Key Voter Analysis: Biden’s Most Effective Attacks Against Trump

There will be plenty of mudslinging between now and Election Day, and the Biden campaign would be wise to take a surgical approach to attacking Trump’s greatest vulnerabilities, with a clear focus on uniting the Democratic base, winning over independents, and dividing Republicans to the greatest extent possible,” said Evan Roth Smith, Blueprint’s head pollster.

March 6, 2024

Blueprint today released a new poll that breaks down voters’ top concerns about President Joe Biden and Donald Trump and which messages would be most effective for Biden to use when he goes on the offensive against Trump. Blueprint also analyzed key voting blocs in the 2024 election—working-class voters, independent voters, young voters (age 18-29), senior voters (age 65+), male voters 45 years old and under, non-college voters, and non-college women voters—to determine each group’s top concerns about the two candidates and identify the most compelling potential Biden campaign messages with these critical demographic cohorts.

The survey—commissioned by Blueprint and conducted in late January by YouGov—found that the top overall concerns about another Trump presidency are abuses of power, him breaking the law, and tax policy that is favorable for tax cheats and the wealthiest Americans. Threats to democracy or future elections are not among the top five concerns for voters overall.

Blueprint found that voters’ top overall concerns about Biden are a mix of historical enduring Democratic vulnerabilities, such as inflation and the national debt, and concerns about the president’s age and effectiveness. Additionally, voters are concerned about what they regard as lax immigration and border policies and excessive restrictions on oil and gas drilling.  Finally, a majority of voters express concern that Biden would generally be too ideologically liberal. (The full list of concerns that Blueprint tested can be found in the appendix at the bottom of this release).

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would be too old to do the job well (69%) Trump would abuse the presidency to take revenge on his political rivals (57%)
Biden would increase the national debt (63%) Trump would break the law (57%)
Biden would allow the prices to increase on goods and services (63%) Trump will let rich tax cheats off of the hook (56%)
Biden would allow immigrants to illegally cross the U.S. border with Mexico (60%) Trump would ignore military leaders and act in dangerous ways that threaten national security (56%)
Biden would weaken the American economy (58%) Trump would cut taxes for the rich but not working- and middle-class families (56%)

After testing various messages that contrast Biden with Trump, the poll found that statements related to abortion rights, pharmaceutical prices, reducing inflation, and protecting American democracy from another January 6th-style insurrection to be the most compelling overall. (The full list of statements that Blueprint tested can be found in the appendix.)

The poll tested direct quotes from Biden. The best-testing messages focus on capping the prices of insulin, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Medicare negotiating with pharmaceutical companies.

“There will be plenty of mudslinging between now and Election Day, and the Biden campaign would be wise to take a surgical approach to attacking Trump’s greatest vulnerabilities, with a clear focus on uniting the Democratic base, winning over independents, and dividing Republicans to the greatest extent possible,” said Evan Roth Smith, Blueprint’s head pollster. “This new polling shows that President Biden has powerful weapons at his disposal— specifically, on abortion, drug pricing, inflation, and character contrast through the lens of democracy—that simultaneously help President Biden highlight his most popular stances and win over key voters he needs in November.” 

ANALYZING THE CROSSTABS: THE KEY 2024 VOTING BLOCS

Blueprint identified the voting blocs that are essential to winning the 2024 presidential election and analyzed their top concerns about the candidates and which contrast messages would most benefit Biden.

Non-College Voters (Biden 33%, Trump 57%)

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would be too old to do the job well (72%, 77% among non-college white voters) Trump would cut taxes for the rich, but not working- and middle-class families (54%, 48% among non-college white voters)
Biden would allow prices to increase on goods and services (68%, 73% among non-college white voters) Trump will let rich tax cheats off of the hook (53%, 48% among non-college white voters)
Biden would increase the national debt (66%, 72% among non-college white voters) Trump would cut funding for Social Security and Medicare (53%, 46% among non-college white voters)

These concerns share a theme—the majority of non-college voters are concerned that Trump would let tax cheats off the hook, leave working- and middle-class families out of tax cuts, and cut Social Security and Medicare. Two of Blueprint’s overall top-testing contrast messages can help defuse these concerns:

  • While Donald Trump talked about taking on pharmaceutical companies, President Biden actually delivered the policy that would combat them jacking up prices to make more profit, making their medicine too expensive for ordinary Americans. The Biden administration forced big pharmaceutical companies to the table to lower the prices of the drugs most commonly used by Americans. President Biden is committed to bringing down prices for working- and middle-class Americans and has the wins to prove it.
  • Since taking office, President Biden has brought inflation down from 8% to 3%, reduced the deficit by $1.8 trillion, created millions of jobs, and lowered gas prices from $4 a gallon to $3 a gallon by increasing US oil and gas production to record highs. When Donald Trump was president, he increased the deficit with big tax cuts for the wealthy and tried to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans.

Working-Class Voters (Under $60,000), (Biden 43%, Trump 46%)

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would be too old to do the job well (70%) Trump will let rich tax cheats off the hook (58%)
Biden would allow prices to increase on goods and services (67%) Trump would cut funding for Social Security and Medicare (57%)
Biden would increase the national debt (65%) Trump would cut taxes for the rich but not working- and middle-class families (57%)

With working-class voters, Blueprint found a set of concerns similar to those of non-college voters. Their most common concerns regarding Trump are about tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of middle- and working-class families, cutting funding for Social Security and Medicare, and letting tax cheats off the hook. For this group, the top-testing messages are the same as non-college voters—those on inflation and pharmaceutical pricing.

Independent Voters (40% Biden, 37% Trump)

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would allow prices to increase on goods and services (77%) Trump would pardon himself for crimes he was convicted of (57%)
Biden would be too old to do the job well (76%) Trump will let rich tax cheats off of the hook (56%)
Biden would increase the national debt (75%) Trump would ignore military leaders and act in a dangerous ways that threaten national security (56%)

Independents harbor both democracy-related and populist concerns about Trump. Contrast messages that highlight Trump’s anti-democratic behaviors, as well as his plutocratic tendencies, are the most popular among independents. Abortion-rights messaging is similarly compelling.

  • Donald Trump denied the results of the 2020 election and actively incited a deadly insurrection at the Capitol where police officers were killed. Donald Trump is not a normal Republican; he attacks our fundamental rights and freedoms at every turn, and Americans of all parties should reject him. President Biden is a uniter who has worked with both Democrats and Republicans to protect democracy at home and abroad.
  • While Donald Trump talked about taking on pharmaceutical companies, President Biden actually delivered the policy that would combat them jacking up prices to make more profit, making their medicine too expensive for ordinary Americans. The Biden administration forced big pharmaceutical companies to the table to lower the prices of the drugs most commonly used by Americans. President Biden is committed to bringing down prices for working- and middle-class Americans and has the wins to prove it.
  • Donald Trump’s hand-picked Supreme Court rolled back abortion rights, and if he’s elected, he will ban abortion and roll back access to birth control. Republicans want to tell women what to do with their bodies and to tell families how to make personal decisions with lifelong consequences. President Biden wants to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms, including a woman’s right to control her own body and families’ right to control their own destiny.

Young Voters (Age 18 to 29), (Biden 54%, Trump 24%)

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would be too old to do the job well (60%) Trump would ignore military leaders and act in dangerous way that threaten national security (77%)
Biden would increase the national debt (55%) Trump would pardon himself for crimes he was convicted of (72%)
Biden would allow prices to increase on goods and services (55%) Trump would abuse the presidency to take revenge on his political rivals (72%)

A high share of young voters express concern about Trump exploiting his office, pardoning himself for crimes he committed, and, broadly, his anti-democratic tendencies. Their concerns about Biden—inflation and the national debt—are similar to the concerns expressed by other age groups. For young voters, the top-testing messages are:

  • Donald Trump denied the results of the 2020 election and actively incited a deadly insurrection at the Capitol where police officers were killed. Donald Trump is not a normal Republican; he attacks our fundamental rights and freedoms at every turn, and Americans of all parties should reject him.President Biden is a uniter who has worked with both Democrats and Republicans to protect democracy at home and abroad.
  • Since taking office, President Biden has brought inflation down from 8% to 3%, reduced the deficit by $1.8 trillion, created millions of jobs, and lowered gas prices from $4 a gallon to $3 a gallon by increasing US oil and gas production to record highs. When Donald Trump was president, he increased the deficit with big tax cuts for the wealthy and tried to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans.
  • Donald Trump’s hand-picked Supreme Court rolled back abortion rights, and if he’s elected, he will ban abortion and roll back access to birth control. Republicans want to tell women what to do with their bodies and to tell families how to make personal decisions with lifelong consequences. President Biden wants to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms, including a woman’s right to control her own body and families’ right to control their own destiny.

