Feb 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump's next test: 5 swing states in 37 days

This is Donald Trump

Trump on stage at his South Carolina victory party in Columbia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Trump faces a five-week slog through states where he'll need to pivot hard to win in November, even as there's major work to do in unifying his own party.

Why it matters: The primary's all but over. But unless former UN ambassador Nikki Haley drops out soon, Trump will roll through contested primaries in five states that could easily swing in November.

  • Michigan (Tuesday): Trump won by 10,700 votes in 2016, lost by 154,000 in 2020.
  • North Carolina (March 5): Trump won by 173,000 votes in 2016, won by 74,000 in 2020.
  • Georgia (March 12): Trump won by 211,000 votes in 2016, lost by 12,000 in 2020.
  • Arizona (March 19): Trump won by 91,000 votes in 2016, lost by 10,000 in 2020.
  • Wisconsin (April 2): Trump won by 23,000 votes in 2016, lost by 21,000 in 2020.

Zoom out: Trump faces profound demographic issues, as we told you in Axios AM. Just look at the exit polls from the South Carolina GOP primary.

  • 35% said he wouldn't be fit for office if convicted of a crime. (ABC)
  • About a quarter of Trump's own voters think he's too extreme to win in November. (VoteCast)
  • About 40% of Nikki Haley supporters said their vote was motivated by opposition to Trump. (CNN)

The other side: "This is going to be a referendum against Joe Biden and his policies," a top Trump adviser told Axios' Mike Allen.

  • "As long as Trump can tap into voter disillusion about the economy, out-of-control immigration and more foreign entanglements, those are issues that affect people from all backgrounds."

What's next: After the Michigan primaries on Tuesday, the Democratic presidential campaign is off until Super Tuesday on March 5.

  • Republicans will vote in Idaho and Missouri on March 2, D.C. on March 3 and North Dakota on March 4.
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