Poll suggests Trump will defeat Biden by winning among voters who dislike both candidates, just like in 2016

September 12, 2023

Numerous polls have shown that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are about equally disliked and viewed unfavorably by a majority of Americans, and a sizeable portion of the electorate dislikes and holds unfavorable views toward both leading 2024 presidential candidates.

One recent poll found that Trump holds a slight advantage among that particular group of voters who dislike both candidates, and that could prove to be just enough for him to win re-election over Biden in the next election, according to CNN.

That is remarkably similar to the 2016 election outcome, in that Trump arguably prevailed over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by garnering a plurality of support among the segment of voters who held unfavorable opinions of both Trump and Clinton.

Trump has edge over Biden among voters who dislike both

The latest CNN/SSRS poll, which surveyed 1,259 registered voters between Aug. 25-31 with a margin of error of 3.5%, found that former President Trump would win a 2024 rematch against President Biden by a thin margin of 47-46%.

Interestingly enough, both candidates are viewed favorably by around 35-36% of the electorate, and both are favored to win by around 90% of the voters who like them.

However, about 29 percent of voters are either unsure which candidate they like best (9%) or actively dislike both men (20%) which could prove to be the deciding factor in the 2024 race, and it is among that particular group of registered voters that Trump has an edge over Biden.

Trump defeated Clinton in 2016 among similar cohort of unfavorable voters

The CNN/SSRS pollsters found that among the roughly 29% of registered voters who were either undecided or disliked both Trump and Biden, the former president would win that group by around 7% over the current incumbent president.

That bears a resemblance to 2016 when CNN exit polls showed that around 18% of voters held an unfavorable opinion of both Trump and Clinton, but 47% of that group nonetheless cast a vote for Trump compared to 30% who voted for Clinton.

CNN noted that the 17% margin among voters who disliked both candidates likely helped propel Trump to his ultimate victory over Clinton, and surmised that the same situation could play out again similarly in the 2024 election.

Nor is the outlet alone in reaching that particular conclusion either, as it pointed to recent polls from Quinnipiac University and The New York Times/Siena College which also found that Trump held a slight advantage over Biden among voters who disliked or had unfavorable opinions of both leading candidates.

2024 race currently a statistical tie

To be sure, the 2024 election is still more than a year away, and a lot can change between now and then in terms of favorability and electability for both leading candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations.

For Trump, that largely involves the multiple criminal indictments and persistent media narratives against him, while for Biden the main problem is that he is viewed as too old with insufficient physical and mental health to effectively serve as president for another term.

As such, and assuming current trends continue, the 2024 election will be between two candidates viewed as deeply flawed and unlikeable by many voters who will be forced to choose the least bad option when casting their ballot, which could just barely tip the balance in favor of the former president over the current president.

As of now, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, the presumptive 2024 rematch between Trump and Biden is essentially a statistical dead heat, as Biden garners 44.5% support compared to 44.3% for Trump, a margin of just 0.2%.

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