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Will Trump's Rising Support From Minority Voters Put Him Back Into The White House? I&I/TIPP Poll

Kamala Harris is the top choice, if Biden drops out.

Photo by Tabrez Syed / Unsplash

As 2023 has ended and a new year begun, those looking for a big change in the presidential polls for either major party may be disappointed. The I&I/TIPP Poll taken in early January shows that both President Joe Biden (69% support) and former President Donald Trump (65%) have big leads currently in the primaries for their respective parties.

With little competition so far from others, what about the head-to-head competition between Biden vs. Trump?

I&I/TIPP's national online I&I/TIPP Poll of 1,247 registered voters taken Jan. 3-5 shows that Trump holds a slender 1 percentage-point lead over Biden if the election were held today. The actual numbers are 41% Trump, 40% Biden, a virtual statistical tossup given the poll's +/-2.8 percentage point margin of error.

However, significant problems lurk for both candidates, but mainly for Biden, the data show.

Biden runs strongly in urban areas, taking 55% of that vote to Trump's 31%. But the suburbs favor Trump 44% to Biden's 38%, while Trump's lead in rural areas is even larger: 49% Trump, 27% Biden. Urban voters in the I&I/TIPP survey make up just about 30% of all voters.

An even larger problem looms for Biden when it comes to minority voters, in particular blacks and Hispanics. In 2020, according to a Roper Survey exit poll of voters, Biden took an estimated 87% of the black vote and 65% of the Hispanic vote running against Trump, who received an estimated 12% of the black vote and 32% of the Hispanic tally.

This time around might be a surprise for the Democrats, who have long held a tight lock on the votes of the country's two-largest minorities. Current I&I/TIPP data show Trump getting a near-identical level of Hispanic support as in 2020, 31%, but Biden's backing has plunged from more than 60% to just 53%.

Of greater concern for Democrats is that Trump now holds a shocking 23% of the black vote, more than doubling his support from that key voting bloc since the last election. Add to that weakening support among Asian voters, and Biden could be in big trouble.

This has Democratic officials in a state of near-panic.

"I'm not worried — I'm very concerned," said South Carolina Democrat Rep. James Clyburn, a key African-American congressional member who is widely credited with saving Biden from losing in 2020.

Former President Barack Obama has chimed in with his own advice, urging Biden to "bolster" his flagging campaign or risk losing.

White voters, too, pose a problem. At 2024's start, Trump would get 47% of the white vote in a head-to-head matchup, versus just 35% going to Biden.

Trump's support among Republicans almost perfectly mirrors Biden's support among Democrats. Trump has 86% of the GOP, but just 6% of Democrat votes; Biden has 85% of Democrat ballots, but 7% of Republicans.

As such, independent voters may hold the key to victory for one or the other candidate. Right now, 34% of indie voters support Trump vs. 28% for Biden. That gives Trump the edge, though a sizable 23% of independents say they would prefer someone else and 13% say they're "not sure." That's 36% of all independent voters.

Trump's biggest negatives, apart from having a polarizing effect on the parties, are the legal hurdles he now faces at both the federal and state levels. He's working through four separate indictments and, if convicted of any, might lose badly needed support.

But a bigger question for the Democrats looms: What if Biden decides not to run?

He's 81, and many even within his own party have suggested he's a bit long in the tooth to be running again for president. Also uppermost in the minds of his party's stalwarts is his flagging favorability ratings in recent months, making him the least popular president in modern history, as inflation continues to erode working Americans' standard of living.

Moreover, in a recent I&I/TIPP Poll, half of all Democrats suggested Biden should resign or be impeached if current investigations confirm growing evidence that suggests he took millions of dollars in bribes from foreign governments and their agents.

Biden could cruise fairly comfortably through the primaries. Matched against the only two Democrats who have opted to challenge him in the primaries — U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and author/activist/politician Marianne Williamson — Biden wins 69% of his party's support. Phillips gets just 4%, while Williamson garners 5%.

I&I/TIPP asked voters a follow-on question: "If President Biden decides not to run in 2024, who would be your top choice for the Democratic candidate?"

The answer is sure not to please Democratic insiders: Biden's Vice President Kamala Harris leads at 20%, followed by former first lady Michelle Obama (14%), Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie

Sanders (12%), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (10%), Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (both at 8%), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (6%).

Minnesota Rep. Amy Klobuchar (3%) and Marianne Williamson (2%) both trail "someone else" (4%) in the poll.

That leaves Democrats with a major problem. With Biden looking highly vulnerable, do they encourage him to drop out? Will he go through the primaries and then quit, basically letting the Democratic Party, not voters, choose the candidate? Or will Biden shock everyone and drop out early, throwing the nomination process wide open?

Many Democrats appear open to the idea of Biden stepping down in favor of Michelle Obama, which would in effect be a third-term Obama administration. Conservative commentator Megyn Kelly calls such a move a "whole new ballgame."

In one final question, Americans were asked to assign their votes to Biden, Trump, or a list of five third-party or independent candidates, including independent attorney/activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., former professor Cornell R. West, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Libertarian Lars Mapstead, and No Labels candidate Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat.

"Other" and "not sure" were the only other choices.

The numbers show that with, with a third-party candidate, Trump's lead over Biden actually widens to 3 percentage points, with Trump at 37% support compared to Biden's 34%. All told, the combined third-party plus independent vote wins only 18% of the total.

Chris Christie, who got 2% in our poll, dropped out of the GOP primary race on Wednesday evening. Trump leads both Haley and DeSantis by 65% to 10% in the primary poll.

So the latest I&I/TIPP data show with a third party or independent candidate won't likely win, but one or more could cost Trump or Biden the presidency. And it would most likely be Biden. Get ready, because election night 2024 could be a long nailbiter. As actress Bette Davis once famously quipped, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night."

I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique, and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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