A new NBC News poll has raised concerns among Democrats as it shows President Joe Biden with a relatively narrow lead over former President Donald Trump. The poll indicates that Biden holds a 49% to 45% lead, falling within the margin of error and significantly lower than his 10-point lead in the last poll before the 2020 election. Additionally, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican primary challenger to Trump, is tied with Biden at 47% each.
Despite the confidence projected by Biden and his team, some Democrats believe that Trump has a serious chance of reclaiming the Oval Office. Former Representative Tim Ryan, who failed to attract Trump-friendly voters in his Senate race, bluntly stated, “If you think otherwise, you have literally had your head buried in the sand. You’re living in a world of delusion. And it’s dangerous.”
Mandela Barnes, who lost a close race in Wisconsin, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the need for Democrats in battleground states to be more proactive in promoting Biden’s accomplishments. He warned, “The threat of a Donald Trump presidency is very real,” highlighting the pivotal role Wisconsin played in Trump’s 2016 victory.
Many Democrats interviewed by NBC News expressed the belief that Biden would fare better against Trump compared to other Republican challengers, primarily due to Trump being a known entity. However, they acknowledged that national polls don’t account for the dynamics of state-level nomination battles, which can significantly impact the overall outcome.
The 2020 election, with Biden’s narrow victories in key battleground states, demonstrated how slight shifts in public opinion can have a magnified effect on the Electoral College. Republican polling expert Patrick Ruffini emphasized that minor changes in key states could easily alter the electoral landscape.
Biden’s recent decline in approval ratings, along with head-to-head polls showing statistical ties between Biden and Trump, has led some Democratic strategists to recognize the ongoing viability of Trump as a strong challenger. Despite Trump facing legal challenges, Chris Kofinis, a Democratic strategist, and public opinion expert noted, “Are Democrats discounting the threat that Trump poses even with his series of indictments? Absolutely.”
Political experts generally expect the 2024 election to be closely contested in terms of the Electoral College, with a small number of swing voters likely to determine the outcome. Trump’s 2020 performance showcased his ability to attract significant support, even in defeat, in key battleground states.
The potential impact of third-party candidacies on the Electoral College remains uncertain. Biden benefited from a decrease in third-party voting in swing states during the 2020 election. As figures like author and professor Cornell West consider presidential bids, it remains to be seen how these candidacies will shape the electoral landscape.
In assessing the electorate, the question arises whether it will resemble the 2016 or 2020 elections. Raquel Teran, former chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, expressed optimism due to the increased familiarity with Trump’s message. She cautioned against underestimating the consequences of a Trump candidacy, stating, “We cannot forget what the actual consequence [is] of having a Trump presidency.”
As the 2024 election looms, Democrats are sounding the alarm about the very real threat of Trump securing victory once again, emphasizing the need for strategic planning, increased voter outreach, and a focused message to counter his appeal.