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Biden’s Blue State Buzzkill

The plunging popularity of the 46th president is not confined to red states or swing states.

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Articles, Good Reads, Opinion, Politics

Political analysts have rightly focused on the seven states considered battlegrounds in the 2024 presidential election. Those seven – North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada in the Sun Belt; Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the Rust Belt – will collectively determine the outcome of this battle for the ages between two presidents measured side-by-side. But to understand the full breadth and depth of the race, it is most instructive to take a widescreen view of the other 43 states attracting so little attention because they are considered “safe” for either Trump or Biden.

The purpose of such an exercise is to broaden and deepen the question of approval for the incumbent president beyond those areas where he has invested the most campaign funding. And with the four Sun Belt states appearing to strongly favor Trump according to a slew of recent polls, Biden will focus like a laser on holding the three must-win states of the Rust Belt he captured in 2020. But what about those states where Biden has no plans to campaign because he already has a stronghold – or some others where Trump has previously been non-competitive? Polls in those states have been largely unaffected by massive ad expenditures and campaign events and thus are more revealing of a candidate’s unvarnished standing among everyday Americans.

Biden’s Deep-Blue Blues

Let’s start with the state where Donald Trump was just convicted, bluer-than-blue New York. In 2020, Biden captured the Empire State by 22 points; he now leads by an average of 6%, according to the fivethirtyeight.com (538) compilation of polls. In New Jersey, Biden’s 15% advantage in 2020 has shrunk to seven points. In Washington, which became the poster child for the left during the post-George Floyd riots in 2020, Biden leads by 8%, after winning that woke state by 20 points last time. In deep-blue Illinois, Biden was the winner by 17% in 2020, but now leads by an average of nine points. In California, the belly of the leftist beast, Biden’s lead is 20 points, after he rolled up a 29% margin in 2020.

Put it all together, and in these five deep-blue states where Democrats have long been dominant, Biden’s support, on average, has dropped by a staggering 11 points over the course of his presidency – even with the specter of Trump on the horizon. Again, even that kind of plunge is unlikely to put any of those states in play, but it demonstrates how Biden’s 2020 coalition is crumbling, as we have seen in another context. One poll after another shows Biden hemorrhaging support among his three most critical constituencies: black, Hispanic and young voters.

Biden on the Medium-Blue Rocks

While he is unlikely to lose any of those heavily Democratic states, there are four lighter-blue states where Biden has lost support to the point that one or more of them could be in play come November. Based on the results four years ago, Biden should not have to defend any of these states, but now he may need to do just that. In Virginia, where Biden beat Trump by 10% in 2020, two recent polls show the race tied. In Maine, where Biden won by nine points four years ago, Trump has been tied or narrowly ahead in four of the five most recent polls. In Minnesota, Biden’s lead is down to just two points after winning there by 7% last time around. And in New Hampshire, where Biden won by 7% in 2020, the incumbent’s lead is down to an average of three points in four recent polls.

Add it all up, and it means Biden has fallen by an average of 7% in these four lighter-blue states since 2020. The Trump campaign, upbeat at this juncture and buoyed by polls showing no significant reduction in the former president’s support following his conviction, will likely continue to exploit openings in all four of those states – if only to force the Biden campaign to respond in kind or risk losing a state Biden’s campaign has all but taken for granted. Already, Trump has stolen the stage with well-documented and overwhelmingly successful ventures into the deep blue sea of the Bronx and New Jersey.

Like Biden’s sudden urgency to recover something he should have secured long ago, the black vote – now registering twice the support for Trump than in 2020 – this broad electoral analysis tells a similar story from a different angle. This president’s plunging profile in deep blue America and the need to spend time and resources defending medium-blue states, like having to beg his core constituencies to remain loyal, is indicative of a campaign on the ropes, flailing about trying to please everyone while appearing to satisfy almost no one.

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