2024 Election

‘Gold-Standard’ Poll A Bad Omen For Biden In Midwestern States

What is widely regarded as a “gold-standard” poll in Iowa touched off a swirl of commentary on Monday about how it portends a poor showing for President Joe Biden in battleground states across the Midwest.

A new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll from J. Ann Selzer’s company, Selzer & Company, found that former President Donald Trump got 50% support among likely voters, 18 points ahead of Biden. Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. received 9% support.

The findings from the new poll, which also showed Trump increasing his lead since his conviction in a hush-money trial and Biden with a net approval rating of -39 in June, prompted discussion on social media.

“In 2020, Trump won Iowa by +8 points,” pollster Frank Luntz said on X in response to the results. “Now, Iowa’s best pollster shows him up +18 in the state – which is bad news for Biden in more competitive Midwestern states, like Wisconsin and Michigan.”

Luntz also pointed to results from the same pollster in 2020 showing Trump with a 1-point advantage in June of that year, tying Biden in September, and breaking ahead with a 7-point lead over Biden in October.

Meghan McCain, a conservative pundit and daughter of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), also suggested that Biden appears to be in jeopardy of losing in Wisconsin — a state in which he narrowly defeated Trump in the 2020 election.

“There is no scenario where Trump wins Iowa by 18 points but loses Wisconsin,” McCain said in a post to X. “Ann Selzer is arguably the best pollster in the country (certainly Iowa) and her polls should be taken extremely seriously.”

Like in Wisconsin, Trump lost to Biden in Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2020 after he beat Hillary Clinton in those states in 2016.


“Iowa is a red state and won’t be competitive in 2024, but the gold-standard Selzer poll is still valuable for this reason: IA has had a 7-10 point delta with key battlegrounds like WI/MI/PA in the last two elections, so the size of Trump’s lead matters. (DJT won it by 8 in ’20.),” NBC News reporter Sahil Kapur observed.

Polls across the country have, on average, reflected a close match-up between Trump and Biden. They are poised to face off in their first debate of the 2024 election cycle next week. Kennedy does not currently qualify for the debate, but may yet meet the criteria.

Statistician Nate Silver recently floated the idea of Biden dropping out as the best option for Democrats given the president’s low approval ratings. He responded to the latest poll from Selzer & Company with a post to X that said, “It’s not a great sign for Biden that some of his worst numbers come from the best pollsters.”

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