Trump takes largest lead yet, Biden slips to most unpopular president in decades
Analysis by Alex Caldwell | Photo: Alamy
As the historic 2024 presidential election ramps up, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden have both experienced records in their polling recently—although these new records have not spelled good news for the incumbent Democrat.
In the NBC News survey, 47 percent of 1,000 registered voters indicated they would support President Trump in 2024, and 42 percent maintained their support of Joe Biden.
According to Interactive Polls, who posted these results to X on Sunday, Trump’s lead is his largest in any NBC News survey for a head-to-head matchup between the two major candidates.
The poll found that Trump’s popular vote share expanded by two points from July, in contrast to Biden’s numbers, which fell by seven points.
In 2020, however, these numbers were almost exactly flipped. 43 percent of respondents said they voted for Trump during the last election, as opposed to 47 percent who said they previously supported Biden.
This staunch turnaround comes amid Joe Biden’s plummeting approval ratings—as he now sets the record for being the most unpopular president in nearly 60 years.
Biden presently has the lowest approval during this point in his first term than of every president during this same period since former President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, according to The American Presidency Project by UCSB.
Johnson, who had previously chosen to run for a second full term, ultimately suspended his reelection bid in March 1968 following low approval ratings and his low primary turnout in New Hampshire.
Like Johnson, it is possible for Biden to still exit the presidential race amid his low favorability, which would likely cause a convention of sorts to select the official 2024 Democrat nominee.
Moreover, Johnson and Biden have the same approval rating from this point in their term. The American Presidency Project, which has tracked monthly approvals of presidents throughout their entire term, found Johnson’s approval at 41 percent in February 1968 and Biden’s favorability at the same amount during this same period.
No other president, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, or Donald Trump—all of whom lost their bids for reelection—had an approval rating nearly as low as Biden during the first months of their final year in office.
Conversely, other early election polls found Biden’s approval to possibly be even lower than what was originally reported in findings from The American Presidency Project.
According to the NBC News poll, Biden’s favorability rating is even lower: 37 percent. Just 16 percent stated that they “strongly approved” of his job in office.
Meanwhile, 60 percent of those polled stated they disapprove of Biden, who scored his lowest approvals for his handling of the economy (36 percent), foreign policy (36 percent), and the Israel-Hamas War (29 percent).
While Biden has faltered, Trump has continually made gains among Americans. The 45th president currently has a higher popular vote share than Barack Obama’s near four-point margin over Mitt Romney in 2012 and is also nearing the former Democrat president’s seven-point margin against John McCain in 2008.
Trump currently leads his opponent in all of the states he took in 2016—also flipping Nevada into his column—according to the average poll ratings from Real Clear Politics.
Trump is ahead in averages from swing states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin, while Biden has a 0.3-point lead in Pennsylvania—a state that tends to overestimate Democrats in early polls.
Trump is becoming increasingly more likely to not only win the popular vote but also to expand the electoral lead that he won against Hillary Clinton in 2016. If Biden’s numbers stay at current levels or fall, he could lose in a landslide.