ABC News

As President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are poised to secure their party’s nomination and gear up to face off in another general election campaign, Americans are split on who they trust to do a better job leading the country, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

According to the poll, conducted using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, 36% of Americans trust Trump to do a better job leading the country as president, while 33% trust Biden and 30% trust neither.

More Republicans trust Trump to do a better job leading the country (82%) than Democrats trust Biden (72%). Among independents, 32% trust Biden, 31% trust Trump and 37% trust neither.

The candidates’ favorability ratings are similar, and similarly low, with 33% of Americans having a favorable impression of Biden compared to 29% for Trump. Just over one in five Americans (21%) have an unfavorable view of both the current and former president. Whether this group votes and who they vote for will be a key driver of the 2024 outcome.

Among those who view both candidates unfavorably, an overwhelming majority — 72% — trust neither candidate to do a better job leading the country while only 19% trust Trump to do a better job leading the country and even fewer — 9% — trust Biden.

Biden made the case for his second term during his third State of the Union address on Thursday, delivering a fiery speech that touted his record.

His forceful speech appears to have been well-received — 29% of Americans found it to be better than they expected, according to the poll, while 12% found it worse than expected and 24% the same as they expected. Another 35% of Americans did not read, see or hear about the address. Of those who reported reading, seeing, or hearing something about the speech, 44% found it to be better than they expected and 18% said it was worse than expected.

Among the key target group of “double haters” (those with unfavorable views of both men), half said they did not read, see or hear anything about the speech while 19% thought the president did better than expected and 7% thought he did worse than expected.

When it comes to the job Biden is doing on major issues and how Trump handled these same issues when he was president, Americans grade Trump more favorably than Biden on the economy (49%-37%), inflation (45%-31%), crime (41%-35%) as well as on immigration and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border (45%-29%).

Americans give higher marks to Biden over Trump on climate change (42%-33%) and abortion (47%-35%). Among Americans who view both candidates unfavorably, 36% approve of Biden’s handling of abortion.

Americans who view both candidates unfavorably are less likely to approve of Biden’s handling of the economy (15%), inflation (12%), crime (16%) and immigration (7%).

Americans’ approval of how the president is handling the war between Israel and Hamas has gotten worse — decreasing from 41% in October to 30% in the latest poll.

Among Americans overall, Biden’s ratings on abortion have improved by eight points, up from 39% approval in October to 47% now. Biden highlighted abortion policy in his State of the Union address. Whether voters find abortion to be a crucial issue compared to the economy, inflation and immigration and the situation at the border where Trump does better will be a key determinant of the 2024 presidential election.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted using the probability-based Ipsos KnowledgePanel® March 8-9, 2024, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 536 U.S. adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.5 points, including the design effect, for the full sample. Sampling error is not the only source of differences in polls. Partisan divisions are 25-25-41 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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