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Democrats May Have a Biden Problem

By Adeline Von Drehle
Published On: Last updated 05/13/2024, 06:45 PM EDT

A recent New York Times/Siena poll of battleground states suggests that voters are at least contemplating splitting the ticket this November. Former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in five of six surveyed swing states, while Democratic Senate candidates lead in all four states where likely voters were queried about those races.

Among likely voters, Trump leads Biden in Arizona (49%-43%), Georgia (50%-41%), Nevada (51%-38%), Pennsylvania (48%-45%), and Wisconsin (47%-46%). Biden is eking out a lead in Michigan (47%-46%)

Biden won all six of the surveyed states in 2020. Victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would earn Biden enough electoral votes to secure his reelection, provided he does not lose any of the other states he won four years ago. Biden is currently down 1.2 points in the RCP Average

While the presidential race results comport with other polls, New York Times/Siena asked swing state voters about congressional candidates for the first time this election cycle, and the responses suggest that Democrats may have a Biden problem, not a brand problem. Likely voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada were polled on Senate races, and Democratic candidates came out on top every time.

The main cause of this ticket-splitting, it seems, is that Democratic senatorial candidates are not struggling among key groups such as young and non-white voters, whereas the president is hemorrhaging support on issues ranging from inflation and doubts about his age to the war in Gaza.

The phenomenon is especially pronounced in Nevada, where Trump leads by 13 points among registered voters. This chasm is in part thanks to his 15-point lead among non-white voters and 13-point lead among young voters. At the same time, Sen. Jacky Rosen leads by 29 points among non-white voters and 19 points among young voters, giving her a 2-point lead over Republican challenger Sam Brown.

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