Trumpleads in 5 key states, as young and nonwhite voters express discontent with Biden

FILE — Pro-Palestinian protesters march in New York during the Met Gala on Monday evening, May 6, 2024, to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s war in Gaza has fueled protests across the United States and has sapped the support of President Joe Biden among voters who do not sympathize with Israel. (Karsten Moran/The New York Times)

Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in five crucial battleground states, a new set of polls shows, as a yearning for change and discontent over the economy and the Israel-Hamas war among young, Black and Hispanic voters threaten to unravel the president’s Democratic coalition.

The surveys by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer found that Trump was ahead among registered voters in a head-to-head matchup against Biden in five of six key states: Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Biden led among registered voters in only one battleground state, Wisconsin.


The race was closer among likely voters. Trump led in five states as well, but Biden edged ahead in Michigan while trailing only narrowly in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. While Biden won all six of those states in 2020, victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin would be enough for him to win reelection, provided he won everywhere else he did four years ago.

The results were similar in a hypothetical matchup that included minor-party candidates and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who won an average of 10% of the vote across the six states and drew roughly equally from the two major-party candidates.

The findings are mostly unchanged since the last series of Times/Siena polls in battleground states in November. Since then, the stock market has gained 25%, Trump’s criminal trial in New York has started, and the Biden campaign has unleashed tens of millions of dollars in advertisements across the battleground states.

The polls offer little indication that any of these developments have helped Biden, hurt Trump or quelled the electorate’s discontent. Instead, the surveys show that the cost of living, immigration, the war in the Gaza Strip and a desire for change continue to be a drag on the president’s standing. While Biden benefited from a burst of momentum in the wake of his State of the Union address in March, he continues to trail in the average of national and battleground state polls.

The findings reveal widespread dissatisfaction with the state of the country and serious doubts about Biden’s ability to deliver major improvements to American life. A majority of voters still desire the return to normalcy promised by Biden in the last campaign, but voters in battleground states remain particularly anxious, unsettled and itching for change. Nearly 70% of voters say that the country’s political and economic systems need major changes — or even to be torn down entirely.

Only a sliver of Biden’s supporters — just 13% — believe that the president would bring major changes in his second term, while even many of those who dislike Trump grudgingly acknowledge that he would shake up an unsatisfying status quo.

The sense that Biden would do little to improve the nation’s fortunes has helped erode his standing among young, Black and Hispanic voters, who usually represent the foundation of any Democratic path to the presidency. The Times/Siena polls found that the three groups wanted fundamental changes to American society, not just a return to normalcy, and few believed that Biden would make even minor changes that would be good for the country.

Trump and Biden are essentially tied among 18-to-29-year-olds and Hispanic voters, even though each group gave Biden more than 60% of their vote in 2020. Trump also wins more than 20% of Black voters — a tally that would be the highest level of Black support for any Republican presidential candidate since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The polls suggest that Trump’s strength among young and nonwhite voters has at least temporarily upended the electoral map, with Trump surging to a significant lead in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada — relatively diverse Sun Belt states where Black and Hispanic voters propelled Biden to signature victories in the 2020 election.

Biden nonetheless remains within striking distance. He has maintained most of his support among older and white voters, who are much less likely to demand fundamental changes to the system and far likelier to say that democracy is the most important issue for their vote. As a result, Biden is more competitive in the three relatively white Northern swing states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Around 70% of voters believe that Trump will either bring major changes to the political or economic system or tear down the systems altogether, compared with 24% who expect the same from Biden. And while many voters express deep reservations about Trump personally, 43% of voters believe that he will bring good changes to the country, compared with 35% who think the changes will be bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email