President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump

2024 Battleground Virginia Showdown: Biden And Trump Locked In Tight Race

President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump
President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump (File)

As the nation eagerly awaits the 2024 presidential election, a new poll from the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College has revealed a surprising development in the battleground state of Virginia.

For the first time, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are deadlocked in a head-to-head matchup, each garnering 42% of the vote.

This dramatic shift in the political landscape has sent shockwaves through the campaign trails, upending conventional wisdom and raising questions about the potential outcome in this crucial swing state.

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The IPOR poll, conducted between May 12 and May 21, 2024, surveyed 711 likely voters in Virginia and found the race to be a virtual dead heat. When third-party candidates were included, Biden maintained a slim 2-point lead over Trump, 40% to 38%. However, with a margin of error of 4.24%, this advantage falls well within the statistical margin, effectively rendering the contest a tie.

This latest poll marks a significant departure from previous elections, where Democratic presidential candidates have enjoyed comfortable victories in the Commonwealth. In 2016, Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by 5.3 percentage points, and in 2020, he was defeated by Biden by a margin of 10.1 percentage points.

The new data suggests that Trump is making inroads and narrowing the gap, potentially positioning Virginia as a battleground state in the upcoming election.

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Despite the tight race, the poll reveals that only 2% of likely voters remain undecided at this early stage. However, a substantial portion of the electorate, ranging from 14% in a two-way race to 20% in a five-way race, have indicated a willingness to support candidates other than Biden or Trump. This suggests that the third-party candidates, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornell West, could play a pivotal role in swaying the outcome.

The poll findings highlight the economy as the dominant issue on the minds of Virginia voters, with 44% of respondents citing it as the most important factor in their decision-making. This could potentially benefit Trump, as other polls have shown him leading Biden on economic issues. The Biden administration’s handling of the economy, including factors such as inflation and job growth, will likely be a central focus of the campaign in the months ahead.

The poll results also underscore the deep partisan divide that continues to shape the political landscape in the United States. While a majority of likely voters (63%) believe that Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, a significant portion (34%) attribute his victory to election irregularities. Conversely, nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents believe that Trump legitimately won in 2016, with 21% attributing his win to collusion with Russia.

The poll’s findings on favorability ratings for Biden and Trump paint a bleak picture for both candidates. Both are viewed unfavorably by a majority of Virginia voters, with Biden at 58% unfavorable and Trump at 57% unfavorable. This suggests that neither candidate enjoys a significant advantage in terms of public perception, potentially setting the stage for a highly competitive and contentious race.

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In contrast to the negative views of the federal candidates, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin continues to enjoy relatively positive approval ratings, with 49% of respondents viewing him favorably and 40% unfavorably. This trend of Virginians holding more positive views of their state’s leadership, regardless of political affiliation, has been a consistent feature of the state’s political landscape.

The presence of third-party candidates in the race, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornell West, could have a significant impact on the outcome. With 14% to 20% of likely voters indicating a willingness to support these alternative options, their performance could sway the election one way or the other. The poll suggests that these third-party candidates may be drawing support away from Trump, potentially giving Biden a slight advantage.

The poll also reveals interesting insights into the level of enthusiasm and certainty among Virginia voters. While a majority (64%) are very or somewhat certain of their vote choice, and over half (52%) are very or somewhat enthusiastic about voting, a concerning 21% are either not too or not at all enthusiastic about participating in the election.

Virginia’s status as a battleground state has been well-established in recent elections, and the latest Roanoke College Poll suggests that this trend is set to continue.

The tight race between Biden and Trump, coupled with the potential influence of third-party candidates and the sizable proportion of undecided or unenthuusiastic voters, underscores the pivotal role the Commonwealth will play in determining the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.

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