A quarter of voters admit their Biden-Trump choice could change by November as most plan to watch first debate

Fifty-five percent of younger and nonwhite voters say they’re still unsure who to vote for

Gustaf Kilander
Washington DC
Tuesday 18 June 2024 21:20 BST
Related video: Trump-Biden prepare as debate nears

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Louise Thomas

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More than a quarter of voters may still change their minds on who to back in November, a new poll shows.

Nine percent said in an NPR/Marist poll that they have yet to make up their minds and an additional 25 percent said that while they have a “good idea” of who they will back, they could still change their mind.

The director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, Lee Miringoff, told NPR that this “taps into the notion that there are still a lot of months to go.”

Meanwhile, 61 percent of survey respondents said they will watch next week’s debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Another 24 percent said they wouldn’t watch the debate but would follow the resulting news coverage and 14 percent showed no interest.

Independents were less likely to say they would watch the debate compared to Republicans and Democrats.

Miringoff noted that since the debates and party conventions have yet to take place, voters are more open to wait and see what happens “even if they do end up right back where they were because they interpret these events in ways that reinforce what they already think.”

Trump and Biden during one of the 2020 debates. The first 2024 debate is set for next week
Trump and Biden during one of the 2020 debates. The first 2024 debate is set for next week (AFP via Getty Images)

Younger and nonwhite voters were more likely to tell the pollsters that their vote was still up for grabs – 55 percent of both groups said they were unsure who they would vote for.

Trump and Biden are tied in the poll at 49 percent each in a head-to-head matchup. Biden is making progress with independent voters, going from 42 percent last month to 49 percent in June.

Miringoff said this may be connected to Trump’s legal woes. The former president was found guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to corruptly influence the 2016 election after he covered up a hush money payment to adult actor Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair in 2006.

Trump also faces charges in connection to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Washington DC and Georgia as well as charges stemming from his alleged mishandling of classified documents in Florida.

“This may be the group that is most influenced by the results of Donald Trump’s legal problems,” Miringoff told NPR. “But independents are very much more persuadable in the whole sea of things that are going to affect this outcome of the election.”

While Biden is doing better among independents, Trump is ahead with voters who dislike both candidates.

Miringoff noted that some unusual trends are beginning to “normalize,” such as Biden’s surprisingly good numbers with white voters. Trump’s lead with that group has gone from six to 12 points since the May poll. Meanwhile, Biden is starting to do better among nonwhite voters, going from an 11-point to an 18-point lead in the last month.

When independent and third-party candidates are included, Trump is ahead by one point – 42 to 41 percent. Environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F Kennedy Jr receives 11 percent in the poll. Miringoff said Kennedy pulls votes “roughly equally” from Biden and Trump.

Fifty-one percent of voters said Trump definitely or probably should serve time behind bars following the hush money conviction while 47 percent said he shouldn’t.

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