Swing State Voters Prefer Trump

Bidenomics is dragging Biden's approval.

With the usual caveats about polling more than a year out from the election, the latest Morning Consult/Bloomberg poll is disturbing.

Swing-State Voters Aren’t Buying ‘Bidenomics’


  • In an aggregate of surveys from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden by 4 percentage points. Thirteen months from Election Day, Biden lacks the backing of 14% of voters who supported him three years ago, compared with a 9-point attrition rate among Trump’s 2020 supporters. 
  • Roughly 3 in 4 swing-state voters said the country’s economy is headed down the wrong track and they are more likely than not to say their personal financial situation was better off under Trump than it is under Biden. It reveals that the president’s “Bidenomics” pitch is not breaking through, as these voters are significantly more likely to trust his predecessor to handle their top voting issue. 
  • Over the coming year, Biden’s challenge will be to prove his economic successes and address concerns about everyday costs. The data suggests there’s an opportunity here, given many swing-state voters — including those who backed his 2020 bid — said they don’t know who to trust on the issue even while expressing some dissatisfaction with Biden. 

Two graphics bring the point home:


So, not only is Trump leading in 5 of 7 states and only trailing in one—granted, within the margin of error in most cases—but he’s leading with women and every age cohort. He’s running away with those with less than a college education. And he’s doing better with Hispanic and, especially, Black voters than any Republican presidential nominee in a very long time.

With Biden leading on several major crises, Trump under multiple criminal indictments, and the House GOP imploding, how on earth can this be the case?

As James Carville would say, It’s the economy, stupid.

The survey suggests the economy is weighing heavily on swing-state voters’ minds, which partially explains these dynamics. Roughly 3 in 4 voters surveyed in these states said the country’s economy is headed down the wrong track and respondents — regardless of age, gender or household earnings — were  more likely than not to say their personal financial situation was better off under Trump than it is under Biden. 

Whether the economy is actually failing is beside the point: Many voters don’t think “Bidenomics,” the phrase the president has used to brand his economic policies, has been good for America. 

Across the seven key swing states, 49% of voters said Bidenomics is bad for the economy — nearly twice the share who said it has been good. Even among swing-state voters who support his re-election bid, only 56% said Biden’s economic policies have been positive for the country, compared with 86% of Trump supporters who said it’s been negative.  

Biden also faces a tough sell with undecided voters, only 2% of whom said Bidenomics has been good for the economy compared with 46% who said it has been bad. The only silver lining for the president among this key demographic is that a substantial share of undecided voters (41%) haven’t made up their minds on Bidenomics. 

Beyond the question of Bidenomics specifically, swing-state voters are 14 points less likely to say they trust Biden to handle the economy more than Trump (35% to 49%), a trust deficit that persists on a range of specific economic issues.

Here, the numbers are more staggering:

This isn’t just one poll, although it’s the first I’ve seen focusing on the so-called “swing states.” Here’s the FiveThirtyEight aggregate:

Analysis Eli Yokley offers some hope for Biden:

But the good news for Biden is this: He has some time.

Consumer confidence, albeit down since Biden took office, has improved nationally since a pre-midterm low and sizable shares of swing-state voters do not know who to trust more on core economic questions, leaving some room for Biden to potentially secure voters’ trust in the year ahead. Furthermore, Biden’s current predicament is exacerbated in swing states — at least partly — by a lack of enthusiasm among the Democratic base, a problem he could overcome given these voters are unlikely to back Trump.  

Over the coming year, Biden faces the challenge of trying to revive his 2020 base and the dynamics that helped Democrats stave off losses in the midterm elections. Beyond selling voters on his economic performance, Biden’s campaign could benefit by focusing on concerns among the electorate about the direction of abortion rights and democracy itself — issues where Biden has trust advantages over Trump. The former president is also likely to become less popular with the larger electorate once Democratic attacks against him ramp up next year should he win the Republican nomination. 

Again, it’s way early. But it’s more likely than not that the economy will get worse rather than better between now and next November. That anyone who isn’t a core Trumper would voter for him at this point is beyond me. But they’re at least willing to tell pollsters that he’s a better alternative than Biden.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Gustopher says:

    But it’s more likely than not that the economy will get worse rather than better between now and next November.

    The biggest issue is inflation, which has leveled out to the normal rate. Right now we are still feeling the long tail of it though, because to most people “inflation” isn’t the monthly increase in prices, but the price of orange juice being higher than they expect.

    Inflation has slowed to its historical levels, and it’s possible that people will get over the current “sticker shock” of prices at the grocery store a bit over the next 13 months, adjusting their idea of “normal”.

  2. al Ameda says:

    Briefly, the problem:
    Race/Ethnicity – Whites – 52% Trump
    Education – Less than college – 53% Trump

    Yes it’s early but it’s still depressing that so many Americans are ready for another swim in the Trump (cess)pool.

  3. becca says:

    It’s the End of Plenty. Heatwaves and extreme weather events will continue to affect the food supply. Climate change is expensive. Tell me what the GOP would do to stem the tide. Bring gas prices down by more domestic production? Shortsighted and opportunistic to a dangerous degree. Just faster climate decline and more pollution, more crop failures.
    I don’t have high hopes for humanity.

