Why the 'double haters' of 2024 are different: From the Politics Desk

Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter that brings you the NBC News Politics team’s latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, senior political editor Mark Murray breaks down how the “double haters” of the 2024 race differ from the 2016 and 2020 elections. Plus, we head to Virginia’s 5th District, where House Freedom Caucus chair Bob Good is facing a GOP primary challenger backed by Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy.

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Meet the ‘double-haters’ of 2024 — and why they’re up for grabs

By Mark Murray

The so-called double haters — those who hold an unfavorable view of both major party presidential nominees — are a crucial group of swing voters, and for good reason.

In 2016, they broke for Donald Trump by nearly 20 points over Hillary Clinton, according to the NBC News exit poll. And in 2020, they swung for Joe Biden over Trump, according to the AP VoteCast. (The NBC News exit poll actually showed Trump winning the double haters in 2020, though they represented just 3% of all voters.)

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But NBC News’ merged polling of the 2024 race tells two important stories about these voters: One, they’re very different from the double haters of the 2016 and 2020 elections. Two, they’re completely up for grabs between Biden and Trump.

In 2016, NBC News’ combined polls found that double haters represented 18% of all voters surveyed that election cycle. They were disproportionately Republicans (43% identified as Republican, 28% as Democratic and 21% as independent). They were overwhelmingly conservatives and moderates. And they preferred the GOP to control Congress over the Democrats by 15 points, 50% to 35%.

Think of these double haters as predominantly Republicans who didn’t like Trump, but ended up voting for him anyway.

In 2020, however, NBC News’ combined polls found the double haters of Trump and Biden made up just 6% of voters — due in large part to Biden being a more popular figure than Clinton was in 2016, and Trump being more popular with most GOP voters than he was four years earlier.

Unlike 2016, a majority (51%) of these double haters were Democrats (compared with 15% who were Republicans and 20% who were independents). They were mostly liberals and moderates. And they preferred Democratic control of Congress over the GOP by a whopping 47 points.

Think of these double haters as the voters who largely backed Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren during the 2020 Democratic primary season, and ultimately ended up voting for Biden in the general election, according to the AP VoteCast.

In contrast to 2016 and 2020, NBC News’ merged polling of 2024 finds this cycle’s double haters to be split evenly among self-identified Democrats (31%), Republicans (31%) and independents (28%). A plurality describe themselves as moderates.

And their congressional preference is a jump ball. Forty-five percent of these double haters say they want Republicans to control Congress, while 43% want Democrats in charge.

Bottom line: They’re entirely up for grabs in November, according to our polling.

Republicans from Trump to McCarthy are lined up against the Freedom Caucus chair in his primary

By Ali Vitali, Bridget Bowman and Kyle Stewart

GOOCHLAND, Va. — For Rep. Bob Good, Tuesday’s primary is about much more than the next member of Congress representing Virginia’s 5th District.

“The nation is watching,” the Virginia Republican told a few dozen supporters gathered outside the historic county courthouse on a muggy Friday evening. He warned that this race is about the “D.C. establishment swamp who wants to buy your seat.”

Good, who chairs the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, told his supporters that he is former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s top target, as McCarthy looks to take down the small group of Republicans who ousted him late last year. McCarthy’s first effort fell short last week when Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina won her primary.

But McCarthy is just one player lined up against Good in a race that could see him become the first member of Congress to lose to a primary challenger this year. There’s also the most important endorsement in Republican politics working against him: former President Donald Trump.

Trump endorsed Good’s opponent, state Sen. John McGuire, a former Navy SEAL and “Stop the Steal” rally participant, late last month. The former president made a veiled reference to Good endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the presidential primary, writing on social media that Good “was constantly attacking and fighting me until recently.”

Trump is holding a tele-rally for McGuire on Monday night, and he appeared in a 15-second TV ad to boost McGuire. His endorsement could sway some voters who were skeptical of Good in the deep-red district, which stretches from the Richmond suburbs to the state’s southern border.

“I’ve had many people say, ‘I don’t know anything about you, never mentioned before, but Trump’s endorsing you, I’ve got you,’” McGuire told NBC News.

Good is clearly sensitive about Trump endorsing his opponent, telling NBC News before a short interview that everyone already knows Trump backed his opponent — as if to blunt any questions on it.

Good declared himself “behind President Trump,” adding: “I’m sure the president will be supporting me on June 19 after we win.”

Read more about Good’s primary battle →

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have feedback — likes or dislikes — email us at politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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