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Super Tuesday Poll: Trump Likely to Sweep Day and General Election Tightening

March 4, 2024
Mainstreet Research
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Former U.S. President Donald Trump maintains a commanding 43-point lead over former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the Republican primary, with 67 percent of GOP voters backing him, according to a new poll of 15 Super Tuesday states by the FAU Political Communication and Public Opinion Research Lab (PolCom Lab) and Mainstreet Research.

Among likely Republican voters, Trump’s lead grows to 46 points, with them favoring the former president by a margin of 73 percent to 27 percent.

“In many ways, Trump’s support is similar to what would be expected of an incumbent running for re-election,” said Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., co-director of FAU’s PolCom Lab and professor of political science. “While Trump is likely to have a very big night on Tuesday, there are some signs that Haley could be competitive in states like Vermont and Virginia.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has no serious competition in the Democratic primary, with 85 percent of Democratic voters supporting him, according to the poll.

In a hypothetical Biden vs. Trump match-up, respondents among all voters showed the race is neck-and-neck, with Biden at 46 percent and Trump at 44 percent in the 15 Super Tuesday States. This marks a decrease for Biden from 2020, where he won the 15 Super Tuesday states by a combined 8 percent, 53 percent to 45 percent against Trump. This decrease, if repeated at a national level, would represent a roughly tied national vote.

Turnout Remains Key

As the partisan vote appears to be firm, much will depend on turnout, and voters across the political spectrum appear interested in voting.

When the respondents were asked whether they are going to participate in the upcoming primaries, they demonstrated a high interest in voting. About 84 percent of voters expressed a willingness to vote, while only 16 percent said that they will abstain from voting in the primaries.

The similar desire to participate was shown when voters were asked about their likelihood of voting in the national November election. Ninety percent reported that they are “very likely” to cast a vote in the fall, and 4 percent said they were “somewhat likely to do so.”

“It seems that voters’ interest in the November elections and primary elections is quite high, despite their frustrations about the prospect of a rematch between Biden and Trump,” said Dukhong Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at FAU.

Divides Remain Among Sectors of Voters and Perceptions of Conduct

In the poll, Trump underperforms among women and college-educated whites against Biden, while at the same time, Trump is showing signs of competing better with Hispanic voters.

“These are consistent patterns that we have seen with these candidates, and much is going to depend on their ability to reach voters that have been difficult for them in the past,” said Robert E. Gutsche, Jr., Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at FAU and strategic lead at PolCom Lab.

The top critiques of Trump among non-supporters are perceptions of his conduct in office and his handling of Jan. 6, 2021, his foreign policy and his personal behavior.

“Nearly 30 percent of voters who are not voting for Trump see his performance in office and the events of Jan. 6 as a key reason not to vote for him,” Gutsche said. “While Trump is able to overcome this in the primaries, it may be a significant issue in November.”

Perceptions of Trump’s conduct in and out of office will likely continue to shape how candidates talk about their contenders throughout the general election.

“In the Feb. 12 FAU poll, we found that a majority of voters disapprove of personal attacks directed at other candidates,” said Carol Bishop Mills, Ph.D., professor of communication in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at FAU and PolCom co-director. “Our recent finding, which indicates that voters are less likely to support a candidate due to concerns about their personal behavior, aligns with those results. Individuals who value empathy and civility in politics are unlikely to vote for Trump, given his pattern of insulting and attacking others, along with his focus on popularity and fame.”

While the state-by-state sample sizes are not large enough to make firm predictions, they do reveal interesting patterns:

State poll results on the likely voters’ choice between Biden and Trump show that Biden has a small advantage in Colorado and Virginia, where he won over Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Both states are likely to be competitive in the fall.

Results also reveal a potential Trump problem in Utah where Trump has a single digit lead. Trump won easily over Biden by 21 percent in the 2020 election.

The poll was conducted from Thursday, Feb. 29 to Sunday, March 3, among a sample of 3,502 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in Super Tuesday states. It was conducted using text message recruitment and IVR and with the intention of representing the voting population in Super Tuesday states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level; margins of error are higher in each subsample. View the poll and report at www.faupolling.com. For full crosstabs and to subscribe for exclusive access on future poll data, subscribe at www.mainstreetusapoll.com.

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