Trouble For Biden – Trump’s Dominance Signals Nationwide Victory

Last Tuesday in Arizona, former President Donald Trump continued his 2024 domination of President Joe Biden in battleground states. So far this year, both parties have held primary elections in three of the six states that decided 2020’s presidential outcome. Trump has out-polled Biden in all three. Handily. While pollsters may give insights into how people will vote, primary voters offer outcomes as to how they have voted. Right now, it’s not close.

Despite both men having already sewn up their nominations, each faced some drama in Arizona’s primary election. Biden faced a protest vote over his policy in the Israel–Hamas conflict. Trump still faced numerous challengers who garnered over 20 percent of the Republican votes.

As in 2020, Biden won last Tuesday, this time gaining over 370,000 votes and beating his 2020 primary showing (in a then-crowded field) by over 110,000 votes. However, the overall Democrat vote dropped by over 200,000 votes from its 2020 level.

In 2020, Republicans canceled their Arizona primary because Trump was the incumbent president and had the nomination locked up. Last Tuesday, he won over 490,000 votes, beating former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, his closest challenger, by over four-to-one. Overall, Republicans received roughly 620,000 votes.

In this year’s Arizona primary, Trump outpolled Biden by almost 120,000 votes. He also outpolled the entire Democrat field by over 70,000 votes. Overall, Republicans received over 200,000 more votes than Democrats.

The significance here is that in 2020’s presidential election, Biden beat Trump in Arizona by just over 10,000 votes.

Arizona marks the third time this year that Trump has beaten Biden in battleground state primary voting. Despite losing by over 115,000 votes, Arizona has been the closest Biden has come to Trump in any of these three: In Michigan, he was roughly 140,000 votes short of Trump; in Georgia, he was over 220,000 votes short.

While Democrats will argue that in Michigan, Trump still faced a challenge for the nomination (of course, Biden faced a protest vote over the Israel–Hamas conflict then too), the race was over by Georgia and Arizona. In the last two primaries, the candidates have been on a level footing.

Thus far in these three primary states, Trump has yet to lose to Biden. In total, he has outpolled Biden by over 450,000 votes — an average margin of over 150,000 votes. Why is this so significant? In 2020’s presidential election, Trump lost to Biden by roughly 150,000 votes in Michigan, by roughly 12,000 votes in Georgia, and by 10,000 votes in Arizona.

How pivotal these states are in 2024 can be seen by looking back at 2020’s presidential election results. Although Biden won the popular vote by roughly 7 million votes and 51.3 percent to Trump’s 46.9 percent, the electoral vote was much closer: 306 to 232. The electoral votes of six states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin — proved the difference.

In 2024, those six states will account for a combined 77 electoral votes. Because only 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency, and the states Trump won in 2020 gain three electoral votes, Trump only needs to flip 35 electoral votes from Biden to win this November. Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan’s combined electoral votes are 42.

National polling showing Trump leading Biden is nothing new. According to RealClearPolitics, Biden has not led Trump (44.5–44.3 percent) in its average of national polling since Sept. 10 of last year. On March 26, RCP’s average shows Trump leading 46.6–45 percent. In RCP’s 5-way average, Trump’s margin is slightly larger: 2.3 percentage points. In the battleground states, Trump’s margin is 3.6 percentage points.

However, these are just results in polls. The results in the pivotal battleground primaries — votes cast at the polls, not simple answers given in polls — are more solid. Yes, they confirm polling’s findings of a Trump lead, but they also tell us that Trump’s voters appear more motivated. For whatever reason, Trump’s are showing up; Biden’s are not.

These are just one more indication that Biden has ground to make up. He is going to have to campaign hard in 2024 — versus hardly campaigning in 2020. The downside there is that Biden is poor in public. Under pressure, Biden could easily wind up hurting his chances further, even as he seeks to improve them. In other words: Things are worse for Biden than the “bad” that they appear now — and they very likely could get worse still.

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