Trump’s Lead over Biden Holding Steady

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Trump’s Lead over Biden Holding Steady

ActiVote’s April 30, 2024 presidential poll finds that in a two-way matchup former President Trump leads current President Biden by 5.4%, but that in a three-way matchup including Robert Kennedy Jr, Trump’s lead shrinks to 3.2%. The polls were in the field between April 13 and April 30 (median field date of April 22).

Trump vs. Biden

This poll was among 953 likely presidential election voters and has a mean average error of 3.2%.

In the two-way matchup, Trump is strongest among rural voters, while Biden wins urban voters. Biden narrowly wins the youngest and oldest voters, while Trump does best among the middle aged. Trump wins men, while Biden wins among women. Both win a large majority of those affiliated with their party, while Trump leads among independents.

Unlike our previous poll, Biden seems to be doing just fine with Black voters (88% support vs. 81% in our previous poll), but his problems continue with Latino voters of whom 40% support Trump, significantly more than in 2020. Somewhat surprisingly, we don’t find significant differences based on income or education levels.

Trump vs. Biden vs. Kennedy

The poll was among 1025 likely presidential election voters and has a mean average error of 3.1%.

In the three-way poll we see the same general pattern when looking at Trump and Biden: Trump wins rural voters, Biden wins urban voters, Biden wins younger and older voters, Trump wins middle-aged voters, etc.

The more interesting question is where RFK’s votes are coming from. The following table shows for Donald Trump (DT) and Joe Biden (JB) what percentage of votes they lost to RFK.

In almost all groups former president Trump loses the same or more voters to Robert Kennedy than president Biden does. The main exceptions are Democrats, Black and Latino voters, which is explained by the fact that Biden has a strong lead among those groups and thus has more potential to lose votes. Overall, our polls find that the “spoiler effect” of Robert Kennedy is a slightly higher threat to Trump than to Biden.

Political Spectrum

The graphs below shows the support for each of the candidates among left, moderate left, centrist, moderate right and right voters.

In the two-way matchup, both candidates dominate their side of the spectrum: Biden gets 96% of the left leaning voters, while Trump gets 96% of the right leaning voters. The problem for Biden is in the center, where 63% support Trump (while in 2020 only 45% of the centrists voted for Trump).

In the three-way matchup, both Biden and Trump lose about 10% of their core supporters on the left and right. The challenge for Trump is with the centrists: of the 31% going to Kennedy, ⅔ would otherwise have voted for Trump, while only ⅓ would have voted for Biden.

Thus, the “spoiler effect” created by Kennedy is focused among centrists and is more costly to Trump than to Biden. There is one caveat though: one of the likely reasons that more centrists will leave Trump for Kennedy than Biden for Kennedy is that there are more centrists for Trump (63%) in the two-way poll that could potentially defect for Kennedy than Biden has (37%). Thus, if Biden would make inroads with the centrists and end up polling 50/50 with centrists in the two-way matchup, it is likely that Kennedy would take more evenly from both candidates than he does today, reducing the spoiler effect.

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