Trump’s Lead Taking A Hit

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Trump’s Lead Taking A Hit

ActiVote’s May 22, 2024 presidential poll finds that in a two-way matchup former President Trump leads current President Biden by 2.2%, but that in a three-way matchup including Robert Kennedy Jr, Trump’s lead grows to 2.8%. The polls were in the field between May 6 and May 21 (median field date of May 13).

Trump’s lead is down 3.2% compared to his 5.4% lead in our April 30 poll.

Trump vs. Biden

This poll was among 1081 likely presidential election voters and has a mean average error of 3.0%.

In the two-way matchup, Trump is strongest among rural voters, while Biden wins urban voters. Biden wins the younger voters, while Trump wins older voters. Trump wins men, while Biden wins women. Both win a large majority of those affiliated with their party, while Trump narrowly leads among independents.

Biden seems to be doing okay with Black voters (86% support) but his problems continue with Latino voters of whom 47% support Trump, significantly more than in 2020. While there are only small differences, Biden does better with those with high incomes and/or high education levels, while Trump does better with lower and middle income/education.

Trump vs. Biden vs. Kennedy

The poll was among 1153 likely presidential election voters and has a mean average error of 2.9%.

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 voters, Trump wins older 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.

Noteworthy is that Trump loses more female voters to RFK than Biden, while Biden loses more male voters. Especially significant is how many young voters are considering abandoning Biden for RFK.

Political Spectrum

The graph 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 97% of the right leaning voters. The difference is made in the center: where Trump leads by 8 points, a group he lost by 10 points in 2020.

In the three-way matchup, Biden loses about 11% of his core supporters on the left, while Trump loses only about 7% of his supporters on the right. Among the centrists, of the 29% going to Kennedy, 16% came from Trump and 13% from Biden.

Thus, the “spoiler effect” created by Kennedy is a combination of a slightly higher effect on Biden’s core supporters than on Trump’s core supporters, while taking a few more centrists from Trump than from Biden, leading to a net spoiler effect of just 0.6% in favor of Trump. That small difference makes it unlikely that RFK’s presence will decide the election.

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