Yahoo News/YouGov poll: Trump loses slim lead over Biden as 1st criminal trial gets underway

The presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees are now tied at 44% heading into the general election.

Two separate photos show President Biden and former President Donald Trump standing in front of microphones.
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Matt Rourke/AP, Wilfredo Lee/AP

A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that former President Donald Trump’s slim polling edge over President Biden has evaporated as the first of Trump’s four criminal trials finally gets underway this week — leaving the two parties’ presumptive 2024 nominees tied at 44% apiece heading into the general election.

Last month, Trump narrowly led Biden 46% to 44% among registered voters. At the end of January, Trump was ahead 45% to 44%. Both of these results were within the poll’s margin of error — meaning that, statistically speaking, Trump and Biden have been on roughly equal terms for some time.

Still, the latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll’s tightening margin reflects a larger trend showing modest improvement for Biden in national surveys conducted since his State of the Union address in March.

It may also underscore the challenge ahead for Trump — a candidate who has never won more than 47% of the national popular vote — in growing his support at a time when he could become the first convicted felon in U.S. history to lead a major party’s presidential ticket.

Asked which candidate they would vote for “if Trump is convicted of a serious crime in the coming months,” just 36% of voters now say the former president — down from 40% in March, and fewer than ever before.

Biden’s backing ticks up 1 point in that scenario, to 45%, giving him a 9-point advantage.

To put that hypothetical shift in perspective, large majorities of Americans consider each of the major charges against Trump — “falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments to a porn star” (57%); “taking highly classified documents from the White House and obstructing efforts to retrieve them” (69%); “attempting to obstruct the certification of a presidential election” (69%); and “conspiring to overturn the results of a presidential election” (73%) — to be “serious crimes.”

And those numbers have been rising.

Biden remains vulnerable on age and the economy

The new Yahoo News/YouGov survey of 1,746 U.S. adults, which was conducted from April 11 to April 15, still shows big vulnerabilities for Biden.

Just 40% of Americans approve of the job he’s been doing as president, for instance, while 54% disapprove — statistically unchanged from previous surveys. No other modern president — including Trump — has registered such a low approval rating at this stage of his presidency.

Trump also continues to enjoy a large advantage over Biden on perceptions of age and fitness for the presidency. When asked about each candidate separately, more Americans say Trump accomplished “a lot” as president (39%) than say the same about Biden (28%); more also say Trump is “fit to be president” (41%) than say that about Biden (29%). Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say Biden, 81, is “too old for another term as president”; just 36% say Trump, 77, is too old.

The post-pandemic U.S. economy has been steadily improving, but those improvements are not helping the incumbent. Instead, a majority of Americans still believe economic conditions are getting worse (51%) — up from 46% in December — rather than getting better (21%). And while Democrats are split on the economy (with 54% rating it excellent or good and 43% rating it fair or poor), few independents (20% excellent/good, 75% fair/poor) or Republicans (15% excellent/good, 83% fair/poor) give it positive marks.

Perhaps worst of all for Biden and the Democrats is the trend line on perceived inflation. The number of Americans who say it is “getting worse” has risen 5 points since March to 61%, topping the previous high of 60% set in September 2022, while the number who say inflation is “getting better” has fallen over the same period from 17% to 14% — the lowest mark since 13% in September 2022.

In reality, the U.S. inflation rate has plummeted from 8.2.% in September 2022 to 3.5% today.

How a Trump conviction could change the race

But the bad news for Trump is that when Americans are forced to choose the bigger problem regarding “their fitness for the presidency,” more point to Trump’s criminal charges (40%) than Biden’s age (38%). And while the share of Americans citing Biden’s age as the bigger problem is dropping (from 41% in March), the share who see Trump’s criminal charges as the bigger problem seems to be holding steady now that his legal issues are front and center.

Ultimately, a full 57% of Americans now say Trump should not be allowed to serve again if convicted of a serious crime; just 29% say he should be allowed to serve again. Last month, those numbers were 55% and 31%, respectively.


The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,746 U.S. adults interviewed online from April 11 to April 15, 2024. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to Nov. 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 27% Republican). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.6%.