Transcribe your podcast

From The New York Times, I'm Michael Barrow. This is.


The Daily.


Today, a major new campaign poll from the Times conducted in the swing states that may determine the 2024 presidentories, show that Donald Trump is now leading President Biden almost across the board.


My colleague, Nate Cone, says the results are less a reflection of Trump's growing strength than they are of Biden's growing weaknesses.


It's Monday, November sixth.


Nate, nice to have you in the studio.


Michael, always a pleasure.




When this episode publishes on Monday, we will be pretty.


Much precisely a.


Year out from the general election of the 2024 presidential race.


Just under one year.


That is why.


This poll.


Is beautifully timed. So tell us about the scope of this.


Latest installment of The New York Times.




Polling operation.


We conducted polls of the six states that we think are the most likely to decide the presidency. The swing states? The swing states.


Can you just name them?


Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. Five of those six states flipped from Donald Trump in 2016 to Joe Biden in 2020 and decided the election in the president's favor.


And just to.


Say for listeners who may be wondering, because of the timing of this poll, the results you're about to walk us through don't capture the impact of the war between Israel and Hamas. We don't measure something like the effect of President Biden's strong support for Israel on voters in these swing states. That's something we're going to have to keep watching over time. It's not in this poll.




Okay, so what exactly did this battleground poll of these six essential states find? Top line.


Top line, Trump led in five of the six states. Joe Biden only led in Wisconsin. And if you take all the polls together, Trump led by an average of four percentage points, 48 to 44 %.


And because everyone's always curious about this, when we think about margin of error, is that a big deal? It seems like a big deal.


Yeah, that's a Trump lead outside of the margin of error, given the hefty sample that we have with all of these polls taken together.


So this poll finds that in all the states that are very likely to be responsible for determining who the next President is, Trump has.


A meaningful.




A year out. Modest, but meaningful. Okay.


What does this poll reveal about why former President Donald Trump is so ascendant in so many of these states in this moment?


Well, I think the poll reveals that it's probably best to flip that formulation around.


Explain that.


Donald Trump is just as weak as he was four years ago by the numbers. But Joe Biden has gone from being a strong candidate, candidate we used to talk about as being the electability candidate, to being a badly damaged candidate who voters think is too old to be President, who voters think hasn't done a good job on the economy, and who voters no longer view favorably as they did four years ago.


Let's go through these one by one. They're all important, starting with age.


The poll shows that voters overwhelmingly believe that Joe Biden is too old to be President. More than 70 % of voters in our poll agree that Joe Biden is too old to be an effective President. It's worth noting we asked this exact same question in these same states three years ago ahead of the last election. And back then, only 30 % of voters said Biden was just.


Too old.


Wow. That's a huge swing.


It's a huge swing, and it's the swing we don't see very often in our polarized country.


Right. And to state the obvious, the fact that so many more voters now perceive him to be old means that they think he has deteriorated.


And they've seen a lot of him over the last three years, too, to potentially inform that view. He does have stumbles. He does sometimes trip. There are videos of it on social media all the time, fairly or unfairly. Voters have bit by bit come to the view that and he's just older than they're willing to tolerate.


When it comes to age, I have to imagine you ask the same question about Trump, who's pretty similar to Biden's age. How did the voter feel about that?


Well, voters do not think that Donald Trump is too old to be President. But interestingly enough, the amount of voters who say Trump is too old today is now higher than the number who thought Biden was too old three years ago when they happen to be the same age. Voters may be handling this consistently.


And maybe Americans have a very complicated relationship to the question of age.


Also fair.


But no matter how you cut it, this is a problem meaningfully, statistically, in the poll for Joe Biden. This is not just a question hovering in the air that people talk about. It's a thing that's showing up in.


The poll. Absolutely.


So that's age. Which of Biden's problems should we focus on next?


Potentially related to age is a whole list of problems related to how voters think about Joe Biden as a person. Voters have gone from having a favorable view of Joe Biden to an unfavorable view. They've gone from thinking he has a good personality and temperament to not thinking he has the personality and temperament to be a good President. They have doubts about Hunter Biden. About half of voters believe that Joe Biden profited from Hunter Biden's dealings abroad.




Though there's no evidence. Even though there's no evidence of that. I mean, if you step back and take all these questions together, four years ago, a majority of voters liked Joe Biden, thought he was acceptable, and they didn't like Donald Trump. They didn't like his conduct. They didn't like him as a person. Four years later, they don't like either of these guys. So Joe Biden has lost this advantage that he used to have- Interesting. -over Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not stronger, in fact, on many of our questions, he's weaker himself. But that advantage that was really central to Joe Biden's ability to win the election is not here in our poll right now.


You can imagine this might be confusing to some of our listeners, given that Donald Trump faces the avalanche of criminal charges and indictments that he does, that Joe Biden, who faces no indictments and no charges, would be suffering from the perception of problematic character or the behavior of his son given what's happening to Trump.


It is surprising. Voters do think that Donald Trump is guilty of federal crimes, and they don't like him either. His ratings are also down again from three years ago. There's nothing about how bad Donald Trump is that necessitates that voters today like Joe Biden. Even if maybe if we press them on it, they'll go ahead and concede that the allegations against Trump are worse.


Right. So you're saying don't do the incorrect simple calculation that Donald Trump's problems, his legal problems, result in Joe Biden having favorable views among voters on any of these issues. That's just not how it works. No, voters aren't- Subtraction from one doesn't become addition for the other.


Voters aren't going to judge Biden on a curve against Donald Trump, who faces countless criminal indictments.


Right. Put simply, voters don't compare the two candidates in this poll. They are making judgments on each of them individually.


Absolutely. Okay.


I think that brings us to the economy. We've talked a lot on the show about the fact that most Americans don't approve of Biden's handling of the economy, even though in many respects, the economy is doing pretty well. So does the poll deepen that understanding?


Well, it reveals yet again that voters do not think the economy is doing well, whatever you think of the macroeconomic statistics, it also shows that voters pretty plainly blame Joe Biden for that. They say that his policies have hurt them personally. It also shows that voters think that Donald Trump would do a much better job handling the economy than Joe Biden.


How do you think about that? And what do.


The voters tell us? Well, it's also worth noting that the voters believe that Donald Trump's policies helped them personally, which was something that was true in our 2020 polling, interestingly as well, the same dynamic where voters doubted that Biden was going to do anything for them believed that Donald Trump would or did. That's not something that's changed. What seems to have changed, though, is that as the economic picture has worsened to their minds during Biden's presidency, that difference has become all the more important to them. And may also be worth noting under this broad umbrella of the economy is that voters have a very pessimistic view of the state of the country more generally. And Joe Biden ran four years ago on the promise that he would return the country to normalcy. And I don't think that's the way voters see it. They still overrely believe that the country is headed off on the wrong direction. Voters. And as long as that's true, an incumbent president is going to face some challenges in persuading voters to give them a second term.


Which of these three broad areas that we have just talked about, do you think the poll shows to be the most important and potentially, therefore, is dragging Biden down the most?


To be entirely honest, I think it is really hard to tell which of these three issues is most important in no small part, because almost all of the voters who are hurting Biden believe all of these things. Fascinating. So how do you really tell which is most important if everyone believes it? One thing I can say is the share of voters who say the economy is most important has gone up a lot over the last year in the same states where we did our Senate polling last fall.




Compared to last fall, voters care more about the economy, a serious weakness for Joe Biden.


So all in all, what we're looking at here, just to summarize the ground we've covered, is pretty broad disapproval of President Biden, both on a personal and a policy level. And Trump support neither really rising nor falling, but just hovering in the same place it was the last time he ran for President. And all of that shakes out into a pretty meaningful advantage for Trump, disadvantage for Biden in these.


Swing states. In these swing states right now with a long ways to go.


Okay, we'll return to the long ways to go in just a little bit. Nate, you said all this is an across-the-board problem for Biden, but I wonder where you're seeing it most acutely, in which group or groups of voters?


You're absolutely right that these problems that Joe Biden are very broad, and yet they have manifested very narrowly among just a few demographic groups. Which ones? Young voters, black voters, and Latino voters.


What exactly are we seeing among these three categories of voters?


Well, we're seeing levels of support for Donald Trump that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. In 2020, Joe Biden won young voters by more than 20 points. Now the race is essentially tied among young voters in the polling.




Biden won more than 90 % of black voters in 2020.


It was a huge part of his victory.


Absolutely. And now he's around 70 %. And not only are those voters undecided, Donald Trump is currently pulling around 20 % of black voters in these polls.


So this poll finds that black voters are not just fleeing Biden. They are running directly.


To Trump. They're willing to tell the pollster Trump, which is not something that I've seen before.




Then among Latino voters, there's a similar decline there as well. Biden won more than 60 % of the Hispanic vote in these states in 2020 and now he's barely winning at all.


Barely winning at all with Latino voters.


Single-digit lead.


Potentially, according to this poll, in these states could lose the Latino vote.


Not out of the question, but he does lead the Latino vote in these states, to be clear.


