With the first presidential primary debate set to take place at the end of August, the race for the White House is finally getting started, and things will only heat up as the temperature grows colder.
What that will bring as far as the dynamics of either primary, I don’t know. What I do know is that Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the presumptive nominees at this moment in time. With that matchup in mind, the latest ABC News poll has been released, and it’s a disaster for everyone involved.
Ooof. The findings of this new ABC News poll.— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 4, 2023
None of these numbers are good for Trump or Biden. pic.twitter.com/NbQWCfTewi
We’ll start with Donald Trump, as there are several ancillary questions asked about his recent indictment to discuss. 65 percent of respondents feel that the charges against the former president are “very or somewhat serious” while 52 percent believe that Trump should have been charged, with 32 percent saying he should not have been. That points to a DOJ strategy that is working, and one Democrats are more than happy to benefit from.
Specifically, the indictments of Trump are boosting his primary support while at the same time harming him in regard to the general election. You have to remember that most people are never going to read the various indictments. They are never going to see that the most recent January 6th-related charges are, legally speaking, extremely weak. All they are going to hear is political rhetoric, and Democrats will presumably own the airwaves in 2024 given the former president’s fundraising woes.
We saw a preview of that when special counsel Jack Smith gave his presser on Trump’s latest indictment. Instead of speaking to the law and what evidence existed, he gave an exposition on the events of January 6th. That despite the fact that Trump is not charged with inciting January 6th. But again, all that most people will hear is the rhetoric, not the legal realities.
Putting that issue aside, though, the broader numbers for both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are objectively terrible. Trump’s favorable rating currently sits at 30 percent while Biden tops out at 33 percent. In other words, the 2024 election is looking like a rematch of two of the least popular political figures in the country.
That could theoretically play in Trump’s favor given he won in 2016 against Hillary Clinton by facing a foe who was equally unpopular. That depressed turnout in the mid-west (i.e. Mitt Romney winning more total votes in Wisconsin than both Trump and Clinton), allowing a breach of the once-touted “blue wall.” Planning on a repeat of that is risky, though, because Trump has become a driver of Democrat turnout in the last several election cycles.
It’s also impossible to say how a general electorate would react if Trump were actually convicted of any of the charges against him before the voting starts. Given 52 percent in the poll believe he should have been charged, it’s unlikely that would play in Trump’s favor. It’s at least possible that an unforeseen backlash would materialize, though.
We are truly in uncharted territory. You have two deeply unpopular political figures who are the presumptive nominees of their parties, with one facing impeachment while the other is facing criminal prosecution. And if you think things can’t get crazier, think again.