Biden has ‘golden opportunity’ despite defectors in key voting blocs: Memo – Washington Examiner

A new memo analyzing 11 recent polls identified two groups of voters that may tilt the 2024 election in favor of either former President Donald Trump or President Joe Biden.

The Blueprint memo released Thursday took an in-depth look at Biden “defectors” who voted for him in 2020 but plan to vote for Trump this cycle, as well as those who voted for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the GOP primary, who are characterized as “up for grabs.”

“These Haley voters are being pushed out of the Republican coalition by two simultaneous factors: personal revulsion towards Donald Trump and the rightward slide of the party itself,” Blueprint’s head pollster Evan Roth Smith told the Washington Examiner. “These two factors may, of course, be linked, as they see Trump empower new kinds of voices within the GOP while abandoning much of the party’s traditional conservative wing.”

The memo from the left-leaning polling company notes that Biden has a “golden opportunity” to court Haley voters after she dropped out of the Republican primary, and that the number of Haley voters in key swing states like New Hampshire, Michigan, North Carolina, and Georgia is greater than the 2020 winning margins in those states.

According to the data, Haley voters align with Biden more so than Trump on a variety of pressing issues, including but not limited to democracy, abortion, Social Security and Medicare, healthcare, and the war in Ukraine.

Smith shared that of the non-Democratic voters who preferred Haley, 20% were registered Republicans, while 80% were independents, including 37% Democratic-leaning independents, 18% Republican-leaning independents, and 25% non-leaning independents.

“These voters do indeed side with Biden across policy issues and character of the candidates, and we’ve seen support for this in GOP primary exit polling,” Smith said.

Blueprint’s word association test revealed that Haley voters also tend to associate the words “corrupt” with Trump and “old” with Biden as the former president deals with more than 80 criminal charges and the current president is 81 years old and would be 86 at the conclusion of a second term.

Among Haley voters, Trump is also strongly associated with the words “selfish,” “dangerous,” “erratic,” and “controversial.” On the other hand, Biden is associated with “liberal,” “experienced,” honorable,” and “diplomatic.”

“If the Biden campaign can convince Haley voters that their policy views do indeed fit inside the Democrat’s bigger tent and complement that GOP push with a Democratic pull, they will be well positioned to seize the opportunity these voters present,” Smith said.

“Even absent that,” he continued, “Many of these voters seem organically poised to gravitate towards Biden both on an anti-Trump basis and policy basis. They simply don’t fit well within the current coalition of the Republican Party, as the primary outcomes indicate.”

The poll also dove into the demographics of Biden’s “defectors” who voted for him in 2020 but plan to vote for Trump in November.

Among Biden’s defectors, 53% identify as moderate, while 14% identify as liberal; 38% are ages 18 to 34, with another 30% in the 35 to 49 age bracket; and 26% are black, with 10% identifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino. Additionally, 52% of Biden’s detractors are female, and 61% are college-educated.

Several voting blocs represented in the defector figures typically lean left, and when Trump shocked the world with his 2016 victory, it was Obama voters who vaulted him across the finish line.

“Blueprint’s view is that the defectors are exactly the kind of voter Biden is poised to win over as the race progresses,” Smith told the Washington Examiner. “The campaign seems aware of the pathway to shore up this category of voter that skews younger, moderate, and less white than Biden’s most consistent supporters.”

Smith explained that the defectors who may now be signaling support for Trump over Biden “are exactly the sort of voter that we see responding” to the policies that he says are apparently being “aggressively foreground[ed] since the State of the Union.”

Blueprint’s memo analyzed data from 11 surveys conducted between Nov. 29, 2023, and March 10, 2024. More than 12,000 voters were represented in the polls, and respondents were weighted by education, gender, race, and 2020 election results.


“These voters chose Biden over Trump in 2020 given the exact same decision they will face this November,” Smith said. “And my read is that as the Biden campaign works to mitigate concerns they may have around the president … and as Trump receives more coverage as the Republican nominee, these defectors will be reminded of the factors that caused them to choose Biden last time, and return to that position.”

The Washington Examiner reached out to the Trump and Biden campaigns for comment.