Those do feel like potentially historic swings among a long-time foundation of the Democratic Party: young voters, black voters, Latino voters. And we've talked about this trend a little bit, especially among black and Latino voters. But my sense, my recollection from talking to you is that this has been a slow creeping problem from the Democratic Party. What you're describing here feels much more potentially seismic.


Yeah, it feels like over the last decade or so that we've seen these signs of softness and weakness for the Democrats. And this is really the first time that it feels like you see something like a break in the polling. Now, it's not an election result yet, and there's a long time. But if these polling results were right, it would represent a pretty fundamental change in American electoral politics.


Nate, does the poll get at why this might be the case, why the shift might seem so seismic in this poll? There have been all kinds of theories. We've talked about them on the show about why this shift has been happening on a slow basis, but because it's happening on such a potentially big one right now, I wonder what the poll tells us about the why.


It's a really hard question. As I mentioned, because all these voters believe all these various negative things about Joe Biden, it's very hard to tell which of these things is really the one thing that matters more than anything else, if it's even true that one of those things matters more than anything else. What I do think the poll suggests that the problems are more about Joe Biden and the economy than about the Democrats in general or ideology. One set of questions that we asked that really shapes my thinking on this is that we didn't only ask voters whether they prefer Joe Biden to Donald Trump. We also asked whether they would prefer a hypothetical, a named Democrat to Donald Trump if Joe Biden didn't run. And we also asked how they would vote in a hypothetical matchup between Kamala Harris, the Vice President, and.


Donald Trump. Interesting.


And both the generic Democrat and Kamala Harris fair better than Joe Biden overall. That's fascinating. And they in particular, fair better than Joe Biden among the young black and Hispanic voters that we're talking about. And in fact, this is crazy, but if Joe Biden merely won over voters who support Kamala Harris over Donald Trump, but that who do not currently support Joe Biden, all of Joe Biden's problems among young, black, and Latino voters go away.


What that really seems to say is that this is a Joe Biden problem, especially among these groups of voters we just talked about.


And this would.


Seem to add fuel to the pretty widespread complaint among some Democrats that there should have been a real primary this year, that it should not have just been a coronation of Joe Biden, that there should have been an open primary. The calendar shouldn't have been changed to benefit Joe Biden as it was by the Democratic Party. That just saying Joe Biden, again, given the issues we're talking about here, didn't necessarily seem like such a good idea.


This is absolutely going to add fuel to those Democratic concerns about whether Joe Biden is the right candidate to be the party's nominee next year. It doesn't show that he can't win. He still has very real paths to win, paths that for many Democrats could be pretty straightforward. But I do think the poll shows that it'll be more challenging for Joe Biden to win this election than it probably ought to be, given that he's an incumbent, given how unpopular his opponent is, and given that he beat the same person last time.


We'll be right back.


This podcast is.


Supported by Meta. How do my daughter and I set boundaries on who can message her online? How do I talk with my son about healthy online behavior? If you've got questions about how to keep your teenager safer online, Family Center on Instagram has resources that can help. Family Center is where you'll find supervision you can set up with your teenager, and an education hub with advice from youth experts on how to have conversations about safety. Explore more of our family tools at Instagram. Com/familytools.


Nate, you just suggested that this poll reveals some real challenges for President Biden heading into the 2024 election, but that there are also real paths for victory. We're going to discuss both of those. I want to start with how state by state, since this is a poll of six battleground states, what we have just learned could translate into a loss for Biden against Trump. So just explain that.


Well, as we've mentioned, the poll shows Biden with this weakness among young black and Hispanic voters. And as a consequence, the results by state follow a very predictable and straightforward pattern where Joe Biden suffers the largest losses in relatively diverse and young states. Nevada and Georgia, two states where nearly half of the electorate will be non-white, are states where Joe Biden is badly underperforming.


And he won those two states last time, and they were essential to his electoral college victory.


Exactly. And it's hurting him enough for him to be trailing in less diverse states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, which are predominantly white, but where Democrats still absolutely depend on support in places like Philadelphia and Detroit.


Which have large populations of black and Latino voters.


Exactly. Right now, he trails in those states because he's faring so poorly among those core Democratic constituencies. So if you're the Biden campaign, you look at this and you say, if I can re-energize my support among young Black and Latino voters, I'm going to rapidly gains in these Sunbelt states. And hopefully, I can get myself just over the top in these more traditional battleground states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.


And how would, if you were the Biden campaign, and I imagine they're having this very conversation, would you do that?


