06.19.2023 0

Poll: Trump still leads Biden by 6 points after Justice Department indictment, showing little impact on race

By Robert Romano

Former President Donald Trump has maintained his lead in the latest Harvard-Harris poll over President Joe Biden in a head-to-head matchup taken June 14 to June 15, 45 percent to 39 percent, following Trump’s indictment by the U.S. Justice Department over documents Trump says he declassified before he left office.

That’s about what it was a month ago in the Harvard-Harris poll taken May 17 to May 18, when it was 47 percent to 40 percent.

Overall, Trump has been leading the average of national polls against Biden compiled by RealClearPolitics.com, at the moment by 1.8 percentage points, 45 percent to 43.2 percent.

And it comes as Biden’s approval rating has been among the lowest seen of his presidency, now averaging 54.6 percent who disapprove with only 41 percent who approve, per RealClearPolitics.com.

So, essentially, the indictment has had very little impact upon the race either for the general election or even in the Republican primary, where Donald Trump still leads his closest rival Florida Republican Gov. Ron Desantis, which Trump up by 45 points in Harvard-Harris, 59 percent to 14 percent, and averaging a 32.7 point lead among the latest national polls of Republicans and Republican leaners who will vote in the primary, 52.9 percent to 20.2 percent.

Meaning, if the goal of the indictment was to get GOP voters to think twice about nominating Trump again—that clearly is how some of Trump’s rivals in the Republican field saw the matter—the law of unintended consequences has been fully at play as Republicans have instead locked arms in support of Trump following the former president’s unprecedented indictment and arraignment by federal prosecutors.

Very interestingly, Biden only garners 77 percent of Democrats in the Harvard-Harris poll who say they support him. 11 percent say they support Trump, and 12 percent say they are unsure? Those numbers are terrible for an incumbent president.

Trump does better among Republicans, garnering 86 percent, with 9 percent who are unsure. And he leads among independents, the largest voting bloc, 38 percent to 34 percent, with a whopping 28 percent who are up for grabs.

And Biden is still demonstrating substantial weakness in the Democratic primary, with Robert Kennedy, Jr. garnering 15 percent of Democrats and Democrat leaners in the Harvard-Harris poll against Biden for the nomination. Marianne Williamson garners 4 percent.

These are all certainly ominous signs for the incumbent Biden, who also has to contend with a weakening economy. The Gross Domestic Product slowed to 1.3 percent growth annualized in the first quarter according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Federal Reserve is projecting unemployment to increase by about 1.3 million between now and 2024.

Once again, those are bad signs for any White House seeking a second term, as two indicators of trouble on the horizon are weak economies or recessions, and weakness in the incumbent’s party primary. Those voting for Kennedy or Williamson can be taken as a proxy that members of the Democrats believe it is already time for a change.

The question is not whether Biden might lose the primary — that is substantially unlikely to occur — but the extent that Democratic and independent discontent with Biden will carry over into the general election, as proved fatal for Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush in 1980 and 1992, respectively. Both had recessions and primary challenges.

Another unprecedented sign of weakness, of course, is that Biden never had the Justice Department back off targeting his top political opponent in the election, Trump. He’s apparently okay with the prospect of jailing the leader of the opposition party in a supposedly free country. That’s what coward tyrants do in tin pot dictatorships, but time will tell what impact it ends up having on voter attitudes in 2024. Stay tuned.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.  

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