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This week, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump clinched the nominations to be their respective party's nominees. But 2024 could be a very different electoral landscape than 2020. In this episode, we talk to a Polster about what we learned from Super Tuesday's results, as well as what trends to watch as the election approaches. I'm Georgia Howe with Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief, John Bickley. It's Sunday, March 17th, and this is an extra edition of Morning Wire. Joining us to discuss the state of the 2024 presidential election is Signal Polster, Brent Buchana. Brent, thanks for coming on.


Hey, how are you?


Good. So first off, Super Tuesday is over. We're officially down to a 2020 rematch. How are voters evaluating these two candidates that they've already seen before? What do you think?


It's a very different election in '24 compared to '20, because in 2020, we had a pandemic. Donald Trump was the incumbent and had his record to run on that out. Pre-pandemic was actually a pretty darn good record that voters liked, and Biden got to hide in the basement. So the election was basically Trump and verse himself. I think this upcoming election, assuming the Democrats don't swap out Biden now that Trump has the nomination, is going to look a lot more like 2016, where Trump gets to play the insurgent. That is a role that he is much better at than incumbent.


What are some things that we learned from Super Tuesday and some of the results since?


I live in Arlington, Virginia, which for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is just right across the river from Washington, DC. It is as progressive and borderline Communist as one would I think, and I was shocked at how many people were at my precinct polling Republican primary ballots. I've never walked in that precinct before and heard somebody else ask for a Republican primary ballot but me. I think if you look at the election results, I think Haley won Arlington County, something like 75, 25 against Trump. Much of what we've seen in Haley's, quote, strength, which I wouldn't say getting to a third in an election is a whole lot of strength, is simply Democrat over in states that allow it. If this primary election were just for Republicans, I think Donald Trump would have trounced her much sooner, and he would have trounced her by significantly more margin. So this narrative that Donald Trump has a weakness. These rich suburban voters who came out to support Nikki Haley, they're never going to support Donald Trump in a general election, and they probably voted for Biden in 2020. So I think that's complete bunk to say that there's this third of Republican voters who are going to give Donald Trump a problem.


I think what is a bigger problem is go look at Minnesota. And you had some places where committed or anybody not named Joe Biden in the Democrat primary received almost 50 %. What did those areas have in common? Muslim voters. I think Joe Biden has a bigger problem in states that matter than Trump might have in states.


Now, you've brought up Minnesota. I know there was some weakness for Biden there, as well as North Carolina and Massachusetts. Did anything else stand out?


I think in places like that, it's actually Democrat crossover. If Democrats come and vote in the Republican primary, then that means they didn't vote in the Democrat primary. You essentially took Biden voters away from Biden in his primary because they were over meddling in the Republican primary.


We hear a lot about undecided voters. How many undecided voters are actually out there at this point?


I would say there's not as many undecided voters as unengaged voters. Most people in America are living their lives and would rather not think about politics. Somebody who says they're undecided is likely a secret partisan who's not paying attention or is frustrated with both parties, or it's a person who's very low propensity. To them, it's more about, am I going to show up, take my time returning a ballot or go into the ballot box, or am I going to stay home? One thing that we look at in all of our general election surveys is we ask who did you vote for in 2020 in the presidential race? Then we go look at people who say they're undecided in the current race, and you can go see how those undecided people voted in 2020. That's why I say they're either a secret, frustrated partisans or very, very low propensity voters.


Now, the legacy media continues to harp on this idea that voters hate Trump and will not come out for him. What are your findings?


Trump is the most animating figure in American political turnout that I have ever seen on both sides of the aisle. The only hope that Joe Biden has is that enough people don't like Donald Trump to go vote against him and happen to vote for Biden. But the problem that Biden has is there's likely going to be in the states that matter, a viable third party candidate, RFK Jr. And I mean viable in that gets more than one-tenth of one %. I mean, he has zero shot at all. But what people aren't thinking about is if you go back to 2016, The only reason that Donald Trump became President is because of Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. And it wasn't necessarily that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. I mean, he did. But the bulk of those Green Party voters would have been Clinton voters had Stein not been on the ballot. So that's why I think that having a Cornel West and a Jill Stein and a RFK Jr. On the ballot hurts Biden significantly more than it hurts Donald Trump. But if you go look at academic research, the number one motivating factor in what causes somebody to choose to vote and then take that action is the emotion of anger.


