Trump is Lagging in the Election Race Despite His Victories

Despite bagging a decisive win in the GOP primary in Michigan on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump didn’t achieve the overwhelming victory margin pre-polling had suggested. 

Polls vs. Reality

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Trump did solidify his lead as the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, outpacing his main rival, Nikki Haley, by almost 42 points (68.1% to 26.5%). 

Still, political insiders and some Democrats pointed out that this marks the fourth time Trump has “underperformed” this season, not achieving the poll-projected margins over Haley.

Trump’s Path to November

Former US President and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump raises his fist at a “Commit to Caucus” event at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, on January 14, 2024. (Photo by Christian MONTERROSA / AFP)
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Even though Trump is nearly certain to clinch the GOP primary, there’s speculation that his latest primary results might signal difficulty in garnering sufficient backing to defeat President Joe Biden in the upcoming general election.

Haley’s Unexpected Gain

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Nikki Haley, despite her minimal campaign efforts in Michigan, managed to secure close to 300,000 votes, a notable achievement in the battleground state. 

Trump’s Campaign Responds


In response to the buzz about Trump not living up to expectations, his spokesperson, Steve Cheung, told Newsweek, “Anyone who thinks that is either delusional or disingenuous.”

Focus on the General Election

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The spokesperson emphasized that Republican voters have consistently backed Trump with overwhelming victories in every primary, declaring the race effectively finished, with their sights now set on the general election against Joe Biden. 

“Our focus is now on Joe Biden and the general election,” he asserted. 

Trump’s Reality Check

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Trump’s lead over Haley in Michigan was a staggering 78.7 percent, as per FiveThirtyEight’s average poll tracker, with a final Emerson College poll suggesting a 52-point lead, 76 to 24, just before the election.

Democratic Insight

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Democratic strategist Tom Bonier highlighted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that Trump’s victory margin in Michigan was less impressive than anticipated, falling 15 points shy of the final prediction by FiveThirtyEight. 

He remarked, “Trump’s 42 point margin in Michigan fell 15 points short of the final 538 poll average. He continues to underperform.”

Pattern of Underperformance

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This pattern wasn’t isolated to Michigan; in South Carolina, despite defeating Haley in her own backyard by 20 points, the win didn’t reach the forecasted 27.7-point lead. 

New Hampshire also told a similar story, where Trump’s win by 11 points missed the nearly 18-point lead projected by polls. 

The Caucus Challenge

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In the Iowa caucuses, although Trump led the pack, including notable figures like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, with a commanding 51 percent, the narrative of underperformance in earlier states persisted.

Predictions vs. Outcome in Iowa

Comparing, Scale, Balls,
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While FiveThirtyEight’s forecast proved closer to the mark, suggesting Trump would secure 52% of the vote in Iowa, an earlier prediction by The Hill/Decision Desk HQ had him outpacing his nearest GOP competitors by a staggering 53 points. 

Concerns on GOP’s 2024 Prospects

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Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg voiced concerns on X, pointing out that “Michigan is the fourth state in a row Trump has underperformed public polling,” asserting a perceived weakness within Trump and the GOP, particularly post-Dobbs decision, which has cast long shadows over their 2024 prospects. 

Significant Underperformance

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Justin Wolfers, from the University of Michigan, also noted Trump’s significant underperformance in recent primaries, challenging the notion of ‘Shy Trumpers’ and questioning the accuracy of general election polls regarding his popularity. 

Trump’s Confidence in Victory


Trump, undeterred, claimed in his victory speech that his Michigan results exceeded expectations and expressed eagerness to contest and win the November election against Biden, whom he labeled the ‘worst president’ in U.S. history.

Public Perception of Biden’s Presidency

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As President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump gear up for the 2024 electoral showdown, the latest NBC News national poll reveals a critical view of Biden’s presidency from registered voters. 

Only 14% believe Biden has surpassed their expectations, while a significant 42% feel he has fallen short of what they anticipated. 

A Shift in Sentiment

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Conversely, reflection on Donald Trump’s presidency reveals a shift in public perception, with 40% acknowledging it as better than expected, highlighting a nostalgic shift in public sentiment as the next election looms.

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