Oddly enough, I think recent re-election campaigns offer a pretty good playbook here. In both 2004 and 2012, Barack Obama and George W. Bush stared down the prospect that their bases weren't going to be sufficiently mobilized. And so they ran a polarizing campaign on the issues that define their party to try and re-energize people who ought to have been their core supporters and bring them home. For example, what George W. Bush did in 2004 was he campaign on gay marriage and gun rights to try and re-mobilize and re-energize his support among evangelical and rural conservative voters.


Right. I remember it well. Bush literally worked to put bands on gay marriage on the ballot in as many states as he could, knowing that would bring out Christian conservative voters. It did. It did. And gay marriage got banned in those.


States as well. It did. And Democrats, you can imagine doing something very similar in this election on an issue like abortion. In fact, in some ways, this is the playbook that Democrats used in the Midterms last year. Now, I should say, I'm not 100 % convinced that a rerun of the Democratic Midterm Playbook will yield the same result that Democrats got in the mid-term last year in these states.


Why not?


This is a less ideological group of voters that we're talking about now. We're almost by definition talking about people who did not vote in the mid-term last year. The Black and Latino voter who was motivated by democracy and abortion last fall is someone who's still supporting Biden in our polling today. The voter who has left Joe Biden is the person who wasn't motivated by these issues to turn out and vote last fall. Fascinating. Now you can imagine two interpretations here. One is that these people would never pay attention to a Midterm, but if they heard the same thing, they would be energized by it, in which case maybe the same playbook on a higher, louder, with more media attention in a race they know about will succeed in doing the same thing. Or, alternately, they did hear the message they weren't motivated by it. They care about the economy, and that particular one is not going to work. So both of those things are possible. But definitely, things like this are in the playbook. What are the things that Joe Biden can talk about that young black and Latino voters like that you don't believe will alienate your more solid support of white moderate voters.


That's a challenging question for Biden to figure out.


It is a challenging question, but it's also not the worst problem that you could have. We're talking about trying to win back traditional Democratic voters, including voters who are still open to voting for someone like Kamala Harris or our unnamed Generic Democrat. This shouldn't be that hard to do.


But in a scenario where Biden can't find that issue to bring these voters back to him and the Democratic Party, does he lose?


Not necessarily. I think he still would have one narrow but clear path to win the three predominantly white, Midwestern battleground states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. Biden is relatively close in these states. In fact, he holds a lead in Wisconsin. Interestingly, among likely voters, he pulls into the lead in Michigan, which reflects that so many of the voters who are dissatisfied by Trump are voters on the peripher of politics who Trump can't necessarily count on, even though he earns their support in our polling. So if you're the Biden campaign and you just can't remobilize the same level of support that you had among young, black, Latino voters, you can still hope to do just well enough among the older white voters who represent Joe Biden's strength to muscle out a narrow win in these states, especially since these are among the likeliest voters in the electorate.


And what does he have to do to make sure his appeal among those voters remains as strong as possible.


This is the group where I think the abortion and democracy path that they ran in the midterm last year gets Biden the farthest. Whether it actually gets him over the top or not, I don't know. But I think that these kinds of voters are exactly the kinds of relatively moderate voters who flip to Joe Biden because they don't like Donald Trump. And you just reinforce those reasons. And I think that you have a very credible path to keep them that's been demonstrated in previous elections under a somewhat similar circumstance.


Well, okay, let's turn to Trump and how he capitalizes on the advantages that he clearly has based on the poll of these six states.


Well, Donald Trump is ahead right now, so you can look at all the reasons you're leading today and try and reinforce them. And that strikes me as a pretty plausible path. You can imagine him trying to reinforce concerns about Joe Biden's age and his capacity to handle the job. You dwell on how everything in the world and in the country is a disaster and how if I were President, none of this would have happened. You can try and reach out to Black and Latino voters in a way that maybe you haven't in previous elections. I'll note that I don't know if you saw this, but do you remember how back in 2015, Donald Trump kicked out Univision from a press conference? I think I do. He's going to interview with that same person next week. Huh.


Somebody in his campaign told them that would be a.


Good idea. I think someone told him that would be a good idea.


Because it has a huge Latino audience, obviously.


Because it has a huge Latino audience, obviously. But also, this is now his path to victory in a way that wasn't true four years ago. You have to make sure if you're the Trump campaign, that at the very least, you don't offend voters in the way you did four years ago. One thing I wish we had in our poll, by the way, is some measure of when's the last time you were offended by Donald Trump? Because back when Donald Trump was doing poorly among these groups, it was like there was a controversial or racist remark in the news every week, right? Right. And that hasn't been true for a while. And I think that could be an important part of why he's able to make gains among these voting blocks when he hasn't done so in the past.