  4. Kathy says:


    I don’t have high hopes for humanity.

    I’m certain once the climate disaster does its worst, the survivors will find a whole new way to wreck the planet in due time.

  5. DrDaveT says:


    Tell me what the GOP would do to stem the tide.

    Lower taxes and repeal regulations, of course. That’s always the answer, no matter what the question. It’s the GOP version of “eat better and get some exercise”.

  6. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’m more than a little bit skeptical about the validity of a poll that suggests 22% of Black people are voting for Trump…

  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I’m certain once the climate disaster does its worst, the survivors will find a whole new way to wreck the planet in due time.

    Indeed! As the song from my flower childhood went:

    We’ve taken all this poor world can give, and we ain’t put back nothin’.

  8. Rick DeMent says:

    Just to give you an idea of how I feel about polls more then a year out. I was talking to a few people at work and casually made mention of the “…cluster in the House of Representatives” None of them knew what I was talking about.

  9. Tom Strong says:

    I’m usually a lurker here, but will come out of the shadows to say:

    However much it may have been the “right” thing to do at the time, passing the CARES Act at the time, and in the form they did, was absolute political malpractice by the Democrats.

    It ensured that voters’ last economic memory of Trump was signing the single biggest benefits bill in decades, which greatly enhanced household wealth. And left Biden holding the bag when Covid-era inflation followed. He even signed the damn checks.

    It’s very possible we’ll all pay the bill next year, and I’m worried there’s nothing to be done about it.

  10. Lounsbury says:

    @Gustopher: this is certainly correct, and the greatest worry is the potential for bounce back on delayed feed-throughs in supply chains and/or another price shock, rather more than recession which was been the misplaced worry

    @becca: The 2021-2023 inflationary spike is not an end of plenty nor effectively linked to climate change, whatever excuse making one wants to make. Climate change is serious, it is not however the omni explanation of all things nor the omni excuse, most notably for developed countries different than developing ones notably.

    The inflationary spike is fairly clearly largely an overshoot effect of the covid adjustment measures and huge liquidity thrown into pockets while supply and production were constrained. A reasonable bet was made to avoid the errors of insufficient stimulus / support post-2008 financial crisis but overshot. Reasonable bet

    Comfortable bohemian bouregousie Lefties, profesional classes, engaging in inflation poo-pooing and denialism have been in foolish denial.

    Everywhere in all geographies the general broad population but most especially working class and fixed income segments hate, hate, hate inflation.

  11. Matt Bernius says:

    I went through the OTB archives to look at posts from 2019 and 2011–the last two years where an incumbent was involved in a race–for discussion of what swing voters were doing this far out from the election.

    Here’s the one from 2019: Trump’s Electoral College Advantage Growing

    And from 2011: Obama at Majority Disapproval; Re-election Likely

    One key difference between this cycle and any of the previous ones I can think of is that we already have a presumptive opposition nominee (in the form of Trump). In 2011, no one knew who the Republican nominee would be. In 2019, there was a more robust sense it would be Biden (one more progressive commenter complains he was being “shoved down our throats). Biden had announced in April, but it wasn’t yet a done deal. They were only 3 debates in at the time and just starting to reduce the number of people on the stage.

  12. Matt Bernius says:

    @Tom Strong:

    I’m usually a lurker here

    That’s why your comment was caught in moderation–it’s a policy James put in place to discourage trolling. Thanks for the contribution and I hope you contribute more comments when you can.

    I think, from a purely political perspective, you are right. I also don’t know if that’s something Trump can run on. Ironically political winds have caused him to turn against many of his administration’s greatest successes (like the First Step Act and Project Warp Speed).

  13. Tom Strong says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Thank you. I realized that after posting and set up an account [edit – still getting moderated, but sounds like I’ll just have to comment more to avoid it? Sorry about that!].

    I wish Trump had to run on it, but my guess is he doesn’t. Voters often forget stuff, but his & the Republicans’ economic advantage seems baked in now. It’s quite depressing because the Democrats had the advantage on the economy for most of our lifetimes, and they gave it away.

    The best Biden can probably do now is hammer him as much as possible, and try to get him to say something dumb about Social Security or Medicare. But compared to most Republicans he’s been adroit at avoiding those traps. It’s a real problem.

  14. Matt Bernius says:

    @Tom Strong:
    I saw. I’m not sure why that is happening. 🙁

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: 18-34 voting as blue as 45-64 also seems very off.

    The value of polls this far out is less that they are predictive, and more that they show areas of weakness. I can see scenarios where Black voters (more likely to be working poor or lower middle class) are impacted more by inflation. And young folks having to restart paying student loans may be very bad.

    And the growing housing affordability crisis has gone on completely unabated during Biden’s term. (We don’t build enough, interest rates make mortgages more expensive, and a a majority of “independent” landlords are using apps to share rental information and effectively set rents across areas with monopoly power…)

    None of these issues would be helped by voting for Trump, but angry people do stupid, angry things.

