The Democrats' options, the economy, and the UK election: the July 7 - 9, 2024 Economist/YouGov Poll

David MontgomerySenior data journalist
July 10, 2024, 7:02 PM GMT+0

This week’s Economist/YouGov poll covers the election, the continuing impact of the first debate, possible Democratic alternatives should Biden step aside, the economy, presidential legal immunity, and the UK elections.

The 2024 election

State of the race

  • Donald Trump has a 3-percentage-point edge over Joe BIden, not much different from Trump's 2-point lead last week, just after this year’s first debate
  • 89% of Biden supporters and 94% of Trump supporters say their minds are made up
  • There is a sizable difference in supporters’ levels of enthusiasm: 52% of Biden supporters are very or extremely enthusiastic, including 36% who are extremely enthusiastic, compared to 67% of Trump supporters who are enthusiastic, 49% of whom are extremely enthusiastic
  • 15% of Biden supporters say they are not at all enthusiastic, compared to 6% of Trump supporters
  • Only 68% of Biden supporters expect their preferred candidate to win the election, compared with 92% of Trump supporters
  • Among all Americans, 48% expect a Trump victory in November, while 29% expect Biden to win — the largest Trump advantage on this question since it was first asked in April 2023
  • Democrats are more solidly behind Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives than behind Biden: 96% of registered Democrats say they will vote for a Democratic House candidate in the fall, compared with 85% who plan to vote for Biden
  • Overall, 46% of registered voters intend to vote for the Democratic House candidate in the district where they live, compared to 44% who plan to vote for the Republican candidate — when neither candidate is named
  • Among registered voters intending to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican in their House election, 51% plan to vote for the Democrat
  • Among registered voters intending to vote for Biden or Trump, 48% plan to vote for Biden

The debate's impact

  • Trump continues to be viewed as the winner of the first presidential debate by more Americans than say Biden won, by 49% to 12%
  • According to last week's poll, conducted just after the debate, 46% said Trump won the debate, compared to 11% who said Biden won
  • 31% of Biden supporters now say he won, compared with 94% of Trump supporters who say Trump won
  • Opinions about what happens during debates can change: In 1984, just after the first debate between then-President Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale, the Democratic nominee, the CBS News / New York Times Poll found that slightly more Americans said Mondale had won than said Reagan had (43% vs. 34%)
  • Two days later, 66% said Mondale had won and only 17% said Reagan had

The Democratic nomination

  • Democrats are closely divided on whether Biden should step aside: 42% say he definitely or probably should while 43% say he should not
  • 66% of Republicans think Biden should step aside
  • Biden’s age is by far the biggest reason Americans cite as to why he should leave — much more commonly named as the biggest reason than policy disagreements or concerns about whether he can beat Trump
  • However, 68% of Americans say Biden’s withdrawal is not very likely or not likely at all
  • 64% of Democrats say the Democratic Party should support Biden, rather than trying to replace him, if he decides to remain in the race; 19% say the party should try to replace Biden with a different nominee
  • If Biden were to step down, Democrats are divided as to whether to give the nomination to Vice President Kamala Harris or to hold a short primary to select a new nominee (42% vs. 40%)
  • Harris nonetheless clearly is the most popular choice among Democrats and Independents who lean toward the Democratic Party: 73% strongly or somewhat approve of her as a replacement for Biden if he were to step aside, higher than any other Democrat included in the poll
  • Harris also is seen by Democrats as the potential new Democratic candidate most likely to win against Trump
  • Twice as many Democrats say she would defeat Trump as say she would lose to the former president (48% vs. 24%)
  • An even larger share of Democrats say Biden would win: 59% say he would beat Trump and 15% say he would lose to Trump
  • 41% of Americans — including 79% of Democrats and 5% of Republicans — say Harris is qualified to serve as president, if that becomes necessary
  • 45% of Americans say Harris is not qualified to serve as president
  • The Friday interview of Biden by ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos was watched by far fewer Americans than the share who say they watched the debate
  • Only 24% of Americans say Biden handled the interview very or somewhat well, including 46% of Democrats and 9% of Republicans; 35% say he handled it very or somewhat badly

The economy

  • Few Americans have a positive view of the U.S. economy right now: 44% say it is poor, compared to 27% who say it's either good or excellent
  • A majority of U.S. adult citizens say the economy is getting worse, more than twice as many as the share saying it's getting better (53% vs. 19%)
  • Views of the economy are highly polarized, as has usually been the case in recent years — among Democrats, 41% say the U.S. economy is getting better, while 25% say it's getting worse; mong Republicans, just 4% say the economy is improving, while 79% say it's getting worse
  • Americans' opinions of their personal finances are polarized, too: Republicans are more likely to be pessimistic than Democrats, even controlling for family income
  • But more Americans have negative views of the national economy (53% say it's getting worse) than of their own personal finances (40% say they're worse off than a year ago)
  • These trends have been mostly steady for more than a year
  • Most Americans are aware of the Supreme Court ruling giving presidents legal immunity for official actions, while leaving it up to lower courts to decide what makes actions official
  • The public is divided on how presidential legal immunity should work: Most Trump supporters take the same position the court did, while Biden supporters oppose legal immunity for presidents
  • 60% of Americans think it is very or somewhat likely that future presidents will commit crimes
  • 42% of Americans say the ruling will make it more likely that future presidents will commit crimes while 28% say it won't

The U.S. and the UK

  • 57% of Americans say there is a special relationship between the U.S. and the UK; 13% say there isn't and 31% are unsure
  • Majorities of Americans don't have opinions of Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer and Conservative Party Leader Rishi Sunak
  • Half of Americans can’t say how they would have voted in the recent UK national election
  • More Americans say they would have voted for the Conservative Party than for Labour, which defeated the Conservatives in a landslide (19% vs. 11%)
  • The Conservatives' hypothetical win among Americans is bolstered by strong support among 2024 Trump voters (43% vs. 3% for Labour) and ideological conservatives (45% vs. 1%)
  • Labour would win by 23% to 12% against Conservatives among Americans who belong to labor unions or live in union households
  • Among the small share of Americans (16%) who say they have heard a lot about the UK elections, Labour would have won over the Conservative Party by 36% to 16% — not far off the final vote shares in the UK

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs for the July 7 - 9, 2024 Economist/YouGov Poll

Methodology: The poll was conducted among 1,620 U.S. adult citizens from July 7 - 9, 2024. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of U.S. adult citizens. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. 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 November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty