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2024 Showdown: Biden's bump has flatlined in the polls

Politics2024 Showdown: Biden's bump has flatlined in the polls

It was a poll that rattled the campaign world, disrupting the recent narrative that President Biden was closing the gap with former President Trump in the 2024 election rematch.

A survey that went viral on Sunday indicated Trump topping his Democratic successor by six points in a head-to-head match-up and by nine points in a five-candidate ballot that included Democrat turned independent contender Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Green Party candidate Jill Stein and progressive professor Cornel West.

The CNN poll conducted by SSRS was instantly used as evidence by pundits – and as ammunition by Trump and his team – of the waning of the perceived polling bump the president enjoyed coming out of his well-regarded and aggressive State of the Union address in early March – when he went for the jugular in primetime with numerous salvos fired at his Republican predecessor.

Trump enjoyed the polling edge over Biden in an average of national horserace surveys dating back to last October, but the president’s numbers edged up in the weeks after the State of the Union address.

DID BIDEN PASS OR FAIL: FORMER PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH WRITERS GRADE THE PRESIDENT’S PERFORMANCE

Joe Biden SOTU

President Biden speaks during a State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on March 7, 2024. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Biden’s position in the polls is improving against Trump,” polling analyst Nate Silver said last month.

But Daron Shaw, a politics professor and chair at the University of Texas who serves as a member of the Fox News Decision Team and the Republican partner on the Fox News Poll, is skeptical.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST FOX NEWS POLLING IN THE 2024 ELECTION

“If you want to really parse one-to-two-point shifts one way or the other, then I suppose if you squint very hard, you can convince yourself that he [Biden] bumped up one or two, and now he’s lost one of that,” Shaw said.

Shaw, who served as a top strategist on former President George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, emphasized that “the race has been fairly steady over much of the past nine months.”

President Biden and former President Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon | Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

Veteran pollster Chris Anderson, another member of the Fox News Election Decision Team, and the Democratic partner on the Fox News Poll, said that any bump was a small one.

“There seemed to be, at the very least, a stabilization after the State of the Union,” which tempered earlier perceptions of a Trump advantage.

And showcasing recent Fox News polls in the crucial swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, Anderson noted, “There were signs in there of a little bit of progress for Biden, but again it’s really small.” 

While national surveys garner plenty of attention, the race for the White House is a battle for the states and their electoral votes, which places a spotlight on battleground state polling.

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Analysts argue over how much the State of the Union address fueled the slight rise in the polls by Biden.

“Simply Democrats coming home naturally, which they’ll probably do, versus State of the Union stuff,” Shaw argued. “The main thing about the State of the Union was that it sort of stopped a conversation that was corrosive to Biden, that he’s too old and too feeble and not up to the task. That’s still there, but at least there are not daily stories about it. That was, I think, the success of the State of the Union.”

The CNN poll was followed a couple of days later by a Marist College survey for NPR and the PBS NewsHour that indicated Biden edging Trump by two-points in a head-to-head match-up, and tied with his GOP challenger in a five-candidate field.

A Quinnipiac University national survey in the field at the same time as CNN’s survey indicated Biden and Trump tied in both head-to-head and five-candidate showdowns, while an NBC News poll conducted a few days earlier put Trump up by two in a two-person race and Biden with a two-point edge when the third party and independent candidates were added.

Polls indicate a very close contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Former President Trump boards his plane after speaking at a campaign rally in Freeland, Michigan, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

With six months to go until Election Day, Shaw wondered whether the current polling dynamic would dramatically shift, baring major developments. 

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Pointing to “an era of hyper-polarization where you’ve got two candidates who’ve already run against each other,” Shaw noted that many voters already “know everything about both these two guys.”

“So why would you expect much movement? What is it about this campaign that’s going to educate voters? Which is usually what’s happened in the past and why the numbers move around,” he said.

Anderson agreed, spotlighting “that’s likely to be the story of this election as we go through, that the movement that we’re going to see is likely to be in the margins because so many people are locked in.”

Six months out, Anderson said, “it’s not looking good for Biden, but at the same time, you can see how his base comes home, and he pulls his coalition back together and is suddenly a couple of points higher than he is now.”

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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