Biden Trails Trump by 20 Points on the Economy in New NBC News Poll

A new NBC News poll released on Sunday found dire news for President Joe Biden’s reelection hopes.


A new NBC News poll released on Sunday found dire news for President Joe Biden’s reelection hopes. The president trails Republican frontrunner Donald Trump by five points overall and by an eye-popping 20 points on the question of who would better run the economy.

  • The new survey of 1,000 registered voters found Trump leading Biden 47% to 42%, while 60% voters disapproved of Biden’s performance as president with only 37% giving him positive marks. About 16% of voters “strongly approve” of Biden, while 49% “strongly disapprove.”
  • NBC News’ Steve Kornacki said the poll represents “the biggest lead NBC has ever had in 16 polls for Donald Trump over Joe Biden” taken in the five years since Biden announced he would challenge Trump back in 2019.
  • Voters give Trump strong ratings compared to Biden on handling the economy (55%-33%), immigration (57%-22%), and crime (50%-29%), while he leads Biden by smaller but still significant margins on “being competent and effective” (48%-32%) and “improving America’s standing in the world” (47%-36%).
  • Survey respondents only thought Biden would be better at handling three issues: “protecting democracy” (Biden leads Trump by 2, 43%-41%); abortion (44%-32%), and “treating immigrants humanely and protecting immigrant rights” (48%-31%).
  • NBC found the gender gap growing between the two candidates – to the benefit of Trump. Trump lost female voters by 15 points while winning men by 8 points in 2020. Now, NBC finds his lead among men has ballooned to 22 points, while he’s closed the gap among women and only trails Biden by 10 points.
  • All is not lost for Biden, however – the survey did find one event could flip the race in Biden’s favor. Should Trump be convicted of a felony before the general election, significant numbers of voters would abandon Trump and Biden would then win by a narrow 45%-43% margin.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Mediaite covered the on-air reaction of NBC News personalities to the results of their poll. Kristen Welker called the poll “stunning” and bemoaned that voters were not giving Biden credit for the economy. “The economy is so striking,” Welker said, “because jobs are up. Inflation is down. Voters aren’t giving him credit for that clearly.” 
  • CNN’s Harry Enten pointed out that despite Biden’s low national poll numbers, he could still pull off a general election victory by carrying all of the swing states in either the Great Lakes or the Sun Belt. Biden’s state polling appears to hold up better in the Great Lakes, a distinction that’s been obscured in some of the national surveys of the race.
  • The New York Times noted that Biden is not taking every available opportunity to make his case to the voters – in fact, he plans to skip the traditional Super Bowl Sunday interview for the second consecutive year. Biden has not sat down for a major network interview since October.



  • National Review’s Rich Lowry called the poll “a train wreck for Joe Biden.” Lowry writes that “These numbers represent such a debacle, I understand why so many smart people assume that Democrats will switch out Biden — because he represents an insane bet for their party.” Lowry did point out that “Lawfare is the bright spot for Biden in this poll, by the way, since he pulls ahead in the hypothetical matchup if Trump is convicted.”
  • The New York Post noted that “when third-party candidates were added to the mix, Trump’s edge expanded to six points, dispatching Biden 41% to 35%, with a Libertarian candidate nabbing 5%, Green Party getting 5%, and No Labels notching 4%.”
  • The Commentary Podcast explored how “Biden’s horrible, horrible poll” could affect the ongoing negotiations over a new bill to address the border crisis. Given Biden’s terrible numbers, the hosts posit that Republicans have little incentive to help him with this border bill and that this poll could be yet another obstacle towards passage of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration package.

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© Dominic Moore, 2023