Harris and Trump Are Neck and Neck in Polls

Vice president outperforms or statistically ties Biden in 3 of them
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2024 7:23 AM CDT
Harris and Trump Are Neck and Neck in Polls
Vice President Kamala Harris is seen during the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans on Saturday.   (Matthew Perschall/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

"Does Kamala Harris have what it takes?" That's the question posed by the Independent as it speculates on the US vice president's chances of beating Donald Trump should President Biden step aside so she can make a run in November. According to recent polls, the answer seems to be "yes," though by the narrowest of margins.

  • Poll No. 1: Per USA Today, a Bendixen & Amandi survey of 1,000 registered voters shows that Biden would lose to Trump, 42% to 43%, with 3% choosing third-party candidates and 10% deeming themselves undecided. Harris, however, would win over Trump 42% to 41%, with 3% going to independent candidates and 12% remaining undecided.
  • Gavin Newsom or Gretchen Whitmer? The California and Michigan governors, who've also been floated as names to replace Biden, were included in the B&A poll, too, though they didn't fare as well against Trump—Newsom comes in at 37% to Trump's 40%, while Whitmer loses to Trump 36% to 40%. The undecideds in their cases are 15% and 17%, respectively.
  • Poll No. 2: Reuters reports on a CNN poll released July 2, which saw Biden trailing Trump 43% to 49%, a 6-point deficit. Harris also loses to Trump, but only 47% to 45%, within the margin of error. That same poll finds Harris leading Trump among independent voters 43% to 40%, while moderate voters of both parties prefer Harris over Trump 51% to 39%.
  • Poll No. 3: A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted immediately after Biden's disastrous debate similarly saw Harris and Trump neck and neck, with 42% and 43%, respectively. Biden ties Trump in this scenario, both with 40%. Both Harris and Biden's numbers against Trump fall within the margin of error, "making Harris' showing statistically just as strong as Biden's."

  • Voter appeal: In the CNN poll, Harris, 59, outperformed the 81-year-old Biden in two key demographics: independents and women. Black voters would also likely prove key to a Harris victory over Trump. "Black people, in the wake of that Supreme Court decision [on presidential immunity], understand the threat," a Democratic strategist tells the Independent. "They know they may not like her, but she's one of us, and she will look out for us." Some Democrats also think she could bring young voters back into the mix, especially those unhappy with Biden's handling of Israel's war in Gaza.
  • Another alternative? There's someone besides Harris who polls even better against Trump: former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who led Trump 43% to 41% in the B&A poll. "I'm really surprised by Hillary's strength," Democratic pollster Fernand Amandi says. "While some dismiss her as yesterday's news ... voters at least in this poll suggest they may be open to a Clinton comeback, and that a ticket with Clinton as president and Harris as vice president" might be even more powerful.
  • An even more remote alternative: In the Reuters poll, former first lady Michelle Obama polled even higher than Harris in terms of beating Trump, bringing in 50% to Trump's 39%. But, the outlet notes, Obama "has never expressed any interest in getting into the race."
(More Election 2024 stories.)

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