Swing state scorecard: Ranking Biden’s toughest 2024 battlegrounds

The 2024 general election race between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will be decided between six or seven battleground states.

Both campaigns are fighting to turn out voters in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Biden won all of those battleground states except for North Carolina during the 2020 election against Trump. But after four years of Biden’s leadership, an exhausted electorate is weary of another Biden-Trump rematch.

As the incumbent leader, Biden faces a tough reelection election against Trump, who remains the dominant leader of the GOP.

Ahead of the Nov. 5 election, the Washington Examiner ranked the battleground states according to which would be the hardest for Biden to win.

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1. North Carolina

From left, Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) and Vice President Kamala Harris approach President Joe Biden at the podium following Biden’s remarks during a campaign event in Raleigh, North Carolina, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

The Biden campaign hopes to flip North Carolina blue in 2024 after Trump won the state in 2020 and 2016. Yet, the state’s red-leaning status will be hard to overturn. The last Democrat to win the state was former President Barack Obama in 2008 — 16 years ago.

The latest Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed Trump leading Biden by 6 percentage points, 49%-43%. This was Trump’s highest lead out of the seven battleground states that were surveyed.

So far, the Biden campaign is opening up 10 new field offices in the Tar Heel State while Biden has visited the state twice in 2024 and Vice President Kamala Harris visited the state four times in 2024.

However, one warning sign for the Biden campaign is that nearly 13% of Democratic voters selected “no preference” during the state’s presidential primary on Super Tuesday. The “no preference” option gave infuriated Democrats upset over Biden’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas a chance to voice their displeasure.

2. Nevada

FILE – President Joe Biden speaks at the Washoe Democratic Party Office in Reno, Nevada, March 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Nevada remains a key state that Biden hopes to win once again, but with independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claiming he has enough signatures to appear on the ballot, Biden’s chances of another win could be slimmer.

Kennedy could peel off enough Latino voters to doom Biden’s chances, though Biden toured the Silver State and Arizona last month as part of a tour of Western swing states meant to shore support among Latino voters, a crucial voting bloc.

During the Nevada primary, nearly 6% of Democratic voters opted to vote for “none of these candidates” in February, before the Abandon Biden movement had taken off during Michigan’s primary later that same month.

Trump leads Biden in Nevada by 4 percentage points, 48%-44%, according to the Wall Street Journal poll. A March Emerson College/KLAS-TV/the Hill poll in Nevada showed Trump beating Biden once again, 44%-41%.

The Biden campaign could get a boost if organizers can collect 102,000 valid signatures by June 26 to get an abortion access amendment on the ballot. Abortion has become a key issue as the Trump campaign has struggled to identify messaging that appeases the anti-abortion wing of the GOP and moderate voters, which the Biden campaign has exploited.

3. Arizona

President Joe Biden speaks about an agreement to provide Intel with up to $8.5 billion in direct funding and $11 billion in loans for computer chip plants in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico, and Oregon, Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Chandler, Arizona, at the Intel Ocotillo Campus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Similarly to Nevada, Arizona remains a key western swing state that Biden will need to win in 2024 if he hopes to defeat Trump. Yet, the former president is leading Biden by an average of 4.5 percentage points in the state, according to RealClearPolitics.

The Biden campaign launched Latinos con Biden-Harris to coincide with Biden’s visits to Arizona last month and released its first Latino-focused ad, part of a $30 million spring advertising buy. Latinos make up a sizable population in the Grand Canyon State, but some polling suggests Latinos are more open to voting for Trump.

March poll from the American Principles Project of Hispanic voters in Arizona showed Trump and Biden tied at 46% in a hypothetical matchup. But when Kennedy is added to the hypothetical matchup, he polls at 17% in Arizona, while Trump is at 40% and Biden at 37%. 

Abortion-rights organizers announced last week they had collected more than 383,923 signatures needed to qualify for an abortion ballot measure in November, which will be a boon to Biden’s campaign.

