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Can we trust Trump’s huge lead among young people and Hispanics?
Manzanita Miller
Manzanita Miller

The latest New York Times poll of battleground states, which includes detailed cross tabs on various voter demographics, shows former President Donald Trump up by six points over incumbent President Joe Biden in a head-to-head race, and holding nearly “unbelievable” leads among swing voters.

These polls are no doubt capturing an intense backlash against Biden over contentious issues like the Israel-Hamas war, the border crisis, and crushing inflation – however the groups turning against Biden at the highest rates today have been malcontent for some time. 

Young people, Hispanics and independents are all seen turning away from Biden in vast numbers compared to how these groups divvied their votes in 2020. However, it is possible some of these voters are over-estimating their willingness to walk away from Democrats in November.   

Comparing the latest Times poll to the organization’s October 2023 battleground state poll, it is evident that the anti-Biden sentiment among swing voters has been brewing for some time. 

Trump leads Biden 46 percent to 43 percent among young voters in the latest Times poll, with 11 percent refusing to commit. Interestingly, these numbers have been quite consistent for Trump. Last October, Trump earned 46 percent of the vote among 18–29-year-olds, but Biden earned 47 percent. Trump’s numbers with Gen Z have thus been relatively stable in polling for over six months, and Biden’s lead has shrunk slightly. Compared to 2020 though, the shift toward Trump is massive. Biden won under thirties by 24 points in 2020.

How about Hispanics? The current Times poll shows Trump leading among Hispanics 45 percent to 39 percent with 16 percent undecided, a moderate shift toward Trump compared to October. Last fall Biden led Trump 50 percent to 42 percent, and only three percent were unsure. Trump has gained very slightly with Hispanics since October, but Biden has lost eleven points in seven months. Even last fall, Biden was already far below his 2020 margins with Hispanics, a group he won by 33 points four years ago.

The numbers are even worse for Biden with independents. Trump currently leads Biden by nine points among independents, up from a single point in October. Trump leads Biden 48 percent to 39 percent in the current poll, with a full 14 percent undecided. In October, Trump led Biden by one point, 45 percent to 44 percent, and eight percent remained uncommitted. Trump has gained slightly since October with independents and Biden has lost around five points in that time. However, the share of uncommitted voters has nearly doubled.

What we do know is that when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is thrown into the mix, Kennedy earns the highest share of support from the precise demographics Biden has lost double-digits with – young people, Hispanics, and independents. What this implies is that these voters are authentically unhappy with Biden’s platform and have been for some time. If given the opportunity they claim they would throw their support behind Kennedy – a political “mixed bag,” who gathers support from leftists and some independents and conservative leaners.       

That said, when Kennedy is not an option, swing voters still claim they will desert Biden and support Trump by double digits compared to 2020.    

What we can boil the numbers down to is this: Trump has been making incremental gains with swing voters over the past four years, and those gains have held and slightly increased over the past six months. The largest shifts over the past six months have been away from Joe Biden, and an increase in the share of undecided voters.

Trump’s numbers with Gen Z have ever so slightly increased compared to October but remain fairly stable. Trump’s numbers with Hispanics have increased slightly but Biden’s numbers have declined significantly. With independents, Trump’s numbers have increased slightly, and Biden has lost slightly but the share of undecided voters has risen substantially. All three groups have withdrawn their support from Biden by double digits compared to 2020.

— Manzanita Miller is the senior political analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.