Three-quarters of voters say they are concerned about President Joe Biden’s age and mental health, while nearly two-thirds are concerned about the multiple trials former President Donald Trump is facing, according to a new national NBC News poll , casting a dark shadow over the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
The poll also shows that Trump is widening his national lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination to more than 40 points over his closest competitor, and that Biden and Trump are deadlocked in a hypothetical rematch over a year before the general elections.
But what also stands out in the poll are Biden’s warning signs beyond his age — including unprecedented disapproval of his job. performance, less than 4 voters out of 10 approving his management of the economy and a lack of interest in the elections among key elements of the Democratic base.
“This survey is a surprising red light for an incumbent party,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt and his team at Hart Research Associates.
But Trump and the Republicans have their own challenges — like the Republican frontrunner’s overall unpopularity with the general electorate, as well as the way Trump is galvanizing the political opposition, including those who have reservations about Biden .
“Yes, the numbers for Biden are not where he needs to be,” said Horwitt, the Democratic pollster. “But the goal of most voters still remains Donald Trump.”
The NBC News poll – conducted September 15-19 – comes a month after Trump’s latest indictment in Fulton County, Georgia, days before Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate (in which Trump will not participate), and so that Biden faces only nominal opposition for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Yet, according to the poll, 74% of registered voters say they have major (59%) or moderate (15%) concerns that Biden, at 80, does not have the mental and physical health to be president for a second term.
According to the poll, 62% of respondents have either major concerns (52%) or moderate concerns (10%) that Trump will face various criminal and civil trials for alleged wrongdoing, including attempting to cancel the 2020 presidential election.
60% have major (45%) or moderate (15%) concerns about Biden’s possible knowledge or involvement in his son Hunter’s business dealings, including allegations of financial wrongdoing and corruption .
And 47% have either major concerns (34%) or moderate concerns (13%) that Trump, at age 77, does not have the mental and physical health to serve as president for a second term.
“I know he’s 80 years old. I know 80 year old men are perfectly capable. I’m more worried about Biden’s physical health. He seems a little weak and this job is taking its toll,” said Mary Lyon, 53, a Democrat from Tucson, Arizona.
Kevin Chester, an Arizona Republican who voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, said he will not vote for Trump in 2024 if he is the GOP nominee because “nothing will get done.” He will plead the past. It will be tit for tat.
“I would vote for a third party in protest if it was Trump versus Biden,” Chester added.
Trump’s lead increases in Republican Party race
Despite facing multiple indictments, having his photo published in August and skipping the first Republican debate, Trump now leads the Republican presidential race by more than 40 points, according to the survey.
He is the top choice of 59% of national Republican primary voters, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has 16% support – followed by former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley with 7% and former Vice President Mike Pence and former governor of New Jersey. Chris Christie at 4% each.
In the June NBC News survey, Trump led DeSantis by 29 points, 51% to 22%.
The former president’s gains came from men, seniors and moderate Republican primary voters.
At the same time, the poll found that the share of Republican primary voters who think Trump should continue to be leader of the Republican Party has increased., from 49% in June to 58% now.
In total, 86% of Republican primary voters say they are either very satisfied (42%) or somewhat satisfied (44%) with the choice of Republican presidential candidates.
Biden’s disapproval rating hits new high
Meanwhile, Biden’s job rating among registered voters stands at 41% approval and 56% disapprove – the highest disapproval rate of his presidency.
Deeper In these numbers, Biden is underwater among voters ages 18 to 34 (46% of whom approve of his job performance), all women (46%), Latinos (43%), and independents (36%).
Additionally, the NBC News poll finds that 37% of voters approve of Biden’s handling of the economy and 41% approve of his handling of foreign policy.
Only 28% of all voters say they are satisfied with the state of the economy (down from 48% at the start of Biden’s presidency in April 2021), although 55% say they are satisfied with their own financial situation. However, this figure of 55% is tied for an all-time high on this polling question dating back to 1994.
And on top of all these numbers, nearly 6 in 10 Democratic primary voters – 59% – say want a Democratic candidate to challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2024, even though no major challenger within the party has emerged.
Biden is tied with Trump – but trails Haley by 5 points
Looking ahead to the 2024 general election, the NBC News poll shows Biden and Trump tied in a hypothetical contest among registered voters, 46% to 46%.
In June, Biden held a 4-point lead over Trump, 49% to 45%.
According to the new poll, Biden leads Trump among black voters (76% to 14%), voters aged 18 to 34 (57% to 34%), college-educated whites (56% to 34%). , Latinos (51% to 39%), and women (51% to 41%).
Trump leads among rural voters (67% to 31%), men (51% to 40%), white voters (51% to 41%) and whites without a college degree (63% to 32%).
Among independents, Biden gets 42%, while Trump gets 35%.
Notably, Biden leads Trump by 18 points among those who “somewhat disapprove” of the president’s job performance (49% to 31%). And almost 1 in 5 registered voters who say they are concerned about Biden’s age still vote for him over Trump.
In other hypothetical matchups, Biden holds a one-point lead over DeSantis, 46% to 45%, well within the poll’s margin of error.
And the president is 5 points behind Haley, 46% to 41%. Haley outperforms Trump and DeSantis among independent and college-educated voters, even though nearly 30% of all voters say they don’t know her.
“She serves as a functioning generic Republican candidate,” McInturff, the GOP pollster, said of Haley.
In a multi-candidate field including third parties, Trump gets 39% of registered voters, Biden gets 36%, an unnamed Libertarian Party candidate gets 5%, an unnamed No Labels candidate gets 5%, and an unnamed Green Party candidate gets 4%. %.
And 67% of all voters say they are very interested in the 2024 election – scoring a 9 or 10 on a 10-point interest scale – which is lower than the same period before the 2020 election (where 72% had high interest). interest), but higher than at that point in the 2016 cycle (64%). Voter turnout was significantly higher in 2020 than in 2016.
A larger share of Republican voters (75%) than Democratic voters (68%) care a lot about the upcoming election, while key parts of the Democratic base – younger voters, black voters and voters Latinos – have less interest than during the same period. in past election cycles.
Other key findings from the survey
Biden’s net favorability rating (39% positive, 49% negative) is higher than that of Trump (35% positive, 54% negative) and Vice President Kamala Harris (31% positive, 51% negative).
In the hypothetical Biden versus Trump matchup, a majority of Biden voters (58%) say their vote is more against Trump than for Biden, while a majority of Trump voters (57%) say their vote is more for Trump than for Biden. against Biden.
Vote Preferences for next year’s congressional elections are essentially tied, with 46% of voters preferring a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared to 45% who prefer Republicans in charge – virtually unchanged from June.
And when asked about the House Republican impeachment inquiry into Biden, a majority of voters — 56% — oppose Congress holding impeachment hearings to remove Biden from office, while 39% support the hearings.
The national NBC News poll was conducted Sept. 15-19 among 1,000 registered voters — 848 of whom were contacted by cell phone — and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The margin of error for the 321 Republican voters in the survey is plus or minus 5.5. percentage points.