‘Double Haters’ Could Determine the Winner of a Biden-Trump Rematch

President Joe Biden, left, and former President Donald Trump.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File; AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr.

  • Biden and Trump are both poised to enter the 2024 general election with high unfavorable ratings.
  • The election could be determined by “double haters,” or voters who view both candidates negatively.
  • In 2016, Trump won among “double haters.” Four years later, it was Biden who won this group.

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have at least one thing in common: they’re both unpopular figures headed into the 2024 election.

It’s a significant change of events for Biden, who in October 2020 had a 53% favorability rating among likely voters, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll. Now, Biden’s favorability among likely voters sits at 41%, while Trump has a slightly better 44% favorability rating.

What does this all mean ahead of November?

Should Biden and Trump emerge as the nominees of their respective parties, a significant number of voters will go to the ballot box with an unfavorable view of both major-party candidates. These voters are often called “double haters,” as they’ll have to choose between two candidates that they don’t like.

They could also be the swingiest voting bloc of the 2024 election, and in the end could prove decisive in boosting the fortunes of either Biden or Trump.

Biden led Trump among “double haters” by a 45% to 33% margin in the Times/Siena poll, according to the Times. Per the newspaper, this group made up 19% of respondents in the survey, setting up “double haters” to be a defining voting bloc in the November race.

In 2016, Trump won among “double haters,” as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s once-high favorable ratings cratered during the campaign. And in 2020, Biden — who had served as vice president for eight years under President Barack Obama — was able to capitalize off of Trump’s widespread unpopularity among the electorate.

But this year, Biden’s troubles are fueled by concerns over his age, sharp divisions over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war, and the tenuous perception of the country’s economic recovery, while Trump is dogged by fallout from his tumultuous first term, his response to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, and his 91 criminal charges.

In the end, the “double haters” could end up saving Biden’s presidency. Or they could give Trump an edge.

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