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Opinion: why the dispute between Biden and Trump may look more like a referendum in the USA

Presidential re-election contests tend to revolve around the incumbent’s performance in office. But a potential rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump could change that dynamic, polls suggest.

The majority of American voters say their decisions would largely depend on their feelings toward Trump.

See also – CNN Poll: 46% prefer Republicans to Joe Biden

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In the last survey of CNN which points to voters in an impasse in a hypothetical contest between Biden and Trump, 62% of those who support Trump said they saw his choice primarily as a show of support for him, with a similar 64% of those supporting Biden saying they saw their choice largely as a vote against Trump.

About a third on each side treated the decision primarily as a referendum on the sitting president.

Despite Trump’s dominant lead in the Republican primary elections, it is too early to know whether he will end up as his party’s nominee, let alone predict the specific contours of an election between him and Biden.

If the numbers from the last survey of CNN if they remain, however, they will represent a break with precedent.

In the exit poll of the CNN After the last presidential election, when Trump was the incumbent and Biden the challenger, 54% of the current president’s voters cited Trump as the biggest factor in their vote.

In the last pre-election poll of the CNN In the 2012 campaign, about 60% of likely voters said their decision had more to do with their feelings toward incumbent President Barack Obama than about his opponent, Mitt Romney.

In the fall of 2004, about 65% of likely voters felt that their votes had more to do with incumbent President George W. Bush than with his opponent, John Kerry.

The contrast suggests something about where Biden and Trump stand as candidates.

Voters who say they would choose Biden are not entirely convinced by his political record or leadership – just over half of his own supporters credit him with improving the country’s economic conditions, and just 56% see him as inspiring trust.

However, this is overshadowed by the near-universal agreement that at least one of the several criminal charges Trump faces, if true, would disqualify him from office.

Nearly all Trump supporters disapprove of Biden’s job performance but have broadly positive views of Trump, and 63% see the allegations against the former president largely as evidence of political abuse by the judicial system.

An election in which Trump served as the main focal point could also reflect the pattern seen in last year’s midterm elections.

Traditionally, midterm elections are often driven by a backlash against the party in power.

Last year, however, that strength was apparently mitigated by voter discontent with policies pushed by the Republican Party, such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Wade (litigation that guaranteed the right to abortion) by the Supreme Court.

And even outside of office and outside the polls, Trump himself played a significant role in promoting the opposition.

In the exit poll of the CNN, 44% of voters nationally said Trump played a factor in their vote, only modestly lower than the 51% who said the same about Biden, the sitting president, in a separate question.

Breaking the electorate

Observing how voters currently divide in a hypothetical confrontation between Biden and Trump, and which politician they say is a more important factor in their vote, allows us to divide the potential electorate into four blocks.

The two largest groups say they are largely motivated by their feelings toward Trump:

  • Pro-Trump voters — those who say they would support Trump largely because they support him — represent 29% of the potential electorate. This group has almost universally positive views of Trump. More than 9 in 10 view Trump favorably and 9 in 10 say he would be a better choice than any Democratic candidate. Seventy percent say none of the criminal charges they face have any relevance to their fitness for office, even if they are true.
  • Anti-Trump voters – Biden voters who are motivated, in large part, by antipathy for Trump – represent another 30% of the potential electorate. While more than three-quarters approve of Biden’s overall job performance and say he cares about people like them, many also express serious doubts about him. Less than half of this group credit him with helping improve the economy, say he inspires confidence or feel he has the stamina and acumen to serve effectively as president. Among those who are potential Democratic primary voters, three-quarters say they would prefer to have someone else as their candidate. But they are completely united in their distrust of Trump: 98% have an unfavorable view of the Republican, and 99% say Trump faces allegations that, if true, should disqualify him from the presidency.

The remaining third of the electorate, voters who say they are most motivated by their opinions of Biden, look a little different:

  • Anti-Biden voters (18% of the potential electorate), who say they would support Trump largely out of distaste for Biden, have much more mixed opinions about the former Republican president. Forty percent view Trump unfavorably and a quarter say he faces potentially disqualifying criminal charges. While 89% in this group agree that any Republican would be better than Biden, only 64% say Trump would be better than any Democrat. Compared to pro-Trump voters, this group is modestly younger – just over half are under 50 – and is more likely to have a college degree and is less likely to say they are extremely motivated to vote in the US election. next year.
  • Pro-Biden voters (16% of the potential electorate), who say they support Biden’s re-election bid on his own terms, are overwhelmingly positive about Biden’s job performance. They are relatively convinced of their current competence and acumen – although even among this group, about 4 in 10 say they are seriously concerned about how their age might affect their standing in the general election and their ability to serve a second full term. They are also the only group of voters who express broadly positive opinions about the current state of the US, with around 70% saying that things in the country are currently going well. Compared to the anti-Trump group, this bloc is older (35% are 65 or older), more likely to identify as Democrats, and less likely to have a college degree. This group also includes more black voters (45% vs. 36% among anti-Trump Biden supporters).

Would another Republican fare differently?

Despite Trump’s status as a polarizing figure, the latest poll from CNN concludes that hypothetical matchups between Biden and other leading GOP candidates are equally deadlocked, even though Biden trails former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley by several points.

Many voters are also driven by a broader antipathy toward the party they oppose, although the strength of this force varies: although more than three-quarters of pro-Biden voters say Biden would be a better choice than any Republican presidential candidate , just one minus 63% of anti-Trump voters say the same.

Nearly 1 in 5 anti-Trump voters say they would support Haley (18%) or former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (19%) over Biden.

The research of CNN was led by SSRS Aug. 25-31, with a national random sample of 1,503 adults drawn from a probability-based panel, including 1,259 registered voters.

The survey oversampled to reach a total of 898 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents; this group was weighted for its appropriate size within the population.

The surveys were carried out online or by telephone with a face-to-face interviewer.

The results among the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 points; among registered voters, the margin of sampling error is 3.6 points.

Source: CNN Brasil

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