‘Weak, Weak, Weak’: CNN’s Data Guru Says Primary Protest Votes Are Ill Omen For Biden Campaign

CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten asserted on Thursday that President Joe Biden’s primary performance as an incumbent candidate is historically “weak,” with the lowest before him being George H.W. Bush, who subsequently lost his bid for reelection.

The race between Biden and former President Donald Trump appears to be tightening across seven crucial battleground states, according to a Monday Bloomberg News/Morning Consult survey. Enten on “CNN News Central” noted that presidential primary results are reflecting the overall polling, with Trump performing stronger than in the last election; the data reporter added that the discourse about former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s protest vote share in the Republican primaries is overly hyped and that Biden is performing historically poorly in his party’s primaries.

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“I think the rhetoric over this protest vote … is a little bit overblown,” Enten said. “So I want to take a look back through history. Performance after opponents dropped out. These are non-incumbents in presidential primaries … Mitt Romney was getting about 71% of the votes after his opponents dropped out, Donald Trump back in 2016, 74%, Joe Biden last time 77%. The one who‘s actually getting the highest share after his opponents dropped out is actually Donald Trump this time around with 81%.”

“This is actually a very strong performance for a non-incumbent after his opponents dropped out. The protest vote is actually at a historic low. So yeah, Nikki Haley, sometimes getting north of 20% of the vote in these primaries. But that’s not unusual. What is unusual … is she’s not doing it all over the place. Donald Trump’s actually running historically strong for a non-incumbent in a presidential primary after his opponents drop out,” Enten added.

Haley suspended her campaign on March 6, 2024, after polling below Trump throughout the Republican presidential primaries, according to RealClearPolitics. The former presidential candidate on Wednesday announced she will vote for Trump in the 2024 general election after previously refusing to commit to backing a particular candidate.

“Joe Biden’s still getting a substantial portion of this Haley support, but this is in polls in which Donald Trump leads … So it’s not surprising that these folks are still voting for Nikki Haley because they’re much more likely to vote for Joe Biden and Donald Trump than the regular primary voter. But even so, Donald Trump‘s still doing better than he was four years ago, which matches the polls overall,” Enten said.

CNN’s exit polling found Haley’s primary supporters largely identified as “liberal/moderate” or as Democrats and independents. The survey found many of them were first-time voters in a Republican primary and registered to damage Trump’s potential to secure the nomination.

Biden has experienced multiple protest votes in the primaries due to his handling of Israel’s war with terrorist group Hamas.

“Everyone’s saying that Donald Trump’s doing weak, weak, weak,” Enten said. “It‘s actually Joe Biden in my mind in the primaries, that’s doing weak, weak, weak at least relative to history because right now he‘s getting 87% of that primary vote for an incumbent. But that’s actually the lowest … for any candidate since George H.W. Bush back in 1992 when Pat Buchanan challenged him, and of course, we all remember, at least I remember, that George H.W. Bush lost reelection in the fall to Bill Clinton.”

Republished with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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