Roughly a year out from the 2024 US presidential election, Stack Data Strategy has published its first set of MRP model estimates. As the largest poll to date, and the only MRP conducted so far, it gives us a good view of how the race for the White House is shaping up before the primaries begin. And as things stand, despite losing the popular vote, Donald Trump is on course to beat Joe Biden in the electoral college by 292 votes to 246.
A year is a very long time in politics, but this megapoll allows us to highlight the emerging battlelines as we head into 2024 – and the three key conditions driving Trump’s current advantage.
The first is that Trump is currently holding onto all the states he won in 2020. Winning states such as Florida, North Carolina and Ohio will be key in securing the electoral votes critical to winning the presidency.
The gains Trump made in 2020 in south Florida, and particularly in Miami-Dade County, home to a massive population of Hispanic and Latino voters, were astounding. Biden only won the county by a 7.4 point margin, when Hilary Clinton had carried it by a whopping 29.4-point margin in 2016. As things stand, Trump is set to repeat his performance. Our model has him winning the state by a comfortable 7-point margin.
Similarly, Trump is set to repeat his performance in Ohio. While Obama won the state in both 2008 and 2012, Trump carried it by an 8 point margin in 2016 and 2020. Rather than being the quintessential swing state, it may now be a relatively safe Trump vote; he’s currently on course to win by a solid 11 point margin.
His narrowest margin among the states he won in 2020 is in North Carolina. Our model shows a margin of slightly over 2.5 points. He will need to hold onto this; without those 16 electoral votes, the path to the white house gets complicated fast, as he will need to flip more 2020 Biden states. As things stand, however, Trump’s strong performance in retaining his previously won states is giving him a solid base to work from.
He’s also putting the team back together. The second condition driving Trump’s potential win in 2024 is that he is re-building his 2016 path to the White House. If he holds onto his states, he can win by taking any three of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which he won in 2016, and lost in 2020.
These four states had the closest margins of the 2020 election, with Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin all having margins under 1 per cent. In our model, Trump is ahead in all four.
Joe Biden is still putting up a fight. As things stand, we have him winning in crucial states such as Michigan, a state Trump initially won in 2016 before it flipped to Biden in 2020, and Nevada, both with razor thin margins under 2 points. Biden will need to hold on to these, and to shore up support in the battleground states Trump is ahead in.
This may be harder than before. The third condition driving Trump’s performance is that our model shows Biden slipping among demographic groups.
Our polling, along with others such as the New York Times, has found Biden losing support among African Americans and younger voters aged 18-34. Winning a combination of these demographic groups was key to Biden winning Pennsylvania during the 2020 election, where he was able to do well within Philadelphia as well as the suburban counties that surround it.
Due to the extremely tight margins within the Biden 2020 states, even a few lost points of support can mean the loss of thousands of votes – potentially flipping states to Trump. If this trend continues, the Biden campaign will be in serious trouble.
We’re still a long way out from the 2024 election, and a lot can change over the next 12 months. The Biden campaign will be placing a great deal of hope on it doing so.