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Heading into 2024, most Americans believe country headed in the wrong direction: POLL

The leading presidential candidates are also viewed broadly unfavorably.

November 5, 2023, 9:00 AM

A year before the presidential election, three-quarters of Americans (76%) believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and the leading Democratic and Republican candidates are viewed broadly unfavorably, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll. Only 23% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction.

Republicans are overwhelmingly negative, with 95% thinking things in this country are heading in the wrong direction, followed by 76% of independents and 54% of Democrats, according to the poll.

Among the two candidates most likely to face off again in 2024, one in three (33%) Americans view President Joe Biden favorably, while former President Donald Trump is viewed favorably by only 29%, according to the poll.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders' Summit in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 3, 2023.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders' Summit in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 3, 2023.
Shawn Thew, Pool via CNP via Polaris

Less than half of Black people (49%) and Hispanic people (33%) have a favorable impression of Biden. Both of these groups voted overwhelmingly for him in the 2020 presidential election. According to ABC News' 2020 exit poll, 87% of Black voters supported Biden in 2020 as did 65% of Hispanic voters.

If someone other than Trump or Biden is the nominee of their respective party, about three in 10 Americans say they would be more likely to vote for the candidate of that party, but many more say that it would not make a difference in their vote.

By a 23-point margin (31% to 8%), Americans would be more likely to vote for the Republican candidate if someone other than Trump is the party's nominee. That margin is slightly higher among Republicans (37% to 9%) and independents (38% to 9%). Just under half (48%) say someone other than Trump being on the ballot would make no difference in their vote.

PHOTO: Former President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 2, 2023.
Former President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 2, 2023.
Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock

Similarly, by a 25-point margin (29% to 4%), Americans would be more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate if someone other than Biden is the party's nominee -- with 55% saying it would make no difference. The margin is somewhat higher, 35 points, among both Democrats and independents.

A year out from the 2024 elections, the economy and inflation are top issues for Americans, according to the ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos' KnowledgePanel. Seventy-four percent say the economy is very important to them, while 69% say inflation is very important.

Republicans are more likely to be trusted to do a better job on these two issues, according to the poll: Americans trust Republicans to do a better job handling the economy over Democrats 35%-25%, and, on inflation, they trust Republicans to do a better job 35%-21%. But across a range of issues asked about in the poll, around a third of Americans say they trust neither party.

PHOTO: In this Oct. 12, 2023, file photo, people shop in the meats section of a grocery store in Los Angeles.
In this Oct. 12, 2023, file photo, people shop in the meats section of a grocery store in Los Angeles.
Mario Tama/Getty Images, FILE

Among other key issues, a majority of Americans also say health care (64%) and education (61%) are very important to them personally. On those issues, the Democrats have an advantage, according to the poll: Americans trust Democrats to do a better job than Republicans on health care (37%-18%). On education, they trust Democrats to do a better job over Republicans 33%-24%.

Most Americans also think that crime (57%) and gun violence (56%) are very important, but the public splits on which party they trust to do a better job. Republicans have the edge over Democrats, 32% to 20% on crime whereas Democrats have a 34% to 24% edge on gun control.

Abortion is seen as less of a priority to Americans, with less than half (45%) saying it is very important. Democrats are trusted more than Republicans on this issue, 40% to 23%.

How strong that advantage is and how important a factor abortion is in deciding voter choice could play out in Tuesday's elections.

In Ohio, voters will decide on a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect abortion access in the state.

In Virginia, if Republicans capture the Senate and hold onto the House in the state legislature, that could open the door on conservative issues including Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's proposed 15-week abortion ban.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted using Ipsos Public Affairs' KnowledgePanel® November 3-4, 2023, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 949 U.S. adults with oversamples of 18-29 year olds, Black people, Hispanic people, and Born Again Christians weighted to their correct proportions in the general population. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.3 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 25-25-42 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents. See the poll's topline results and details on the methodology here.

ABC News' Dan Merkle and Ken Goldstein contributed to this report.

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