Listen to Michigan campaigning
Aruba Obeid asks voters to cast an uncommitted ballot, instead of voting for U.S. President Joe Biden, outside of Maples Elementary School in Dearborn during the Michigan presidential primary election on February 27, 2024.
(Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

13% of 2020 Swing State Biden Voters Won't Be in 2024 Because of Gaza: Polls

The figure comes as part of a new set of polls that show former President Donald Trump narrowly leading Biden in 5 out of 6 crucial battleground states.

Approximately 13% of poll respondents in six swing states who voted for U.S. President Joe Biden in 2020 but would not vote for him again said that his foreign policy or Israel's war on Gaza were the most important issues determining their vote.

The figure comes as part of a new set of polls released Monday from The New York Times, Siena College, and The Philadelphia Inquirer that show former President Donald Trump narrowly leading Biden in 5 out of 6 crucial battleground states.

"We have warned that this would happen for months, and the Democratic Party didn't give a damn," author and organizer Daniel Denvir wrote on social media in response to the news.

The polls showed Trump leading Biden with registered voters by three percentage points in Pennsylvania, seven in Arizona and Michigan, 10 in Georgia, and a full 12 in Nevada. Only in Wisconsin did Biden edge ahead by two points. Biden won all of these states in 2020, but he could still win in 2024 if he secures Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and does not lose any other states he previously won. The results were slightly different for likely voters, with Trump narrowly leading in every state except for Michigan.

One voter the pollsters spoke to was 30-year-old Gerard Willingham, a Georgia web administrator who voted for Biden in 2020 but said he would vote for a third party candidate in 2024 because of Biden's response to Israel's war on Gaza.

"I think it's made quite a bit of difference in that it made me more heavily than in the past push toward voting for a third party, even if I feel that the candidates almost 100% won't win," Willingham said. "It's starting to reach into my moral conscience, I guess."

"Biden seems to get the blame for the war in Gaza. For the high cost of living, too."

The polling comes after Biden has spent the last seven months providing military, financial, and moral support for the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as it wages a ground and air assault on Gaza that the International Court of Justice ruled could plausibly be a genocide. Only last week did Biden threaten to withhold certain weapons from Israel if it launches a full ground assault on Rafah, but several observers pointed out that Israel's incursions into Rafah so far should already qualify. Further, the poll was conducted from April 28 to May 9, so many respondents would have given their answers before Biden's May 8 remarks.

Palestinian rights and progressive activists have spent the primary season trying to persuade Biden to switch course on Gaza, launching "uncommitted" campaigns that won two delegates to the Democratic National Convention in the key swing state of Michigan. The poll provides further evidence that Biden's support for Israel's war is a real electoral liability.

"There is a cottage industry of political columnists who have said for months that these voters don't exist, only live in Brooklyn and Berkeley and on Twitter, TikTok, etc.," said Hamid Bendaas, communications director of the Institute for Middle East Understanding Policy Project. "To the extent that Biden and his advisers are buying into it, they are costing him the election."

Gaza isn't the only—or even the primary—issue threatening Biden's reflection bid. A quarter of voters consider the economy and cost of living as their most important issues, and more than half of all voters rated the economy as "poor." Further, Biden actually lost more support overall from conservative and moderate Democrats.

Responding to the poll results, journalist Frank Bruni said that Biden needed to "wake up."

While Democratic Party insiders seem to believe that there is no way voters could ultimately prefer Trump's anti-abortion stance and authoritarian leanings, Bruni warned against "complacency."

He pointed out that Democratic senators in Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada did continue to poll ahead of their Republican opponents, suggesting that the problem is less with the Democratic Party overall than with Biden himself.

"Biden seems to get the blame for the war in Gaza. For the high cost of living, too," Bruni wrote.

"Regarding the economy, he has a story to tell—infrastructure investment, the CHIPS Act, low unemployment—and must tell it better, with an eye not on his liberal base, but on the minorities and young people who are drifting away from him," he advised. "That's the moral of the latest numbers: Take no voter for granted. And there's not a second to waste."

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