Biden Plunges in Swing States in Leaked Post-Debate Poll

joe biden debate
While the debate may have barely registered in national data, in their surveys of key Electoral College states where voters are paying closer attention to the campaign, Biden is doing noticeably worse. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
July 2, 2024

A confidential polling memo circulating among anxious Democrats is confirming some of their worst fears: President Joe Biden’s support has started to tumble in key electoral battlegrounds in the wake of his disastrous debate performance in Atlanta, and Biden’s diminished standing is now putting previously noncompetitive states like New Hampshire, Virginia, and New Mexico in play for Donald Trump. What’s more, Biden has taken such a reputational hit that he is polling behind other alternative Democratic candidates—including Kamala Harris and Gretchen Whitmer—in hypothetical one-on-one matchups against Trump.

The memo was put together after the debate by OpenLabs, a progressive nonprofit that conducts polling and message-testing for a constellation of Democratic groups, including the 501(c)4 nonprofit associated with Future Forward, the preferred Super PAC for Biden’s reelection campaign. OpenLabs is something of a black box: Their website is mostly blank, they don’t seek publicity, and their client list is closely held. But their data-driven memos are trusted in Democratic circles, and typically passed around to a small group of clients and strategists. One of those Democrats forwarded me the OpenLabs document on Tuesday morning.