    I’m not sure I would give this poll that much credit, but I would hope the Biden campaign is commissioning another poll to see if it bears out and where they need to work.

  16. becca says:

    The End of Plenty started before the pandemic. Hoity-toity, pretentious business as usual types just don’t see it. Yet.

  17. Mikey says:


    It’s the GOP version of “eat better and get some exercise”.

    Except eating better and exercising is actually effective.

  18. Lounsbury says:

    @becca: Whatever Bobo Left wolf-criers and sky is falling go maundering on about, there is no data indicating that productivity nor production frontiers are contracting globally. There is no end-of-plenty, efficiency increases continue.

    As my literal day job is investment in renewable energy and climate adaption infra, it is my professional focus. Blithering on about hoity toighty and engage in Woe is Us doomsaying is quite fashionable on the Left, but in no way is useful to actually achieving real things in respect to climate change.

    Ironically energy efficiency and climate change driven industrial investment in my scope typically sees significant overall materials efficiency gains, more out of the same or less. And RE as well as nuclear of fission and fusion is seeing technical advances. There is no rational data based reason to assert any contraction age has already begun, on a global basis.

    Defeatism doomism is of course old human irrationality – in the 70s you would have been predicting collapse on different grounds, etc.

  19. Bill Jempty says:

    Apartment rents went up 30-40% a couple of years back aka since Biden took office.

    Those rents aren’t coming down. They are a monthly reminder to people.

    James Carville would say, It’s the economy, stupid.

    Is it any wonder Biden is facing problems? Nope. His age and age are concerns* and DEMOCRATS admit it.

    Florida has elected a crook Governor twice and once to the United States Senate. The precedent is there for voters to ignore Trump’s legal problems.

    I don’t like trump but there is an excellent chance he’ll win next year.

    *Personally, I expressed my concerns there during the 2020 primary campaign. Those concerns are still present.

  20. becca says:

    @Lounsbury: Actually, since the ‘70’s I’ve been active in environmental issues, sweetie. And I didn’t get paid to do it

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill Jempty: My rent went up 24% from September to October as I signed a new lease. On the plus side, in 6 months (when my lease expires next) it’ll be cheaper to live in Portland (for the city kid in me) than to stay where I moved to 8 years ago because Portland rents were too high.

    ETA: And the apartment that I moved to originally has increased in rent by 300 % since when a friend of mine and I rented it in 2015.

  22. Steve Fetter says:

    The rate of inflation may be slowing but we have to deal with what the past inflation has wrought. Housing and autos have reached ridiculous heights of cost. Even in small Midwest towns, a $300,000 home or a $1500 apartment represents the lower end of the market. Most new vehicles are over $30,000 with the highest selling models well into the $40,000+ range.

    I have sympathy for auto workers that say they can’t buy the truck they produce. But guess what, neither can I. And higher wages will just accelerate the problem. In what world do we allocate $1.5 Trillion dollars of additional spending, market it as an inflation reduction act, and feel that will solve the problem.

    With all of the incentives, carve outs, tax abatements, and subsidies granted over the past 3 years, Bidenomics has richly deserved its current unpopularity. If the GOP could get rid of Trump, it would be a Reagan like blowout in 2024.

  23. Lounsbury says:

    @Steve Fetter: At a level this comment illustrates precisely the problem of inflation at popular level – biased recollection, and anchoring in price memory (on an inflation adjusted basis autoworker salaries in USA are higher than the golden years – Mr Drum for all his errors in applying deflators to very short term price movement, has been quite right to focus on data). Popular memory on prices tends to be anchored and people are just generally innumerate when it comes to inflation effects .

    You are likely correct that sans Trump and with less rabid and radical reactionary party, the Republicans might well be in line for a rerun of their opening 1980s.

    Lucky for the Democrats they are presently a clown-show (the Rs).

    However the risk built into such episodes is the rebounds – as seen in the 70s as 2nd and 3rd order feedthrough after the initial shock drivers feed into different segments of pricing with contracts resets, and ongoing price pressure.

    Not easy to bleed out although and there’s the risk the orange cretin gets in.

    Does make one nervous. Hopefully Fed bleeds out enough pressure.

    @becca: Charming then you’ve been part of the problem of Left eco defeatism since the 70s.

    I am in no way ashamed to be an investor solving climate change by moving real money into renewable energy. So yes, earning return by moving hundreds of millions of euros into actual RE production, not waiving useless signs and maundering on about the planet, quite happy to be doing that. Sans ongoing efficiency (that made the 70s era eco maunders fools) and hundreds of thousands of Gigawatt upon Gigawatt of RE humanity at 8odd bln is right buggered. Planet is fine, but humanity at 8 bln another matter.
    And that’s done by investment and applied science.

  24. The Q says:

    Is it just me? Lounsbury’s comments sound like they’ve gone through Google Translator from another language with awkward syntax and pretentious word choice?

    Quickly, automakers bought back $5 billion of stock this year. Divide that by the 150k striking autoworkers and that comes out to a raise of $33,000 per worker without raising the “price” of a car.