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Saturday, June 22, 2024

National, State and Local Temperature Checks



Although the presidential nominating contest is coming to a close, a few states have still yet to nominate their candidates.
Last Thursday saw Democrats hold their caucuses in Idaho, a reliably Republican state that has not backed a Democrat at the presidential level since 1964.

Joe Biden (D-DE) easily won the caucuses with 95.2% of the vote out of 2,412 votes cast statewide. His lowest margin of victory came from Madison County, home to Rexburg, with 69.2% of the vote. He received nine votes to long-suspended Marianne Williamson’s (D-CA) four votes.

He took all twenty-three pledged delegates and took forty-three counties. The final county, Oneida, has not posted results.

The primary calendar wraps up in early June, with Democrats holding their primary in the District of Columbia and both parties holding contests in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota on June 4. The calendar formally closes with Democratic caucuses in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Republican Convention will take place from July 15-18 in Milwaukee, while the Democratic Convention will be held from August 19-22 in Chicago.

With the general election nearly set, the question now turns to the Electoral College map, which shows former President Donald Trump (R-FL) in good poll positions ahead of November. Additionally, Biden’s approval ratings in several crucial swing states are now lower than his national average.

A Civiqs poll conducted from January 2021 to May 2024, conducted with input from nearly 500,000 voters, tracked Biden’s aggregate national approval rating at -22. Individually, the President fared above water in just Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

His approval ratings were found further underwater than his national average in Pennsylvania (-25), Nevada (-32), Arizona (-27), and Georgia (-24), all of which he narrowly won in 2020.

He stands in marginally better position at -20 in North Carolina and just -10 in Wisconsin, the latter of which he narrowly flipped.

The Civiqs study also found that Biden continues to struggle with younger voters, a crucial voting bloc of the Democratic Party. In voters aged 18-34, the poll tracked his approval rating at -34.

The low ratings are also demonstrated in the latest rounds of polling, which show troubling signs for the Biden campaign ahead of the election. Although not enough to preclude him from re-election, the numbers have gained the attention from pundits and pollsters alike who assert that a second Trump term is not off the table.

A recent round of New York Times polls from Nevada have shown Trump with double-digit leads in head-to-head matchups against Biden and against Biden with third-party candidates factored into the study. 614 likely Nevada voters give Trump a thirteen-point lead – 51%-38% – in a two-way race, and give him a fourteen-point lead – 44%-30% – with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., then-Libertarian candidate Lars Mapstead, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Socialist independent candidate Cornel West.

Although just accounting for six electoral votes, Nevada is regularly in the eye of the political hurricane with high-stakes presidential contests and marquee Senate and House races. Nevada has not backed the GOP for president since 2004 and has clocked in at no greater than three points for the Democratic nominee in 2016 and 2020. Furthermore, a decisive position for Trump likely signals a large shift of Latino and urban voters to his column, a shift that is likely to coalesce in other, larger states.

The Times poll also puts Trump outside the margin of error in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan, and leading, but within the margin of error, in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

A dedicated state poll for Minnesota found Biden up just two points earlier this month, in a state that has not backed a Republican nominee since 1972. Biden’s lead has also shrunk dramatically in New Hampshire, where the University of New Hampshire puts him at four points ahead of Trump in a two-way race and three points with other candidates included. The same pollster, albeit sponsored by CNN, found Biden twelve points ahead of Trump in the Granite State in September.

However, the results of the latest round of polls is not limited to the swing states. An Elway Research poll of 413 registered voters in Washington state put Biden ahead at just eight points of Trump. One of the bluest, more liberal states, Washington has not backed a Republican nominee since 1984. Biden won Washington by nineteen points in 2020.

Finally, Siena College has released regular polls of the presidential race in New York over the course of the last year. All find Biden to be hovering around ten points, a decline from his twenty-three-point win in 2020.

Their latest poll of nearly 1,200 voters puts him at just nine points ahead of Trump. The poll was conducted about a week before Trump’s rally in the South Bronx.

Democrats hold a twenty-six-point voter enrollment advantage over Republicans in New York.

Further complicating the state of the race, RFK has obtained ballot access in New York, far surpassing the 45,000 signatures required. He now has access in sixteen states, worth 229 electoral votes. Petitioning is active in all other states, except Louisiana, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, where the petitioning windows have not yet opened.


In addition to the 2024 presidential race, Siena College also released its favorability/approval ratings not just for Biden and Trump, but also for New York State elected officials.

Biden’s approval rating improved slightly over last month’s, 46%-51%, although still underwater. The poll also found that Trump is attracting 18% of Democrats, Biden is attracting 9% of Republicans, and Independents are split 37%-37%.

Additionally, the College polled voters on Trump’s ongoing trial in New York City. 65% of respondents said that the verdict, guilty or innocent, will have no effect on their vote. If Trump is found guilty, Siena College found that 14% of voters will be more likely to vote for him, while 17% said that they would be less inclined to vote for him.

Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has seen virtually no change in approval rating relative to April, standing at 45-49%. Her favorability rating was found to be at 38%-46%.


Congressmen Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) have introduced legislation to authorize funding for “necessary expenses for the rehabilitation, modernization, and construction of facilities and infrastructure at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).” The legislation was tailored with Congressmen Nick LaLota (R, NY-01) and Anthony D’Esposito (R, NY-04), among others.

The bill would support the implementation of the Full Speed Ahead Infrastructure Plan. Funding would be authorized from 2024 to 2034 in the amounts of $54 million in the first year, followed by $107,333,333 each subsequent year.

“The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is one of our nation’s five federal service academies and responsible for educating and training mariners who are committed to serving the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces,” said Garbarino. “Maritime security is critical to our national security, and yet the Academy has been allowed to fall into disrepair – threatening recruitment efforts as well as the quality of education the Academy can provide. With this legislation, we aim to upgrade and modernize the USMMA’s facilities so that we may continue to produce best-in-class mariners and ensure the strength of our national sea power.”

The USMMA is located in Kings Point in the Town of North Hempstead.

Matt Meduri
Matt Meduri
Matt Meduri has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Messenger Papers since August 2023. He is the author of the America the Beautiful, Civics 101, and This Week Today columns. Matt graduated from St. Joseph's University, Patchogue, in 2022, with a degree in Human Resources and worked for his family's IT business for three years. He's also a musician and composer with his sights set on the film industry. Matt has traveled all around the U.S. and enjoys cooking, photography, and a good cup of coffee.