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.
Sign up to get the latest data and analysis on how business, politics and economics intersect around the world.
Nearly a year from the 2024 presidential election, the economy remains the most important issue on the minds of swing-state voters, who believe the financial strength of their country, states and communities are on the wrong track.
And according to aggregate data from new surveys conducted on behalf of Bloomberg News, the bulk of voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin think President Joe Biden’s performance on their top issue is failing them. Biden meanwhile trails his likely Republican rival, former President Donald Trump, across the seven states.
How swing state voters feel about Biden
Similar to what we have chronicled with our 2024 GOP primary tracker, the Oct. 5-10 survey shows a tight contest between the two likely major-party nominees 13 months from Election Day. Biden is trailing Trump in each of the key electoral states we tested except Nevada, while he is tied with his predecessor in Michigan.
Biden Is Struggling Across the Swing-State Map
In the aggregate across the battleground states, 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.
Biden Trails Trump Among Key Demographics in 2024 Battlegrounds
In the head-to-head test, 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. The former president remains dominant among voters without college degrees, and is competitive among younger voters in the swing states.
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.
Half of Swing-State Voters Say Bidenomics Is Bad for the Economy
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.
Swing-State Voters Trust Trump Over Biden to Handle a Range of Economic Issues
Roughly a third of swing-state voters trust Biden to handle everyday costs (another way of defining inflation on everyday goods and services), compared with 46% who said they trust Trump more. Biden gets his best trust marks when it comes to jobs and unemployment, but even on those issues he trails Trump.
The bottom line
When it comes to swing-state voters, Trump has — for now — been able to shirk the negative news surrounding his multiple criminal charges. He has a significant advantage over Biden among the swing-state electorate on the economy and leads the incumbent in an aggregate of surveys in those states.
Due to the distance from his time in office, Trump is likely getting a boost from voters’ natural willingness to blame the incumbent for their current predicament — especially given how our other surveys have shown that the incumbent Democrat has struggled to get attention for positive economic news.
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.
Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].