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Pollsters predict Biden, Trump rematch

POINT CLEAR, Ala. — The U.S. presidential election is likely to be a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, Republican and Democrat pollsters said Saturday.

Dave Sackett of the Virginia-based Tarrance Group and Kevin Akins of the Montgomery based Impact Research, broke down the early math and the maps going into the 2024 presidential election Saturday at the Business Council of Alabama’s annual governmental affairs conference. 

“It’s my opinion that it seems like we’re headed for a rematch,” Atkins, a pollster for Democrats including Biden. “The devil you know or the devil you dislike more.” 

Key states in 2024 will include Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and parts of the Midwest.

Trump becomes president again if he can solve the math problem to pick up votes in areas such as the Rust Belt, said Sackett, whose firm’s work focuses on Republicans.

“And if turnout is significant amongst white voters with sort of lower-education levels in the U.P. of Michigan, in the west part of Pennsylvania … if you can alter the math problem in a Michigan and Pennsylvania, perhaps even in Wisconsin, and flip one of those states, that would be the case,” he said. “President Biden is reelected if and when the Democratic Party figures out how to replicate the intensity of their turnout and voter motivation effort on the issue of abortion in 2024 in a way that they did in 2022.” 

Sackett noted that in favorability polls, Trump’s numbers have not been hurt in the last year as his legal problems and indictments mounted. 

“Everyone decided how they feel about Donald Trump a long time ago, and all the rest of this is just noise,” he said.

Atkins said Trump wins next year if Biden fails to connect or has any further erosion with traditional Democratic base groups.

“That’s gonna be younger voters, more diverse voters, it’s going to be certain nuanced regions of the country,” Atkins said. “I really think that probably Biden holds the truest of swing voters,  probably holds a small margin with them. But that will not matter if there’s further base erosion of the Democratic Party Democratic Party.”

Sackett said the GOP nominee would likely be largely decided by the end of February — after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina caucuses and contests. Alabama is part of Super Tuesday in early March.

“It’s pretty much decided by the time you get to South Carolina,” Sackett said. 

He said some of the long-shot GOP candidates were in the race to “disrupt” and others are enjoying the time in the spotlight.

“There is nothing as fun as running for president when you know you can’t win,” he said.

On issues, there is overlap between what is important to Republicans and Democrats, Akins said.

“For the Democrats to be successful down the ticket, we’ve got to figure out — and I’m doing my damnedest — to make sure that they know mid level and down ballot candidates know how to talk about the economy for sure, because that’s a shared value with all voter subgroups,” he said.

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