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CNN's data guru says protest votes in primaries bode poorly for Biden campaign

CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten said Thursday that President Joe Biden's primary performance as an incumbent is historically “weak,” with the lowest before him being George HW Bush, who later lose his candidacy for re-election.

The race between Biden and former President Donald Trump appears to be squeeze in seven crucial battle states, seconds to a Monday Bloomberg News/Morning Query poll. Enten on “CNN News Central” noted that the results of the presidential primaries mirror the general poll, with Trump performing stronger than in the last election; the data reporter added that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's protest vote turnout speech in the Republican primary is overhyped and that Biden is underperforming historically in his party's primaries.


“I think the rhetoric about this protest vote … is a little overblown,” Enten said. “So I want to take a look at history. Performance after opponents dropped out. These are not presidential primary headliners…Mitt Romney was getting about 71% of the vote after his opponents dropped out, Donald Trump in 2016 , 74%, Joe Biden last time 77% What is actually getting the highest share after his opponents dropped out is actually Donald Trump this time with 81%.

“This is actually a very strong showing for a non-incumbent after his opponents dropped out. The protest vote is at an all-time low. So yes, Nikki Haley, sometimes she gets north of 20% of the vote in these primaries. But that's unusual. He's not doing it all over the place. Donald Trump is historically strong for a presidential primary after his opponents drop out.” , Enten added.

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

“Joe Biden is still getting a substantial portion of that support over Haley, but that's in polls where Donald Trump is leading… So it's no surprise that these people are still voting for Nikki Haley because she's so much more likely to vote for Joe Biden and Donald Trump than the average primary voter. But even so, Donald Trump is still doing better than he was four years ago, which is consistent with the polls overall,” Enten said.

The departure of CNN election found that Haley's top supporters largely identified as “liberal/moderate” or as Democrats and independents. The survey found that 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 for his handling of Israel's war with the terrorist group Hamas.

“Everybody says Donald Trump is going weak, weak, weak,” Enten said. “It's actually Joe Biden in my mind in the primary, that's weak, weak, weak at least historically because right now he's getting 87% of that primary vote for an incumbent. But really that's the lowest … for any candidate since George HW Bush in 1992, when Pat Buchanan challenged him, and of course we all remember, at least I remember, that George HW Bush lost re-election in the fall to Bill Clinton.”

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