President Biden’s Fraying Coalition

The Wall Street Journal

The general election begins this week. When all the Super Tuesday votes are counted and delegates allocated, both President Biden and Donald Trump will have insurmountable leads for their parties’ presidential nominations. Mr. Biden will state his case for re-election on Thursday evening when he delivers this year’s State of the Union address.

On cue, major media organizations including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News and Fox News released stage-setting surveys with similar findings: Mr. Trump leads Mr. Biden by between 2 and 5 points nationwide, and the inclusion of minor-party and independent candidates modestly expands Mr. Trump’s margin.

Polls are snapshots, not predictions, but the correlation between current results and final outcomes will increase as we near the election. Even if there are surprises along the way—and it would be shocking if there aren’t any—we can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the major-party candidates as the opening gun sounds.

Broadly speaking, the coalition that gave Mr. Trump 47% of the vote in 2020 remains intact, while Mr. Biden’s winning coalition has frayed significantly. According to the New York Times/Siena poll, 97% of those who voted for Mr. Trump four years ago intend to do so again in 2024, compared with 83% for Mr. Biden. Ten percent of Mr. Biden’s former supporters say that they will switch to Mr. Trump. This helps explain the top-line numbers: Mr. Biden outpolled Mr. Trump in 2020 by nearly 4.5 points but now trails him by 2.1, a 6.6-point swing.