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Trump v Biden: who’s ahead in the latest polls?

On November 5th Americans will elect their next president. The contest will feel familiar: the main two candidates are the same as in 2020. Joe Biden, the incumbent, faced no viable competition for the Democratic nomination. His predecessor in office, Donald Trump, easily saw off a crowded field in the Republican primary. This will be the first rematch election in almost 70 years. After Mr Trump lost the previous election, his supporters tried to overturn the result. He faces federal charges over his alleged participation in that scheme, as well as three other criminal cases. Mr Biden’s presidency has been defined by high inflation, big industrial-policy bills and turmoil abroad, in Afghanistan, Ukraine and the Middle East. Both men are unpopular. The election will be less a popularity contest than a referendum on which man Americans think is the least bad option.
The Economist is tracking the contest. Here you can find the latest polls, though it should be noted that pre-election polls have limited predictive power for the final result until the end of the summer in an election year. If you are interested in contests elsewhere, visit our UK election poll tracker. And for American election terms, wonkish and whimsical, explained in plain English see our A-Z of US politics.

The election is still many months away, but with the two candidates now in effect decided, the campaign can begin in earnest.

Joe Biden, at 81, will be the oldest ever major-party presidential candidate, breaking his own record set in 2020. Mr Biden won a seat in the Senate at the age of 30 and held it for over three decades. He made failed bids for president in 1988 and 2008, and served as Barack Obama’s vice-president. Despite a reputation as a centrist Democrat, in office he has pushed to expand the state and lobbied for unions. He has also led an international coalition to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion. Although he promises to “finish the job” if re-elected, many voters think the job may finish him.

Donald Trump’s extraordinary campaign follows his no less remarkable term as America’s 45th president, which concluded shortly after his supporters staged an armed attack on the Capitol. His alleged role in instigating the attack and a broader effort to overturn results of the 2020 election resulted in two criminal indictments, in federal court and Georgia state court. He faces two others, totalling 91 felony charges. The 77-year-old denies all wrongdoing. Mr Trump is a self-proclaimed billionaire, who made (and lost) much of his money in real estate, before he became a reality-TV star. This time his campaign pairs familiar culture-war issues (building a border wall, “left-wing gender insanity”) with fresh grievances (against the lawyers prosecuting his cases and the judges overseeing them).

Sources: FiveThirtyEight; national polls; The Economist
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