Is the election of a second Donald Trump administration in the cards for 2024? If the latest Harvard-Harris poll is any indication, it just might be.
Producing results that will have lefties waking up in cold sweats, the poll shows that Trump leads current president Joe Biden 48 percent to 45 percent in a hypothetical rematch. It also shows that Trump’s leadership in the White House is preferred by four points.
But while few really believe Biden has the capacity to run again three years from now, Trump also beats Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg by a large amount in this same poll.
There’s very little reason to believe at this point that Buttigieg and Harris lack name recognition, which can often explain early poll results like this. Sometimes, you’ll see large amounts of undecideds with the more well-known person leading at around 40 percent. That’s not really indicative of anything. But in this case, Trump touches or nearly touches 50 percent against two of the most high-profile Democrats in the country.
Another interesting aspect of this poll is who Democrats would prefer as their 2024 nominee. Right now, Biden leads that measure with 31 percent, which is to be expected. But what should haunt Democrat dreams is that Kamala Harris holds a firm second place and takes over the top spot if Biden is removed from the race.
As I’ve speculated in the past, the Democrats really have no out with Harris. She checks the identity boxes and is radical enough that a sizable portion of their base will back her no matter what. Yet, she’s an awful general election candidate. Like MSNBC with Joy Reid, they are completely stuck. If the Democrat establishment tries to throw Harris under the bus, there will be a big backlash among their voters. In short, barring some major shift, it’s Biden or Harris in 2024.
The poll did provide results on some possible Republican primary matchups as well. Trump leads with 67 percent if he chooses to run. Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis takes the top spot if Trump doesn’t run, with Mike Pence in second place. And while DeSantis trails Buttigieg and Harris head-to-head, the latter two are mired in the low 40s. That’s the common situation I mentioned earlier. When you have someone who has never run for president, they almost always start low with a high undecided number (in this case 21 percent). We’d have to see how such matchups would poll in a more settled environment.
Regardless, if Trump has an inkling to run, polls like this are evidence he could be successful. The one caveat I would mention, though, is that Trump is most popular with the broader electorate when he’s not ranting and raving. Right now, all you get from the former president are press releases and the occasional interview. If he does run in 2024, the best thing in the world he could do is stay off social media and focus on the issues. Otherwise, he could drive his unfavorable numbers up, and suddenly, Biden (or Harris) could be in a position to win.
Lastly, this poll shows that voters, by growing majorities, see Biden as too old and unhealthy to be president. That it took this long for most to get there is a bit astounding but better late than never. In the end, it’s extremely early, but these results are interesting nonetheless. If you are looking for an overarching theme rather than something specifically predictive, I think what you can take from this is that Democrats are in big trouble.