Trump and Biden have clinched their nominations. Here's what our new Yahoo News/YouGov poll says about their rematch.

New data shows real risks ahead for both candidates.

Donald Trump, standing in front of U.S. flags, gestures during a campaign rally.
Donald Trump. (Alyssa Pointer/Reuters)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Former President Donald Trump has now amassed enough delegates to clinch the 2024 Republican presidential nomination after notching unopposed victories Tuesday in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington, and Hawaii.

To seal the deal, a Republican candidate needs at least 1,215 delegates, or a majority of the total available across all GOP primaries and caucuses. Trump started the week with 1,078 delegates in his column; another 161 were up for grabs Tuesday.

The wins puts the former president over the top. President Biden also claimed a majority of his party’s delegates Tuesday night with victories in Georgia, Mississippi, and Washington, setting up a November rematch.

Trump had been favored to win his third straight Republican nomination for some time — and the final hint of resistance fell away last week when his only remaining rival, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, lost 14 of 15 contests on Super Tuesday and suspended her campaign the following morning.

But Tuesday’s mathematical milestone marks the point of no return for Republicans — and a moment to consider both the opportunities and challenges awaiting their nominee as the 2024 general election gets underway.

Trump’s standing has been steadily improving

A new Yahoo News/YouGov survey of 1,482 U.S. adults, conducted in the days after Haley left the race, reveals significant strengths for Trump — and significant weaknesses.

On the plus side, Trump (46%) narrowly leads Biden (44%) in a general-election matchup among registered voters. For much of 2022 and 2023, Biden was ahead.

More Americans also have favorable opinions of Trump (45%) than Biden (39%) — and more now approve (49%) than disapprove (46%) of how Trump handled his job as president.

In contrast, Biden’s job-approval rating remains underwater (39% approve to 55% disapprove).

Memories of Trump’s time in the White House seem to be changing in his favor as the 2024 election season gets underway. On the five Yahoo News/YouGov surveys conducted just after he left office, from January to June 2021, the former president’s average job-approval number was 44%; his job-disapproval number was 52%.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Poland's President Andrzej Duda and Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the White House.
President Biden. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

To that point, 45% of Americans now say “things in this country” were “better back when Donald Trump was president”; just 33% say they’re “better today with Joe Biden as president.” Asked how much each president accomplished, 71% (up from 65% last November) say Trump accomplished either a lot (39%) or a little (31%); just 61% say the same of Biden (27% a lot, 33% a little).

Why is there such a big gap on accomplishments, given how productive the Biden administration has been? In large part because a majority of Americans say Biden has been “mostly passive” as president (53%), while only 30% say he’s been “mostly in charge.” For Trump, those numbers are more than reversed, with 65% saying he was mostly in charge during his time in the White House (up from 58% in November) — and a mere 14% saying he was mostly passive (down from 19% in November).

And so Trump arguably enters this year’s general-election battle in better shape than Biden, whose fiery State of the Union speech last week did little to alter perceptions that he may be not “fit” for another term, according to the poll.

But real risks remain for the Republican nominee

Yet it’s Trump, not Biden, who has never won the popular vote — and it’s Trump who has never come close to convincing a majority of the electorate to back him at the polls. (He earned less than 47% of the vote in both 2020 and 2016.)

The fact that 46% seems to be Trump’s ceiling in the Yahoo News/YouGov survey suggests he still has a lot of work to do between now and November.

One group that might require his attention is Haley voters, who represent 11% of registered voters who identify or lean Republican, according to the new poll. Although they’re a relatively small group, just one-fifth of them (20%) say Trump has “already earned” their vote; the rest say they will support Trump only if he earns their vote in the future (35%) — or that they will never vote for Trump under any circumstances (32%).

The former president’s legal troubles also present challenges. His first criminal trial — for allegedly making secret hush money payments to a porn actress during the 2016 campaign — is scheduled to start on March 25 in New York City. The U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile, is set to weigh in on Trump’s claim of absolute presidential immunity this spring — after which his delayed federal trial for conspiring to overturn his 2020 election loss might resume.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) say it is very or somewhat important “that voters get a verdict in Trump’s trials before the 2024 election”; a full 46% say it is very important. Less than a third (32%) would approve of “delaying Trump’s federal trials until after the election, making it possible for him to dismiss them if he wins” — precisely what Trump has been attempting to do at every turn.

Voters cast their ballots at yellow stands during the Super Tuesday primary election in Marina del Rey, Calif.
Voters in Marina del Rey, Calif., during the Super Tuesday primary election. (Aude Guerrucci/Reuters)

Don’t underestimate the legal peril

Only 25% of Americans agree, meanwhile, that a president “has ‘absolute immunity' from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office”; 53% disagree. Agreement has risen among Republicans since December — from 40% to 47% — but not enough to close the gap.

If the Supreme Court rules otherwise, it could prove controversial: less than half of Americans (47%) say they have “some” or “a lot” of confidence in the court, down from 70% before Trump cemented a 6-3 conservative majority in late 2020, and a full 62% say the court has become too politicized. One-third of Americans (33%) think the court is biased in favor of Trump — more than twice the share who say it’s biased against Trump (15%).

Assuming Trump’s key federal trials are allowed to proceed, a conviction could spell trouble for him in November. Just 31% of Americans now say Trump “should be allowed to serve if convicted of a serious crime in the coming months,” down from 33% in January — while 55% say he should not be allowed to serve (up from 53%).

The numbers are small when it comes to current Trump supporters who say they would move to being not sure (9%), not voting (5%) or supporting Biden (1%) if the former president is convicted of a serious crime — but in a tight election where Trump cannot afford to shed support, every percentage point counts.

Asked how they would vote if Trump is convicted of a serious crime, just 40% of Americans say they would still support him — down from 46% in the current head-to-head matchup. Biden, meanwhile, picks up a single point (45%) in that scenario, giving him a 5-point lead.


The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,482 U.S. adults interviewed online from March 8 to 11, 2024. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to Nov. 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 27% Republican). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is approximately 2.8%.