a YouGov poll conducted last week. Trump is also ahead in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to Fox News and Quinnipiac University polls from this month.

Trump’s advantage in all these polls is within the margin of error, meaning that there’s still room for Biden to perform better in an actual election.

Biden also had a strong week in some polls, after national surveys from Reuters/Ipsos, Civiqs/Daily Kos and the Democratic super PAC Progress Action fund all showed him with a single-point advantage over Trump. Once again, the lead in these polls—although held by Biden this time—was within the margin of error.

Trump and Biden share another polling trend. Neither candidate has been able to boost public opinion about their campaigns, even after major events like Trump’s January victories, when he won Iowa and New Hampshire, or Biden’s State of the Union address earlier this month.

Even as Democrats praised the 81-year-old president for his high-energy performance, surveys show that his speech did little to improve his approval ratings, which have remain stagnantly low, hovering under 40 percent.

Trump’s approval, on the other hand, while still underwater, has managed to have a higher net favorability rating than Biden for seven consecutive weeks, according to Morning Consult’s polling tracker. Biden’s net favorability has only surpassed Trump’s once since late September.

The pollsters found the two men tied with 43 percent support each in their Monday update. However, Trump did better among independents, with 37 percent support to Biden’s 32 percent. Each candidate also retained the majority of their 2020 voters. Nearly 90 percent of those who backed Trump in the last election would vote for him again in November, while 83 percent of Biden 2020 voters said the same of the Democrat.

“While Trump consistently led Biden during most of the first two months of 2024, the race has narrowed in recent weeks,” Morning Consult’s Cameron Easley and Eli Yokley said.

By Katherine Fung

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