April 18, 2023 - 10:00am

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis would both beat Joe Biden in a 2024 presidential election, Brexit mastermind Dominic Cummings has claimed, citing private polling. Testing attitudes to the various presidential candidates and crucial issues like the cost of living, health, abortion, crime and Ukraine, the former Downing Street adviser predicts that both Republican candidates would secure victory over the incumbent President.

Although his modelling was conducted before Trump’s arrest (his numbers have since improved), what distinguishes Cummings’s data from public polling is that he claims to have made more of an effort to sample low-education, low-trust voters who do not read much news. In a new Substack article, the strategist predicts that Trump would lose the popular vote to Biden by around two points, but win the electoral college 294-244. 

Source: Dominic Cummings

According to his model — for which the underlying data has not been published — Biden’s 2020 vote in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin falls “just enough” that the states flip back to Trump in 2024. Cummings adds that Trump would beat other Democrats such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by a more comfortable margin (though he notes that AOC would be “tougher” due to her stronger political and communication skills).

Source: Dominic Cummings

DeSantis, meanwhile, beats all three Democratic candidates by a wider margin in the Cummings model. Against Biden, DeSantis also flips Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as well as Arizona, giving the Florida governor 305 electoral college votes versus Biden’s 233. 

In the model, the one Democrat who beats both Trump and DeSantis is transport secretary Pete Buttigieg, but Cummings warns that his numbers, like DeSantis’s, are “noisier” (i.e. less reliable) because they are less well-known.

Cummings goes on to discuss the factors that might lead to a Trump victory. Due to his “strong grip” over GOP voters and Biden’s relatively low levels of popularity and lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters, Trump is well-placed to gain re-election — if he campaigns on the right issues. According to Cummings, Trump made a “big mistake” in focusing on the ‘stolen’ election in 2020 rather than the economy, which his polling suggests is his strongest card. Other areas include crime and the border, where the Democrats are acutely vulnerable.

Although DeSantis is yet to formally declare a run, the former Vote Leave director advises the Florida governor not to campaign as a “mini-Trump”: “If he persuades Trump fans that
 he’s mini-Trump, why vote for him, why not stick with the real deal, especially since Trump’s got the experience, he knows how the swamp works and how to beat it, and we know what a great job he already did on the economy?” Instead, Cummings recommends that DeSantis builds a new economic plan, develops a story about how he’d change Washington, and finds a strategy that appeals to MAGA and swing voters.

Cummings concludes by arguing that AI could have a transformative effect on the 2024 election. “2024 will be the first election in which AI could be a significant factor,” he writes. “What if it is used by Trump and Biden? What if it’s used by Putin?! What if it’s used by Biden, Trump, Putin, China and other players like MBS who want to see Trump win?!”

This could work to the GOP’s advantage: “Many players around the world regard Biden as senile, the Democrats as insane, and the DC system — together with European capitals — spinning out of control towards more war,” he writes. “Perhaps many powerful players will conclude — if Trump (or DeSantis) wins, then no wars, a deal on Ukraine and back to ‘One China’ on Taiwan, DC’s madness is more limited to DC rather than cascading across the world, and everybody makes more money. Powerful incentives!”

Read the full article here.