President Biden trails Donald J. Trump in five of the six most important battleground states a year before the 2024 election, suffering from overwhelming doubts about his age and deep dissatisfaction with his handling of the economy and a host of other issues, according to with new polls. The New York Times and Siena College found.
The results show Mr. Biden losing to Mr. Trump, his most likely Republican opponent, by 3 to 10 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden leads only in Wisconsin, by two percentage points, according to the poll.
In the six battleground states — which Mr. Biden carried into 2020 — the president trails an average of 48 percent to 44 percent.
Dissatisfaction runs high across the Times/Siena poll, with a majority of voters saying Mr. Biden’s policies have hurt them personally. The survey also reveals the extent to which the multiracial and multigenerational coalition that elected Mr. Biden is unraveling. The demographic groups that supported Mr. Biden by overwhelming margins in 2020 are now much more closely contested, as two-thirds of the electorate see the country moving in the wrong direction.
Voters under 30 favor Mr. Biden by just one percentage point, his lead among Hispanic voters is down to single digits, and his advantage in urban areas is half of Mr. Trump’s advantage in rural areas. And while women still preferred Mr. Biden, men preferred Mr. Trump by twice as much, reversing the gender advantage that had fueled so many Democratic gains in recent years.
Black voters — long a stronghold for Democrats and Mr. Biden — now record 22 percent support in those states for Mr. Trump, a level not seen in presidential politics for a Republican in modern times.
Add it all up and Mr Trump leads by 10 points in Nevada, six in Georgia, five in Arizona, five in Michigan and four in Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden had a 2-point lead in Wisconsin.
In a notable sign of a gradual racial realignment between the two parties, the more diverse the swing state, the further behind Mr. Biden was, leading only in the whitest of the six.
According to the poll, Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump are both deeply—and similarly—unpopular. But voters who overwhelmingly said the nation was on the wrong track are taking out their frustration on the president.
“The world is falling apart under Biden,” said Spencer Weiss, a 53-year-old electrical substation specialist in Bloomsburg, Pa., who supported Mr. Biden in 2020 but now supports Mr. Trump, albeit with some reservations. “I would rather see someone who I feel can be a positive role model leader for the country. But at least I think Trump has his heart set on him.”
Mr. Biden still has a year to turn things around. Economic indicators are bullish even if voters don’t agree with them. Mr Trump remains polarizing. And Mr. Biden’s well-financed campaign will aim to shore up his demographic weaknesses. The president’s advisers have repeatedly noted that Democrats successfully pared the party’s losses in 2022 despite Mr. Biden’s low approval ratings at the time.
But the survey shows how Mr. Biden is starting next year with a deficit, even though Mr. Trump has been indicted on criminal charges four times and faces trial in 2024. If the poll results were the same next November, Mr. .Trump would be poised to win more than 300 Electoral College votes, well above the 270 needed to take the White House.
Another ominous sign for Democrats is that voters at all income levels felt that Mr. Biden’s policies had hurt them personally, while crediting Mr. Trump’s policies for helping them. The results were the opposite: voters gave Mr. Trump a 17-point advantage for helping them and Mr. Biden an 18-point disadvantage for hurting them.
For Mr. Biden, who turns 81 later this month, being the oldest president in American history stands out as a stark responsibility. An overwhelming 71 percent said he was “too old” to be an effective president — a view shared by every demographic and geographic group in the poll, including a remarkable 54 percent of Mr. Biden’s own supporters.
By contrast, only 19 percent of supporters of Mr. Trump, who is 77, thought he was too old, and 39 percent of the electorate overall.
Concerns about the president’s advanced age and mental acuity — 62 percent also said Mr. Biden lacks the “mental acuity” to be effective — are just the beginning of a sweeping string of Biden weaknesses in the survey results.
Voters, by a margin of 59 percent to 37 percent, said they trusted Mr. Trump better than Biden on the economy, the largest gap of any issue. The preference for Mr. Trump on economic issues spanned the electorate, among both men and women, those with college degrees and those without, every age range and every income level.
That result is particularly troubling for Mr. Biden because nearly twice as many voters said economic issues will determine their vote in 2024 than social issues such as abortion or guns. And those economic voters favored Mr. Trump by 60 percent to 32 percent..
The findings come after Mr. Biden’s campaign pumped millions of dollars into ads promoting his record, and as the president continues to tour the country to tout the state of the economy. “Guys, Bidenomics is just another way of saying the American dream!” Mr. Biden said Wednesday on a trip to Minnesota.
Voters clearly disagree. Only 2% of voters said the economy was great.
Voters under 30 — a group that voted strongly for Mr. Biden in 2020 — said they trusted Mr. Trump more about the economy by a remarkable margin of 28 percentage points after years of inflation and now high interest rates that have made mortgages much less affordable. Less than one percent of respondents under 30 rated the current economy as excellent, including zero respondents in that age group in three states: Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin.
“I had really high hopes for Biden,” said Jahmerry Henry, a 25-year-old liquor packager in Albany, Ga. “You can’t be worse than Trump. But as the years go by, things happen with inflation, the ongoing war in Ukraine, recently Israel and I guess our borders are not secure at all.”
Now Mr. Henry plans to back Mr. Trump.
“I don’t see anything he’s done to benefit us,” said Patricia Flores, 39, of Reno, Nev., who voted for Mr. Biden in 2020 but will not support him again in 2024.
In 2020, Mr. Biden’s path to victory was to rebuild the so-called blue wall in the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and then expand the map to the diverse Sun Belt states of Arizona and Georgia.
The poll shows Mr. Biden is particularly stronger in industrial northern states than in the more diverse Sun Belt.
And its vulnerabilities span an expansive set of subjects.
Voters favored Mr. Trump over Biden on immigration by 12 points, on national security by 12 points and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 11 points. And although a 58 percent majority supported more economic and military aid to Ukraine — which aligns with Mr. Biden’s policy — that did not appear to benefit the president on broader issues of fitness to handle foreign affairs.
“I don’t think he’s the right guy to go toe-to-toe with these other world leaders who don’t respect him or fear him,” said Travis Waterman, 33, who was working on home renovations in Phoenix. He voted for Mr Biden in 2020 but sees him as “weak” now and prefers Mr Trump.
The gender gap in national security was huge. Men favored Mr Trump 62% to 33%. Women favored Mr. Biden by 47 percent to 46 percent.
Mr. Biden’s strongest issue was abortion, where voters trusted him over Mr. Trump by nine percentage points. Mr. Biden also retained voter confidence by an even narrower three-point margin over Mr. Trump for his looser handling of “democracy.”
Mr. Biden has survived poor showings in the polls in the past. In fact, in October 2022, leading up to the midterm elections, the president’s job approval rating was about the same as it is now. His party still managed to lose fewer seats than expected in the House and gained one seat in the Senate, in part by branding Republican candidates as extremists.
Today, the degree to which voters are repulsed by Mr. Trump’s personality and bombast — which was the glue that helped hold a fractious Democratic coalition together for years — appears to have waned. Only 46% of voters said Mr. Biden had the right temperament to be president, compared to just 43% who said the same for Mr. Trump. That said, Mr. Trump will be more in the spotlight in 2024, including his criminal trials, a growing presence that could remind voters why they were turned off by him in the first place.
The New York Times/Siena College poll of 3,662 registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin was conducted by telephone using live operators from October 22 to November 3, 2023. When all combined states, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. The margin of sampling error for each state is between 4.4 and 4.8 percentage points. Crosstabs and methodology are available here.
Camille Baker, Alice McFadden and Ruth Igielnik contributed to the report.