Senior Voters (Age 65+), (Biden 41%, Trump 56%)

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would be too old to do the job well (71%) Trump would cut taxes for the rich but not working- and middle-class families (50%)
Biden would allow immigrants to illegally cross the US border with Mexico (68%) Trump will let tax cheats off the hook (50%)
Biden would increase the national debt (65%) Trump would abuse the presidency to take revenge on his political rivals (50%)

Older voters are concerned about Trump’s anti-democratic tendencies and the possibility that he will let the wealthy off the hook. For Biden, older voters are more concerned than other groups about immigration. The following messages are most persuasive to older voters:

  • While Donald Trump talked about taking on pharmaceutical companies, President Biden actually delivered the policy that would combat them jacking up prices to make more profit, making their medicine too expensive for ordinary Americans. The Biden administration forced big pharmaceutical companies to the table to lower the prices of the drugs most commonly used by Americans. President Biden is committed to bringing down prices for working- and middle-class Americans and has the wins to prove it.
  • Donald Trump denied the results of the 2020 election and actively incited a deadly insurrection at the Capitol where police officers were killed. Donald Trump is not a normal Republican; he attacks our fundamental rights and freedoms at every turn, and Americans of all parties should reject him. President Biden is a uniter who has worked with both Democrats and Republicans to protect democracy at home and abroad.

Non-College Women Voters (Biden 49%, Trump 40%)

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would be too old to do the job well (71%) Trump would let tax cheats off the hook (63%)
Biden would allow prices to increase on goods and service (65%) Trump would cut taxes for the rich but not working- and middle-class families (63%)
Biden would increase the national debt (62%) Trump would ignore military leaders and act in dangerous ways that would threaten national security (61%)

Non-college women are particularly concerned about Trump’s anti-democratic behaviors and the prospect that he would favor the wealthy at the expense of the middle and working classes. For Biden, they are concerned about prices and the national debt. The messages below are most persuasive to non-college women:

  • Donald Trump denied the results of the 2020 election and actively incited a deadly insurrection at the Capitol where police officers were killed. Donald Trump is not a normal Republican; he attacks our fundamental rights and freedoms at every turn, and Americans of all parties should reject him. President Biden is a uniter who has worked with both Democrats and Republicans to protect democracy at home and abroad.
  • Donald Trump’s hand-picked Supreme Court rolled back abortion rights, and if he’s elected, he will ban abortion and roll back access to birth control. Republicans want to tell women what to do with their bodies and to tell families how to make personal decisions with lifelong consequences. President Biden wants to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms, including a woman’s right to control her own body and families’ right to control their own destiny.
  • Since taking office, President Biden has brought inflation down from 8% to 3%, reduced the deficit by $1.8 trillion, created millions of jobs, and lowered gas prices from $4 a gallon to $3 a gallon by increasing US oil and gas production to record highs. When Donald Trump was president, he increased the deficit with big tax cuts for the wealthy and tried to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans.

Male Voters 45 Years Old and Under (Biden 43%, Trump 40%)

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would allow prices to increase on goods and services (64%) Trump would break the law (60%)
Biden would be too old to do the job well (63%) Trump would pardon himself for crimes he was convicted of (54%)
Biden would increase the national debt (62%) Trump would abuse the presidency to enrich himself and his family (54%)

Young men are particularly concerned about Trump’s anti-democratic behaviors and the risk that he would favor himself and his family. Notably, none of the other demographic cohorts ranked these democracy-centric concerns as the top three worries. Young men are worried about a second Biden term leading to rising prices and an increase in the national debt. Below are the most popular messages among this group of voters:

  • Donald Trump denied the results of the 2020 election and actively incited a deadly insurrection at the Capitol where police officers were killed. Donald Trump is not a normal Republican; he attacks our fundamental rights and freedoms at every turn, and Americans of all parties should reject him. President Biden is a uniter who has worked with both Democrats and Republicans to protect democracy at home and abroad.
  • President Biden has delivered where Donald Trump failed the American people. On day one, President Biden got to work fixing the economic crisis Donald Trump left behind by helping to create over 14 million jobs, including bringing back hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs, and lowering costs for families. The bottom line: President Biden wakes up every day working and rooting for the American people. Donald Trump spends every day worried about himself.
  • Since taking office, President Biden has brought inflation down from 8% to 3%, reduced the deficit by $1.8 trillion, created millions of jobs, and lowered gas prices from $4 a gallon to $3 a gallon by increasing US oil and gas production to record highs. When Donald Trump was president, he increased the deficit with big tax cuts for the wealthy and tried to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans.

