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Then-President Donald Trump and then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump Beats Both Biden and Harris in Hypothetical 2024 Run: Poll

"If we decide to just kind of sit back for the rest of the year and not change people's lives—yeah, I do think we're in trouble," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Kenny Stancil

If the 2024 election were held today, former President Donald Trump would beat both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

That's according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, which finds that if the incumbent and his predecessor were to face off again, 47% of voters would support Trump while 41% would back Biden. Harris fares even worse in a hypothetical match-up, with just 38% of voters saying they would choose her, compared with 49% who would pick Trump. Twelve percent of voters remain undecided.

While the next presidential contest is more than two and a half years away, the poll "portends trouble for Democrats in their 2024 effort to maintain control of the White House after taking it back less than two years ago," The Hill, which obtained exclusive access to the survey, reported Tuesday.

"If the president does pursue and start to govern decisively using executive action and other tools at his disposal, I think we're in the game."

Although Trump could still face legal consequences for his role in fomenting a coup attempt against the U.S. government and for decades of tax evasion and other financial crimes, the far-right former president "has repeatedly hinted that he's considering another bid for the presidency and remains deeply popular among the GOP's conservative base," the news outlet added.

The results of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey—based on a representative online sample of 1,990 registered voters, conducted from March 23 to 24—corroborate the findings of the latest poll from NBC News, which reported Sunday that Biden's job approval had fallen to 40%, the lowest level of his presidency.

Majorities of respondents—1,000 of whom were contacted by phone from March 18 to 22—criticized the president's handling of the economy, which is undergoing inflationary pressure that many experts and much of the electorate blame on corporate profiteering, and said they think the country is moving in the wrong direction.

According to NBC, "The erosion in Biden's approval rating has been across the board among key demographic groups, including Black respondents (from 64% approve in January to 62% now), women (from 51% approve to 44%), Latinos (from 48% to 39%) and independents (36% to 32%)."

In addition, the survey found that when U.S. adults were asked which party should control Congress, Republicans enjoyed a two-point advantage over Democrats (46% to 44%) ahead of November's midterm elections, the first time the GOP has led on that question since 2014.

"What this poll says is that President Biden and Democrats are headed for a catastrophic election," GOP pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinions Strategy, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, told the news outlet. "You cannot get down to the low 40s in presidential approval unless you have strained your own base."

That interpretation is shared by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

"We need to acknowledge that this isn't just about middle of the road, an increasingly narrow band of independent voters," Ocasio-Cortez said in an New York magazine interview published Tuesday. "This is really about the collapse of support among young people, among the Democratic base, who are feeling that they worked overtime to get this president elected and aren't necessarily being seen."

For months, progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups—frustrated that Biden's legislative agenda has ground to a halt thanks to opposition from the GOP and a handful of right-wing Democrats—have urged the White House to use its executive authority to the fullest possible extent to challenge corporate greed, improve the lives of working people, and secure a livable planet. Previous polling, meanwhile, shows that voters from both parties overwhelmingly want Biden to crack down on corporate abuses of power.

Ocasio-Cortez, for her part, is part of the 98-member Congressional Progressive Caucus that recently gave Biden a list of 55 executive actions that his administration can take immediately, ranging from lowering sky-high drug prices to canceling student loan debt, expanding protections for immigrants, closing tax loopholes used by the wealthy, and declaring a climate emergency in order to mobilize an adequate response.

"If the president does pursue and start to govern decisively using executive action and other tools at his disposal, I think we're in the game," said Ocasio-Cortez. "But if we decide to just kind of sit back for the rest of the year and not change people's lives—yeah, I do think we're in trouble."

"I don't think that it's set in stone," she added. "I think that we can determine our destiny here."

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