UMass Amherst Poll Surveys Americans’ Views on Biden’s Performance, Trump’s Eligibility for 2024 Election and More
The UMass Amherst Poll this week released a series of findings on a number of questions regarding this year’s upcoming presidential election, including whether former President Trump should be allowed on ballots of states who deem him ineligible due to Article 3 of the 14th Amendment, an argument that is, in fact, currently being made before the Supreme Court.
The poll found that a plurality of Americans support removing Trump from presidential ballots due to the “Insurrection Clause,” and also found that three-quarters of respondents – and one-third of Republicans – also say that Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election because of his wife’s reported ties to efforts to overturn its results.
“If the court’s decision is in part influenced by public opinion, the news is not good for the former president, as a plurality of voters (41%) believe that Trump should be removed from their state’s ballot in 2024 for his role in aiding and abetting the insurrection on January 6,” says Tatishe Nteta, provost professor of political science at UMass Amherst and director of the poll. “Unsurprisingly, given the political stakes of this decision, we find a stark partisan divide on this question, with 72% of Democrats supporting Trump’s removal and 77% of Republicans opposing his removal.”
Should Trump ultimately be allowed to appear on ballots this November, it will set up a contest that Nteta says is “fast becoming the sequel that no one asked for” – a rematch between Trump and President Biden.
“With memories of a historically negative campaign, months of former President Trump refusing to concede the election, and the violent insurrection of Jan. 6 still fresh in the memories of Americans, it is not surprising that only 29% of Americans view this matchup as a good thing while a plurality (45%) of citizens believe this potential contest to be bad for the nation,” Nteta says.
“The race between Trump and Biden is a statistical dead heat at this point,” Raymond La Raja, professor of political science at UMass Amherst and co-director of the poll says. “Forty-three percent say they prefer Trump and 39% say they prefer Biden, which is within the margin of error for the poll.”
Ultimately, La Raja says that “a big group of voters don’t want the choices that appear to be imminent in the next presidential election. One in four said they would not vote for Trump or Biden. But when forced to choose almost half of them said they are unlikely to vote at all, and the rest pretty much split their vote between Biden and Trump.”
In surveying respondents’ views on the economy and other issues facing America, the poll found that persistently dim views of the national economy – even in the face of low unemployment, bullish stock markets and easing inflation – continue to be the most serious threat to Biden’s re-election bid this November.
“When Americans perceive that the economy is poor, they take it out on the president,” says Jesse Rhodes, professor of political science at UMass Amherst and co-director of the poll. “So, Americans’ deep frustration with high prices is very bad news for Joe Biden. Going into an election year, an astounding 57% of Americans disapprove of the job Biden is doing. And Biden’s approval is deeply underwater with every group except for Democrats, liberals, African Americans and those with a post-graduate degree – the core of his electoral coalition. Unfortunately for Biden, he’s going to need a much broader coalition of support to win the presidency in 2024. At this point, the only consolation for Biden is that Trump is almost as unpopular as he is.”
“A huge disconnect persists between positive economic indicators and public perceptions of the economy,” says Alexander Theodoridis, associate professor of political science at UMass Amherst and co-director of the poll. “The U.S. has actually done better than most advanced countries in weathering economic storms the last few years (including global inflation), but you wouldn't know it looking at poll numbers. Only 14% of voters recognize that we have had less inflation than most peer nations and only 21% realize that we have enjoyed more growth than our peers. Even substantial numbers of Democrats are surprisingly oblivious to Biden's objective success in navigating challenging post-COVID economic waters.”
More than half of respondents would prefer neither Biden nor Trump run for president and nearly three-quarters of respondents fear violence associated with the election.
The survey also finds that disapproval of the president’s handling of the Israeli-Hamas war, including from those on the left, threatens his chances this November.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents – and one-third of Republicans – also say that Justice Thomas should recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election because of his wife’s reported ties to efforts to overturn its results.