The state Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday that Arizona can enforce an 1864 law criminalizing all abortions except those to save the mother’s life will likely also help Biden’s campaign as it continues to blame Trump for bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade.

Biden and Harris denounced the GOP in separate statements after the ruling was announced. “This ruling is a result of the extreme agenda of Republican elected officials who are committed to ripping away women’s freedom,” Biden said.

4. Michigan

President Joe Biden greets supporters during a campaign event in Saginaw, Michigan, Thursday, March 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Abandon Biden movement gained much of its traction in Michigan, home to a large share of Arab and Muslim Americans who have shared their disappointment with Biden’s hesitation to enforce a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

More than 101,000 Democrats, including progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), voted “uncommitted” during the primary, amounting to 13.2% of the vote.

In 2020, Biden defeated Trump by roughly 154,100 votes in Michigan. It is unclear how the uncommitted backers will vote in November, but if enough continue their snubbing of Biden, it could cost him the state.

However, the state’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) has taken a prominent role in the Biden campaign as one of eight national co-chairs. Whitmer’s support could help deliver the Great Lakes State.

5. Wisconsin

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on student loan debt at Madison College, Monday, April 8, 2024, in Madison, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In 2020, Biden narrowly won Wisconsin by roughly 20,000 votes. Nearly four years later, it is the one state where Biden and Trump are tied at 46%, according to the Wall Street Journal poll. A New York Times/Siena College poll from last October also showed Biden beating Trump, 47%-45%.

In the middle of March, Biden toured Wisconsin and Michigan to shore up the Democratic “blue wall” that helped him defeat Trump in 2020.

Biden used the Wisconsin visit to tout $3.3 billion in infrastructure projects to help communities that were dismantled by the construction of the interstate highways during the 1960s. Of the multi-billion funding, $36 million will go toward reconnecting Milwaukee’s 6th Street.

The Biden campaign opened up 44 offices in Wisconsin and based the campaign’s Wisconsin headquarters in Milwaukee in an effort to turn out black, Latino, and suburban women voters.

Yet, during the state’s primary last week, more than 48,000 Democratic voters snubbed Biden and voted “Uninstructed,” another rebuke of Biden’s Middle East diplomacy.

Republicans planned their nominating convention in Milwaukee this summer to build up local excitement for the 2024 election and momentum for Trump to repeat his 2016 victory.

6. Georgia

First lady Jill Biden speaks before President Joe Biden at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Biden’s victory in the Peach State in 2020 was the first time a Democrat had won the state since former President Bill Clinton did so in 1992.

But in 2024, Biden will not have high-profile down-ballot Democrats to help with voter turnout and fundraising as Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) are not up for reelection.

Biden visited Georgia early in March as part of his multistate campaign kickoff tour.

During his rally, Biden pledged to restore Roe v. Wade and called for the lowering of prescription drug prices, which could persuade voters to give Biden another shot at the White House. First lady Jill Biden also launched the “Women for Biden-Harris” initiative in Atlanta, the metropolitan area key to Biden’s 2020 victory, on the first day of Women’s History Month.

Yet, a March Marist poll showed Trump leading Biden, 51%-47%, among registered Georgia voters and 51%-48% among Georgia voters who plan to vote.

7. Pennsylvania

President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Strath Haven Middle School on Friday, March 8, 2024, in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Joe Lamberti)

The Keystone State has seen the most visits from Biden out of all the battleground states, with Harris visiting Philadelphia to promote Biden’s latest student loan debt cancellation plan.

The president unveiled the plan in Madison, Wisconsin, but has visited Pennsylvania three times this year.

The campaign announced last month it was opening 14 offices in the Keystone State as part of a broad effort to galvanize voters in battleground states.

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But Trump leads Biden by 3 percentage points, 47%-44%, according to last week’s Wall Street Journal poll. The October New York Times/Siena College poll showed Trump leading Biden by 4 percentage points, 48%-44%.

Pennsylvania is the most electorally rich battleground state with 20 electoral votes. While Biden won the state in 2020 by just over 1 percentage point, Trump won the state in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Clinton by less than 1 percentage point.

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