So you're either angry about the way things are headed and you want to make America great again or save America and you're going to go vote for Donald Trump, or you're really angry at Donald Trump as a person. You're going to go vote against Donald Trump, which probably is for Biden, but not 100% of them will be this go-around.


It's interesting that you brought up RFK. I understand probably Cornel West and Jill Stein will pull from Democrats, but I know there's a lot of right-leaning people or right-wing sympathetic people who really like RFK. You think he's going to be a bigger problem for Biden?


You can like somebody and not vote for him. You can like three people. In a Republican primary, you can like three people in the race, but you only get to pull one lever. So them liking RFK doesn't mean they're going to vote for them. I have challenged folks who have said that, that maybe don't like Trump and think that RFK Jr has some shot in their unicorn and fairytale world. They can't name a single thing that RFK has a position on that Trump doesn't have the same or a better position. So when voters are making this choice, more further to the right, voters are making a choice, there's not a lot that RFK brings to the table that Trump doesn't already give you plus electability.


Now, I want to talk about immigration. How much do you think immigration is going to matter for this election cycle?


Right now, it matters a lot. But the caveat on that is that a lot is going to change between now and November fifth. We used to have 24-hour news cycles. Now we have 24-minute news cycles. And who knows what the thing is going to be. But I do believe that this migration crisis of illegal immigrants and I don't even know if that's the right title, because if you go back 20 years to when we had the same problem or 30 years, we had the same problem, it was families coming across the border. And now the majority of people coming across the border are fighting-age single men from countries all over the world, not just Mexico and Central America. And so I think what's likely going to happen is you're going to see a situation like happened with Reilly Lincoln in Athens, Georgia, murdered by an illegal immigrant. And these police, and I forget where it was, being jumped by illegal immigrants. I think the crime that comes from it and the destabilization of security that Americans feel is going to be what ultimately is the election issue because of this porous border.


Let's talk about favorability and how the candidates actually stand up against each other. From your research, if there was a head-to-head of Trump and Biden, which one do you think comes out on top?


I think, held today, it's Donald Trump. When you're talking about favorability, that's something we track every month nationally. If you go back to November of last year through February of this year, Joe Biden's favorability, very unfavorability, has increased 10% higher than it was before, has very favorable, has dropped significantly by about the same margin. So when you're looking at a net change in favorability, that's drastic. And then when you look at Donald Trump, who is... I mean, he's not well liked. He's got 50... In our last February Very poll of national general election likely voters, he was at 53% unfavorability, but Biden was at 55% unfavorability. And when you look at favorability, Trump's about three points higher than Biden does. That's a net difference of six points, which is a very big difference in a race where voters feel they have to pick the best of two evils. I'm not saying the candidates are, but I think that's the election we're headed towards. It's a lot like 2016, where you had two candidates with very upside down images, and at the end of the day, you got to pick one of them.


Now, the New York Times recently ran a piece about how people's memory of Trump is becoming more rosy over time. What are your thoughts on how the two president's records or even just the general public's impression of the two are standing up against each other at this point.


Yeah, I think that is a really good point. We also do every other month a Congressional Battleground survey where we take, I think it's 49 or 50, the most competitive Congressional seats, and then run a survey within just those. We asked a question about job approval. We said, Do you approve or disapprove of Biden's job as President? And that's 55% disapproved. Approve. And then we said, Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Donald Trump did as President? 47% disapproval and 45% approval. So there was almost a 10-point difference in approval and a nine-point difference in disapproval. I mean, that's a massive, almost 20 point net difference between how people view the way Trump was as president, not as a person, but in what he accomplished and Biden. And so a lot of elections are based on nostalgia. Is my life better today than it was the last time this election occurred? That is a really damning question that voters are going to be asking themselves for Joe Biden.


Now, we also have the Trump legal issues going on. How much Which do you think that's going to matter? For example, we have dueling narratives in the media. Obviously, legacy media believes that getting these convictions is going to really hurt Trump. But then you also hear there's a rival narrative that Trump voters don't care and that they think this is politically motivated. Which one do you think is more accurate when it comes to the actual voters who Trump could potentially get?