About the Poll 

Blueprint commissioned a survey conducted by YouGov of 1,012 voters from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5. nationally, using web panel respondents. The survey was conducted in English, and its margin of error is ±3.4 percentage points.

Supporting Materials

Linked here is a Google Drive to download our full suite of materials from this poll, including:

  • Toplines and crosstabs
  • “Pop-up pollster”: An annotated guide to our topline, with commentary from pollster Evan Roth Smith
  • Interested Parties Memo: The War on Prices, Biden’s Untapped Triumphs
  • A full polling deck from Evan’s presentation with charts and highlights from the poll

Appendix

Top concerns about Biden Top concerns about Trump
Biden would be too old to do the job well (69%) Trump would abuse the presidency to take revenge on his political rivals (57%)
Biden would increase the national debt (63%) Trump would break the law (57%)
Biden would allow the prices to increase on goods and services (63%) Trump will let rich tax cheats off of the hook (56%)
Biden would allow immigrants to illegally cross the U.S. border with Mexico (60%) Trump would ignore military leaders and act in dangerous ways that threaten national security (56%)
Biden would weaken the American economy (58%) Trump would cut taxes for the rich but not working- and middle-class families (56%)
Biden would get America involved in new wars (57%) Trump would abuse the presidency to enrich himself and his family (55%)
Biden would allow all immigrants living illegally in the United States to stay forever (57%) Trump would cut funding for Social Security and Medicare (55%)
Biden would ban new oil and gas drilling, driving up gas prices (56%) Trump would erode democracy and try to overturn future elections (54%)
Biden would raise taxes on middle-class families (55%) Trump would put the interests of conservative activists over the public (52%)
Biden would be bad for American businesses (53%) Trump would institute cruel policies that separate immigrant families (52%)
Biden would put the interests of liberal and progressive activists over the general public (52%) Trump would repeal environmental protections, making the air and water dirtier (52%)
Biden would be too liberal or progressive (52%)  
… (lowest ranked concerns)
Biden would break the law (45%) Trump would attack gay and trans rights (47%)
Biden would abuse the presidency to take revenge on his political rivals (44%) Trump would be too old to do the job well (47%)
Biden would persecute religious organizations and individuals (43%) Trump would weaken the American economy (47%)
Biden would undermine democracy and try to steal future elections (43%) Trump would favor Christians and discriminate against other religious groups (46%)
Biden would legalize abortion on demand (41%) Trump would be too conservative (44%)
Biden would be too favorable to Israel in the conflict between Israel and Palestine (38%) Trump would be too favorable to Israel in the conflict between Israel and Palestine (39%)
Biden would be too moderate (32%) Trump would be too moderate (22%)

 

Quote Theme
Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but Americans are sometimes forced to pay over $300 for it. It’s flat wrong. I signed a law to cap insulin at $35 for seniors and I called on pharma companies to bring prices down for everyone on their own. Insulin
Two years ago, I signed into law a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and to fix our roads, railroads, bridges, ports, airports; remove every single lead pipe in the country; and extend high-speed Internet, advance clean energy, and modernize the energy grid. Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan
Negotiating drug prices will not only save consumers money, it’s going to save the federal government money. Negotiating drug prices alongside other parts of my prescription drug plan is going to save the taxpayers so far one hundred and sixty billion dollars. Drug Price Negotiation
But for all we’ve done, the real heroes of the story are the American people. In thousands of towns all across America, we see the stories of revival and renewal; hope and optimism; and pride. Pride in your work, pride in your family, pride in your town, pride in this nation. American Heroism
The American Rescue Plan enabled cities and states to invest $15 billion to improve public safety. There’s more work to do, but we’re making real progress: there was a significant drop in crime in 2023 including one of the largest-ever yearly declines in homicides in history. American Rescue Plan Crime
We’re using the American Rescue Plan to help states and cities become more resilient to climate change, promoting energy efficiency by weatherizing homes, reducing flooding by building infrastructure to handle storm surges, and opening cooling centers where there’s a particularly great heat impact and people need a shelter. American Rescue Plan Climate
Despite the actions of the Supreme Court and MAGA Republicans, we’ve relieved student debt for 3.6 million Americans, who now have a chance to buy their first home and get out of debt. Student Debt Relief
From turkey, to air travel, to a tank of gas, costs went down. They went down. Now, to people making a lot of money, that doesn’t matter a whole lot, because the costs are relatively small compared to wealthy incomes. In fact, as a share of earnings, this Thanksgiving dinner was the fourth-cheapest ever on record. And I want you all to know that. Cheap Thanksgiving

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