You're raising an interesting possibility that's just occurring to me as you're saying this, Nate, which is that a Donald Trump who's a bunch less present in our world, which he is for a variety of reasons, some strategic, some because he spends a lot of his time in a courtroom these days on all these trials, is perhaps a stronger presidential candidate for a number of these groups.


Absolutely. I think that if you step even farther back, it could be the case that Donald Trump's political messaging and his populist brand of conservatism has had the potential to have very broad appeal to Latino and Black voters the whole time, and that he held himself back among these groups by intentionally alienating them.


Right. By occasionally insulting them frontally.


Exactly. It's funny if you think about these elections chronologically. In 2016, he was offensive to both Black and Latino voters and did terribly among both. In 2020, he still campaigned against immigration, but it was no longer the focus of that election. Black Lives Matter defund the police was. He does way better among Latino voters while still struggling among black voters. Now we have a political moment where I'm not sure either of these issues are at the core of the campaign in the news right now. And now, Donald Trump is doing better among both.


Interesting. What you're really describing is a potential brand of Trump populism that is more inclusive, it's less insulting, and it's a clear path to victory when combined with what could end up being daily assaults on Biden's weaknesses, his age, voter perceptions of the economy, that could put together an unusually broad coalition in this moment.


And one that would represent a real turning point in modern American political history.


Just explain that because the turning point in modern American history, that's a big phrase.


Since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, our politics have been defined by high levels of racial polarization. They have also usually been defined by a great degree of generational polarization. And the politics that Donald Trump appears to be promoting right now may represent not a complete elimination of that pattern, but a fairly significant reduction in racial and generational polarization in a way that would clearly distinguish this election from all those we've had previously. And because we're talking about young and non-white voters, voters that are going to represent growing shares of the electorate in the future, I do think we would look back on it as representing a turning point because of the consequences it would have for subsequent contests.


Right. The R-word is rolling around in my head. If Donald Trump does what this poll suggests, he might be able to do, especially with young, black, and Latino voters, that could amount to a realignment between the parties. It would represent a significant change in what the Democrats can think of as a reliable coalition, and it would represent a huge victory for Republicans and their ability to have broadened.


Their coalition. I want to reemphasize the word would if this happened, and we just laid out why Biden has a credible way to reassemble a lot of these voters. But if these poll results were mirrored in the final election results, this would be a realigning election.


And here's the part where we have to say it is one year off and a ton can change and realignment is a really big word in our politics, but it would be merited if the election were tomorrow, which it's not. It's not.


I'm so glad you came back to that, but I just want to reinforce it one more time. I mean, this is a dissatisfied, disaffected, disengaged electorate that doesn't like their choices. These are the textbook conditions for political volatility. It's also the conditions for political upheaval, right? This is when realigning elections happen. But it's also the conditions where voters really could flock back to where they were.


Depending on any number of things that happened between now.


And then. I look at these results and I see the potential for huge changes, whether that's from the last election result or from these polls to the next.




Nate, thank you very much.


Thank you for having me, Michael.


We'll be right back. Here's what else you need to know today. Hamas officials said that an Israeli airstrike hit a densely populated refugee camp in Central Gaza on Sunday, killing at least 47 people and wounding dozens of others. If confirmed, it would be the second time in a week that Israel has struck a Bosnian refugee camp. As Israeli forces advanced on Gaza City, they offered Palestinians a four-hour window to safely flee the area. Israel said it offered a similar window on Saturday, but that Hamas exploited it to attack Israeli troops. And- Free.


Free, free, Palestine. Free, free, free, Palestine. Free, free, free, Palestine.


In Washington, D. C, TD, tens of thousands of people gathered for the largest pro-Palestinean protest in the US since the war began. The protesters demanded a ceasefire in the war and the end to US military aid for Israel. Much of the crowd's anger was directed at the Biden administration, which has expressed strong support for Israel in its campaign against Hamas. In a speech, the leader of a Muslim civil rights group warned Biden that voters would judge him on how he handled.


The war. Our message is no cease-fire, no votes. No cease-fire, no votes. No cease-fire, no votes.


No cease-fire, no votes. No cease-fire, no votes.


Today's episode was produced by Muj Zahdi and Asta Chatharvadi, with help from Luke Vanderplug. It was edited by Mark George and Rachel Quester. Contains original music by Marion Lasano and Rowen Niemisto, and was engineered by Alyssa Moxley. Our theme music is by Jim Runberg and Ben Landford of Wonderly. Special thanks to Ruth Igjielnik. That's it for The Daily. I'm Michael Gilbert. See you tomorrow.