I think this was a very poor strategic error on the part of Democrats to go after him legally, like a dictatorship would. The fact that they started with probably the dumbest, least believable cases against him just took away the credibility instantly, and it made him a martyr. If you're looking at, okay, what's going to change in this election between '16 to '20 to 24. It's going to be this new coalition of Republican voters that are further down the educational attainment scale, working class people of all colors. I think this is one of the key factors These cases, these Sham cases against Donald Trump. If you're not scared of the dude, go beat him at the ballot box. Don't use your courts and your Department of Justice. People who are working class voters of color, especially men, look at Donald Trump and say, That is the only guy who understands somebody like me and what it feels like to have the man against you, to have the government against you, to have the law against you. I think that is the number one factor that is accelerating this change in who is the Republican base and who's the Democrat base.


If I'm a Democrat, I'm terrified right now because there's only so many progressive, high-minded, bleeding-heart, highly-educated white liberals out there and white progressives out there, and that's the party that they're becoming.


Now, in your latest battleground poll, you found four distinct voter segments. Who are those four groups?


Yeah, that's a great question. This is a really good use case of machine learning, where you can take a bunch of data and throw it in and let it find out what commonalities exist. And so in those segments, we ended up with, and again, this was the computer picking this, about 41% of these Congressional battleground voters we would consider the Republican base. They're highly attuned on border security, inflation, and economy. They really like Donald Trump. They hate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. So what you would expect that segment, if you looked at that segment across all the questions that we asked, you would say, Oh, that makes a lot of sense how those people respond. Then we found about 13% of voters that are independent. They're more moderate. They are highly attuned on the inflation and economic issue and really not paying attention to the border at all. Then the Democrat base was very uniquely split into two groups. Now, albeit that base was bigger. If you combine the two segments, it's 45% of voters compared to 41% of Republican-based voters. So you can see how Republicans really have to work hard in elections to not just turn out their folks, but to do some persuasion.


And so among this group of Democrats, you've got 22% of overall voters that we classified as inflation Democrats. And they're leaning pretty heavily Democratic on the generic ballot, whether they prefer a Republican or a Democrat for Congress. But the number is a lot lower. I mean, I think it's 83% of them are saying that compared to the, quote, threats to democracy Democrats. These are those high-minded, bleeding-hard, highly-educated white progressives. That's 23% of all voters within Congressional battleground states, and they are 100% for the Democratic candidate for Congress. So this is where you can start to see that Republicans can put together a coalition of voters that they can go after these inflation-minded Democrats, where about a third of that group says that inflation and cost of living is their number one issue. And enough of them, I think it's 16% or so, have a favorable opinion of Donald Trump. And there's nobody in the Republican base that has a... Nobody that matters that has a favorable opinion of Joe Biden. And then you go look at the 13% of independence, and you can start to see how Republicans, Donald Trump included, can cobble together a coalition of voters in a much easier way.


All right, last question. I know abortion was a huge issue in the midterm elections. Obviously, it came right on the heels of the Dobbs decision. Do you think there's still gas in that tank for Democrats to use this election, or do you think the temperature has been turned down on that issue?


My advice for Democrats is that they should only talk about abortion and absolutely nothing else. And while they're doing that, we, Republicans, we're going to talk about the things voters care about and then trounce them in a Ronald Reagan-style landslide. The reason that abortion mattered so much, and I hope the listeners caught on, that was pretty tongue-in-cheek. But The reason that abortion was so big in '22 is, one, the Dobbs decision happened, so it totally changed up the electoral calculus. But people who really care about abortion are highly educated folks, and highly educated folks are more likely to turn out in midterms and special elections. Abortion can be a turnout tool for Democrats in nonpresidential election years. It's not an issue. To protect life is we've got to figure out as Republicans, what do working class people care about on the issue of abortion in life? Because we have to figure out how to in nonpresidential years, turn those people out on the topic, too. But in a presidential year where the turnout is going to be sky high, abortion does not juice the turnout in Iota. So it does not help Democrats, which is why I hope that's all they talk about this election.


All right. Well, Brent, thank you so much for coming on today.


Yeah, I appreciate it.


That was Brent Buchana, a Polster for the Signal Group. And this has been an extra edition of MorningWire.