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Trump leading Biden ahead of CNN Presidential Debate, support from Black voters way up since 2020: poll

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Former President Trump has a four-percentage-point lead over President Biden in a national poll released ahead of their first 2024 televised presidential debate hosted by CNN on Thursday. 

The latest New York Times/Siena College poll released on Wednesday showed 48% of the electorate say they would vote for Trump, the Republican, if the presidential election were held that same day, while 44% said they would vote for Biden, the Democrat. That contrasts with April’s New York Times/Siena College poll that showed Trump leading Biden by just one percentage point. 

Asked whether Biden should remain the Democratic Party’s nominee, 61% said there should be a different Democratic nominee, while 33% said Biden should remain. That compares to 54% who said there should be a different Republican nominee, while 41% believe Trump should remain. 

The poll showed 26% of Black likely voters would support Trump in the 2024 election. While 65% of Black likely voters said they would support Biden, Trump’s gains represent a significant uptick since 2020. 

According to a New York Times/ Siena College poll conducted June 17-20, 2020, just 5% of Black registered voters said they would support Trump, while 79% said they would support Biden. 

Notably, for the time, 68% of national registered voters said they disapproved of Trump’s handling of the protests and riots following George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis. 

The latest poll of 1,226 registered voters nationwide, including 991 who completed the full survey, was conducted in English and Spanish on cellular and landline telephones from June 20-25. 

It also asked whether participants believed Biden or Trump are too old to be an effective president. A net percentage of 68% agreed Biden is too old, while 39% said the same for Trump. 

Conducted following Trump’s criminal conviction in the hush-money case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the poll found just 11% of the electorate were more likely to support Trump after he was found guilty, while just 19% were less likely to support him. Most people, 68%, said Trump’s hush-money conviction made no difference in whether they would back him.

There was a two-percentage-point lead in respondents who agreed the charges against Trump are mostly politically motivated contrasted against those who believe Trump was charged mostly because prosecutors believed he committed crimes. The majority, 55%, agreed that Trump should not be sentenced to prison in the hush-money case, while 37% said he should be kept behind bars. 

With just over four months until Election Day, Thursday’s debate offers both candidates a rare potential to alter the trajectory of the race. 

Trump and Biden have not been on the same stage or even spoken since their last debate weeks before the 2020 presidential election. Trump skipped Biden’s inauguration. 

Thursday’s broadcast on CNN will be the earliest general election debate in history. It is the first-ever televised general election presidential debate hosted by a single news outlet after both campaigns ditched the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which had organized every one since 1988.

Under the network’s rules, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. did not qualify.

Aiming to avoid a repeat of their chaotic 2020 faceoffs, Biden insisted — and Trump agreed — to hold the debate without an audience and to allow the network to mute the candidates’ microphones when it is not their turn to speak. There will be two commercial breaks, another departure from modern practice. The candidates have agreed not to consult staff or others while the cameras are off.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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