Biden support nosedives in swing states after disastrous debate against Trump

President Joe Biden’s polling numbers have begun to fall in key swing states following his dismal debate performance last week.

That’s according to a confidential polling memo obtained by Puck News. It reveals that states where Biden was clearly ahead, such as New Mexico, Virginia, and New Hampshire, may now be winnable for former President Donald Trump.

Biden is now behind other possible candidates in the polls looking at possible matchups with Trump, including Vice President Kamala Harris and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the memo from OpenLabs shows.

The progressive nonprofit conducts polling and tests messages for a number of Democratic groups, including the nonprofit linked to Biden Super PAC Future Forward.

While OpenLabs doesn’t seek publicity and doesn’t share its client list, its products are trusted among Democrats and are usually shared among small groups of operatives and clients.

Forty percent of those who voted for Biden in 2020 and who took part in a post-debate poll said that the president should now end his campaign. The poll was conducted in the three days after the debate and sent out on Sunday.

Donald Trump leads Joe Biden in several swing states after the first presidential debate (EPA / AP)
Donald Trump leads Joe Biden in several swing states after the first presidential debate (EPA / AP)

A similar poll found that about a quarter of Biden voters thought the president should have left the race when they were asked in May.

Swing voters also appeared displeased with Biden’s debate performance – by a two-to-one margin they now also say that Biden should drop his bid to return to the White House in January 2025.

It should be noted, however, that this is one poll conducted just after the debate and it will take a few weeks to determine how the race shapes up and what the final impact of Biden’s dismal debate will be. But polling from OpenLabs is something Democratic campaigns are unlikely to easily brush off.

Nationally, the survey found that Biden has dropped by 0.8 points. The Biden campaign has attempted to calm the nerves of panicked Democrats by arguing that the debate didn’t have a major impact on the national mood.

On 29 June, two days after the debate, Biden pollster Geoff Garin wrote on X: “I am finishing my second battleground state poll post-debate and both surveys show the same thing: the debate had no effect on the vote choice. The election was extremely close and competitive before the debate, and it is still extremely close and competitive today.”

Similarly, CNN reported that only five percent of respondents said in a poll after the debate that the showdown had changed who they would vote for.

But according to OpenLabs, Biden is doing noticeably worse in key swing states. In a poll that included third-party and independent candidates, Biden was down by about two percent across states which are key to winning the electoral college. States that weren’t thought to be up for grabs also saw declines in support for Biden.

Biden is now behind by seven points in Pennsylvania, where he was trailing by five points before the debate on 27 June. It’s a similar story in Michigan, where he’s also behind by seven points. In Georgia and Arizona, Biden is behind by 10 points and he’s trailing by nine points in Nevada.

In Virginia, Maine, Minnesota, and New Mexico, Biden is now only ahead by a fraction of a point, and in Colorado, he only leads by two points, according to OpenLabs.

The group also found that Biden is now losing New Hampshire, which a Saint Anselm College poll also recently discovered.

The Biden campaign will be looking for any signs that top Democrats may begin to waver on their support for the president.

Crucially, if congressional Democrats begin to believe that the House and the Senate may be in jeopardy, they may publically call for Biden to step aside before the Democratic National Convention next month.

Of the other possible candidates that OpenLabs decided to poll in matchups with Trump, Harris, Whitmer, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg all poll ahead of Biden in the key states. In September, OpenLabs found little difference between the president and the other candidates.