Anti-Trump, Anti-Biden Votes in Super Tuesday Primaries:  Will They Sway the November Election?

by Ken Reid

Depending on what media you watch and read, the Super Tuesday primary results are the death knell for either presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or for incumbent Democrat Joe Biden, who is likely to be renominated, too. 

Both candidates had sizable votes against them in their respective primaries. I am not a pundit like Larry Sabato at UVA, but I am a Republican and Nikki Haley voter in Fairfax County (which she won), and just looking at polling data and ballot results, I am of the mind that the “defection” rate among “no more Trumpers” will be higher than defections of far leftists and anti-Zionists from Biden.   

As a result, Trump stands to lose electoral votes he got in 2020, like North Carolina, unless he can make up for the loss of “Haley voters” among African Americans and Latinos, who (according to polls) seem to be persuadable. Biden may get some Haley voters, but the Green Party and other left-leaning third party candidates could depress his electoral vote tally.

In the Virginia Democratic Primary, 7.8% voted for author/lecturer Marianne Williamson and 3.5% voted for Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, who withdrew from the race after Super Tuesday’s results.    

This means 11.3% of Virginia Democrat voters voted against Biden – and I believe that’s largely from Muslims and far Leftists who oppose the administration’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas, and perhaps some concerned with the president’s cognitive abilities.

But the anti-Biden vote in Virginia pales to what Trump might lose this fall with Haley voters who defect, particularly as Trump’s criminal trials move forward.

Haley garnered about 35% of the GOP primary vote, and an ABC News account said some 69% of Haley voters who responded to exit polls said they would not vote for Trump in the fall. I really do not believe many of these people are Democrats who voted in the GOP primary.

So, if Haley got 240,524 votes Tuesday, and exit polls pan out in November, some 166,000 will not for Trump – -but this presumes there are other candidates on the ballot or folks don’t vote or write in.

The threat to Trump of Haley defections in North Carolina could be more severe.

ABC News  reported  “80% of Haley voters in North Carolina, 69% in California and 69% in Virginia were unwilling to say they’ll support the party’s nominee whoever it is, mirroring Haley’s recent hedge on the issue.”  

So, if some 80% of Haley voters in North Carolina (250,000 total) do defect to Biden and or third party candidates, that means 201,000 fewer votes for Trump.

In 2020, Trump carried NC’s 15 electoral votes with a narrow 74,483-vote majority.  In contrast, the anti-Biden vote in the Tuesday Democrat primary was only 11 percent.

Florida is assumed to be a Trump state, too. Well, he only carried it in 2020 by 3.3%, and that’s 29 electoral votes he cannot afford to lose. How many Haley supporters there will make protest votes?

Exit poll data show Trump’s share of GOP votes have withered. He got 89% of Republican voters in 2016, but 85 percent in 2020 – a sufficient number to cost him electoral votes in many states, notably Georgia, where many victorious GOP candidates for the U.S. House had more votes than Trump. 

Where Trump could potentially “replace” the loss of Haley votes is among African American and Latino voters. According to a just-released New York Times/Siena poll , the former president leads Biden by six points among Latinos and his support among black voters is now 23%, marking a 19 percentage point increase since the same poll  taken in October 2020     

Both Arizona and Nevada have huge Latino populations and, combined, have almost as many electoral votes as Pennsylvania. So, these states could go into his column – unless (of course) there are Republican defections to Biden or third-party candidates.  But I do not believe black voters will defect to Trump in big numbers – perhaps to third party candidates.

Key is who the various third party candidates are. Thus far, neither the Libertarians, Green Party, “No Labels” nor independent candidates like Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy are on the ballot in the Old Dominion.

However, according to Wikipedia, the Greens are on the ballot in 22 states, the Libertarians in 38, Constitution Party in 12 and “No labels” on 17 state ballots. Kennedy is on the ballot in six states, three of them swing states; West is on the ballot in three.   

The bipartisan No Labels group is expected to announce on Friday if they will move forward or not with a candidate, and I wonder if their presidential candidate or vp could be retiring Arizona Sen. Kirsten Synema, a former Democrat who became an independent.

The Libertarian presidential nominee is likely to make the ballot in all 50 states, which the party achieved in 2020, but they generally draw votes equally from conservatives and liberals, so I am unsure how this plays for Biden or Trump.

In my view, the biggest threat to Biden is Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who was the Green candidate in 2016, capturing some 1.4 million votes and enabling Trump to win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – and capture the presidency. But she was on the ballot in 43 states that year 

But one thing I feel is certain – the Democrat margin in Virginia is so great that Trump will not win its 13 electoral votes — even if the Greens or Cornel West make the ballot and more blacks and Latinos vote for him. Biden beat Trump in the Old Dominion by 10 points in 2020.

The biggest problem Republicans have with Trump leading the ticket is Congress, and in particular, Virginia’s 2nd House district now held by pragmatic Republican Jen Kiggans.

While Kiggans has a weak Democrat opponent, she will have to fend off Democrat efforts to tie her to Trump – just as I, and many General Assembly candidates in 2023 had to deal with that issue. Kiggans winning is key to Republicans keeping control of the House.

This is something I have a difficult time explaining to Trump diehards — that he is poison for a number of GOP candidates down ballot, and without a GOP Congress, Trump really cannot get anything done as he did in his first term. And, there will be few Green Party candidates in these races to divide the Democrat vote.

Ken Reid is a former Loudoun County supervisor and Leesburg Town Council member who was the GOP nominee for State Senate in District 37 in Fairfax County in 2023.  He also is a journalist by trade, and published newsletters in the FDA field for 30 years.