Heading into the 2024 election, early polling of young voters as well as public anger manifested by Muslim groups over events in the Middle East indicate that President Joe Biden may be losing ground in at least two key voting blocs that have traditionally voted strongly blue in past elections.
Last week, The New York Times reported on an unusual phenomenon currently happening among young voters in America: they do not seem to be leaning in the Democrats’ direction by the same overwhelming margins that they have in past elections. In the last two presidential elections, young voters (aged 18-29) heavily favored the Democratic candidate, with 55% going to Hillary Clinton versus 37% to Donald Trump in 2016 and over 60% going to Biden (with Trump garnering under 40%) in 2020.
But the same pattern does not appear to be materializing in 2024. “Virtually every poll shows a close race between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump among young voters,” the NYT’s Nate Cohn observed. He went on to contend that the reason behind the turnaround is likely because young voters “are by far the likeliest to say he’s just too old to be an effective president.” In addition, “[m]any are upset about his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. And all of this is against the backdrop of Mr. Biden’s longstanding weakness among young voters, who weren’t enthusiastic about him in 2020, and Mr. Trump’s gains among nonwhite voters, who are disproportionately young.”
Meanwhile, Muslim American voters, another key Democratic demographic, also appear to be moving away from the president due to his administration’s support for Israel following the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 and the resulting war in Gaza. At a conference in Detroit on Saturday, Muslim leaders from eight swing states across the country, including Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, gathered to pledge their withdrawal of support for Biden because of his “refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.”
Despite only making up about 1.1% of the U.S. population at 3.45 million, experts say that Muslim Americans can have an outsized influence on the election due to their propensity to largely vote for Democrats. As noted by Axios, Biden won Arizona by only 10,500 votes in a state with an Arab American population of about 60,000, and in Georgia, the president won by only 11,800 votes in a state with about 57,000 Arab Americans.
“Recent polling shows a tightening race in a hypothetical matchup between the 45th and 46th presidents,” Matt Carpenter, director of FRC Action, told The Washington Stand. “President Biden won voters aged 18-34 by 20 points in 2020, and recent data shows younger voters would choose Biden over Trump in a possible rematch by just four points, a remarkable switch in sentiment among this key group of voters. Given the 2020 election was ultimately decided by about 44,000 votes across three states, small movements among key demographics can produce dramatic effects in the electoral college.”
Carpenter continued, “Look also at some of the movement among Muslim Americans. While they are a very small group of voters in America, they voted overwhelmingly for Biden in 2020, giving him almost 70% of their vote. In important swing states, like Michigan, Muslim voters wield an outsized influence on the Democratic Party’s vote share every election cycle. It’s possible in a hypothetical matchup between Biden and Trump we see these key groups of voters return to their historical voting behavior, but I wouldn’t count on it.”
Carpenter went on to point to additional voting blocs that appear to be shifting away from Biden as the 2024 election approaches.
“We have also seen dramatic moves among key voting blocs since 2016, when Donald Trump won by assembling a coalition of non-college educated white voters, who voted for Obama twice, alongside the traditional GOP base,” he observed. “And we have also seen steady movement among Hispanic voters to the GOP in recent cycles, particularly in Florida and Texas. The more these key groups of voters balk at the idea of another four years of the Biden administration, the ceiling lowers a little on Biden’s reelection hopes. There is still a long way to go before election day, including a presidential primary, and anything can happen. But, it’s safe to say the Biden campaign has to be sweating their decline among these key groups of voters.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.
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