Former President Donald Trump has taken a narrow but widening lead over President Joe Biden in odds for success in the 2024 general presidential election.
RealClearPolitics, a high-profile political news and polling data aggregator, maintains a running analysis of election odds based on the weighted averages of a balanced sample of national polls. The standings have often varied wildly during this year’s tumultuous campaign, though neither candidate has led the other by more than 2.5 points at any time in the race.
For perspective, in 2016, Hillary Clinton began the general election contest with a 19.6-point lead over Trump in the RCP average, 53.3 to 33.7. In March, she led the Republican nominee by 11.4 points, 50.4 to 39. At the last peak in mid-October, she still logged a gap of 7.1, presenting a strong average of 49 points.
Trump led Clinton narrowly for just four days in July. Even by election day, Clinton maintained the advantage in the average, 46.8 to 43.6. The 3.2-point gap was wider than any yet achieved by either candidate in 2024.
Nonetheless, Clinton lost handily to Trump, garnering just 227 votes in the Electoral College against her challenger’s 304.
This time around, Trump’s chances bottomed out on August 24, when the Republican trailed his opponent by two points, 43 to 45. Since then, the former president’s odds have climbed steadily upward, while Biden’s chances have either remained stagnant or dropped slightly.
On Wednesday, Trump crept past Biden to open up a thin gap at 44.6 to 44.3. By Friday, Trump’s odds had reached 45.1, a high Biden has not reached since March 15, even as he maintained a lead in the averages over Trump for the last two months.
This is the first time the former president has led his successor in the polling average since July 10. Trump established that previous lead on April 4, before which Biden had maintained an advantage in the average for all but nine days since tracking began in November 2022.
Biden’s odds also improved slightly on Thursday and Friday. This means that despite Trump’s strong average — a four-month high for either candidate — the space between the two men stands at just half a point.
At his peak in late May, Trump topped Biden 45.4 to 43.4, a two-point lead. Just before that peak, Trump led Biden for five consecutive days by a margin of 2.5, 45.3 to 42.8. To date, this was the widest margin either candidate achieved since the campaign started.