Former President Trump and President Biden appear to be headed for a rematch, despite polls showing many Voters are dissatisfied with the current options for the presidency.
Experts said that could create a political environment in which more voters decide to sit out next November than in past elections. They said voter turnout could also be increased by building intense opposition to the other party’s candidate.
“These are two well-known figures, and most people have an opinion about them,” said William Howell, a professor of American politics at the University of Chicago. “And so the relevant question is not for the vast, vast, vast majority of people, ‘Do I vote for Trump or do I vote for Biden?’ The question is: ‘Do I even vote?’”
voter turnout has an upward trend They remained near or above 60 percent of the voting population in the last presidential elections since 2004, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Around two thirds of eligible voters took part in the 2020 presidential election between Trump and Biden, the highest turnout in more than a century.
But polls have consistently shown throughout the 2024 election cycle that many voters don’t want a rematch. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, nearly a year before the election, found about half of registered voters I want other candidates jump into the race.
Republican strategist Karl Rove, who was instrumental in former President George W. Bush’s election victories, told Fox News in an interview on Tuesday that he expects voter turnout to decline in 2024, breaking the current trend of ever-increasing voter turnout, with the exception of 2012.
“I think that will probably go down if these two men are the candidates of their party and they both take this DEFCON 3 approach to American politics,” Rove said.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, expressed concern on CNN Monday that voters might stay home if they feel like they are not being addressed.
“Our biggest swing voter is our base who won’t switch to Donald Trump or a Republican, but will go straight to the couch if they think it’s not worth their time, no one is paying attention to them, or they’re ignoring or taken for granted,” she said, adding that 2024 could be “2016 again.”
Republican strategist Charlie Kolean, RED PAC’s chief strategist, said he believes a lower turnout election would likely benefit Trump more than Biden. Kolean argued that many voted against Trump rather than Biden in 2020 and enthusiasm for Biden is lower now.
He said excitement is needed for a base to turn out in the election and the presidential candidate is the main way to excite voters, but parties also have alternative methods to get people to vote, including ballot measures.
“Obviously the presidential candidate at the top of the list will generate the most upset in each state, but we’ve seen that ballot measures really impact down-voting races that are also at the top of the list,” Kolean said.
“So when you look in the key swing states, regardless of which camp wants to win, you look at the ballot measures that can really benefit their party and motivate their base to get out there and ultimately win for everyone else “That will be extremely crucial,” he added.
Ballot measures have received increasing attention over the past year and a half as several states confronted voters with an abortion issue following the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.
In seven states that have since voted on abortion-related measures, voters have chosen the side that defends abortion rights, in what are considered consistent Democratic victories. This most recently happened in the Republican-leaning state of Ohio.
Efforts are underway Putting abortion measures on the ballot in 2024 in several states, including swing states like Arizona and Nevada.
Kolean said RED PAC has seen low turnout in most of the races it entered this year. An exception was the general election in Virginia, which often featured abortion.
“This is going to be extremely critical, and I think we’re going to see it implemented in some pretty large states,” he said, referring to ballot measures.
Democratic strategist Jared Leopold noted that every state that has voted on abortion since the court’s decision has seen high voter turnout and that the issue will be a “big turnout motivator” for Democrats and swing voters.
“People aren’t thinking about it right now, but the presidential election will be a referendum on the future of abortion in America,” he said.
Leopold said voters will realize what’s at stake in the election between Biden and Trump as Election Day approaches, adding that polls showing Democrats don’t want Biden to run don’t favor him worry too much.
“Some of what we’re seeing right now is people on both sides living in a fantasy land where we don’t go into another Biden-Trump rematch. This is a free primary window in which voters are free to fantasize about who they want to run as their candidate or dream about a scenario where it is something else,” he said. “But fundamentally it will be a duel between Biden and Trump, and I think if all voters realize what is at stake, you will see greater engagement in this election.”
Ernest McGowen, an associate professor of political science at the University of Richmond, said that having voters see “perceived differences” between candidates is crucial to voter turnout.
He said voters would likely care less about the race if it were a contest between an incumbent and a lesser-known challenger, but both Trump and Biden have clear, established track records that make them stand out to voters.
“Yes, they both have drawbacks, but at the same time they’re both really well-known assets,” McGowen said.