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Trump leads Biden on most of the key issues in the first Fox News Power Rankings Issues Tracker

Voters back former President Trump to handle the economy and secure the border, and they believe he is more physically and mentally fit than President Biden.

But Biden leads Trump on handling abortion rights and protecting democracy, and voters think he is more honest than Trump.

These are the results of the first , a new polling tracker for the 2024 presidential election.

Introducing the Fox News Power Rankings Issues Tracker

Elections have always been defined by issues. 

In the last forty years alone, Americans have used their voice at the ballot box to decide the future of Reaganomics (1984), deficit and welfare reform (1996), the Iraq War (2004) and Obamacare (2012).

This cycle can feel different.

As the first rematch in nearly 70 years, voters are already very familiar with the candidates and what they stand for.

And the conversation has often turned away from policy. Trump’s hush money trial in New York has dominated headlines for nearly two months, along with debates about debates and ‘freakouts’ about aging candidates.

But there are significant policy questions on the line at this election, from the future of immigration, to abortion law, to the fairness of elections.

We have a variety of election data products to figure out which candidate is leading the horserace, including individual polls, forecasts, and polling averages.

Until now, there has been no polling tracker dedicated to the issues. 

The Fox News Power Rankings Issues Tracker is designed to fill that gap.

How the tracker works and points to remember

The number next to each issue on the dials tells you the number of percentage points by which that candidate leads on that issue.

For example, the ‘+15’ for former President Trump next to ‘economy’ means that Trump leads Biden by fifteen points on that issue.

This is a polling tracker. It reflects how well a candidate is doing now on a particular issue. That issue may or may not be decisive in November.

For the presidential forecast, see the regular Fox News Power Rankings, which have also been updated today.

This tracker doesn’t address issue prioritization, which is measured in a variety of ways by each pollster.

In other words, this tracker will not tell you how important an issue is to voters. The goal is to tell you which candidate they think will better handle it.

Trump leads Biden on most of the key issues

Former President Trump has the strongest leads on the board, led by the border & immigration (Trump +18), the economy (Trump +15), foreign policy (Trump +7) and crime/guns (Trump +7).

Voters prefer President Biden on abortion (Biden +12), preserving democracy and election integrity (Biden +7) and health care (Biden +7).


Trump has consistent double digit advantages on the economy in this tracker.

It comes as Americans struggle to cope with inflation.

Overall, prices are up 19.3% in the three years since Biden took office and while weekly earnings have also grown, they have not kept pace.

Trump has made the high price of staples like milk, eggs, and gas a cornerstone of his campaign.

For their part, the Biden campaign points to other important economic indicators to bolster their case.

Unemployment, for example, is at a decades-long record low, and GDP data shows the economy is growing.

But voters are not giving the administration any more credit for the overall state of the economy than they are for inflation.

Last month’s ABC/Ipsos poll asked Americans which candidate they preferred on the economy, and separately, inflation.

Trump leads by 14 points on both.

(Note: unlike other polls on this tracker, ABC/Ipsos surveys adults, not registered voters.)


Voters think Biden will handle abortion policy better than Trump. 

Biden leads on the issue by 12 points in this tracker.

This is an important advantage for the incumbent president. In a recent Fox News survey, abortion edged out the economy and the border for the biggest ‘deal-breaker’ issue among voters.

In other words, those three issues are the most likely to determine votes in November.

And abortion was the biggest single issue among suburban women, Black voters, those with a college degree, and voters under 30.

Abortion access has been curtailed, sometimes severely, in 25 states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which protected abortion as a fundamental right.

In April, Trump said he wants individual states to determine abortion policy. He also said he supported exceptions for ‘rape, incest, and life of the mother.’ Trump did not say whether he is open to enshrining those exceptions at the federal level.

Either way, a clear majority of voters (63%) continue to say they want abortion to be legal in all or most cases.

Border & immigration

The border and immigration is not only Trump’s strongest issue, but it is the issue with the largest lead for any candidate in this tracker.

Voters prefer Trump on the border and immigration by 18 points.

Biden’s dismal numbers are the result of an influx of illegal immigration during his administration. 

Nearly 7.8 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the southern border under his presidency so far, versus about 2.5 million under President Trump.

That surge has slowed somewhat in recent months.

Democrats say they supported a bipartisan bill to reduce border crossings earlier this year, and blame Senate Republicans for blocking it (Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the only GOP Senator who voted in favor).

But the border remains a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign, and that is unlikely to change before November.

Notably, Trump has double digit leads when adults are asked about ‘immigration at the US-Mexico border’ and voters are asked about ‘immigration’ more broadly.

That suggests that voters prefer Trump to handle the surge of illegal immigrants at the border, and the wider question of immigration reform.

Democracy & elections

‘Democracy and elections’ usually does not rate as a significant issue in a presidential election.

But this is the first time voters will go to the polls in a presidential election since the January 6 riots, and since Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 win.

These topics have been the subject of media attention and, at times, have been at the forefront of both candidates’ campaigns.

This tracker includes questions about election integrity, preserving or protecting democracy, and ensuring fair elections.

No matter how the question is asked, more voters trust Biden on this issue.

  • On election integrity, Biden leads by 7 points (Fox).
  • On ensuring fair and accurate elections, Biden leads by 14 points (Marquette).
  • On protecting or preserving democracy, Biden leads by 7 points with voters (Quinnipiac) and in ABC’s poll among adults, it’s even.

Foreign policy

Foreign policy is the closest of the major issues in this tracker, but Trump enjoys a modest lead in this category as well.

Last month’s Quinnipiac poll asked about both the Israel-Hamas and Ukraine-Russia conflicts:

  • On handling Israel-Hamas, Trump leads by 10 points
  • On handling Ukraine-Russia, Trump leads by 3 points, within the poll’s margin of error.

Trump also has an important advantage on America’s global image.

When asked which candidate they trust to handle ‘America’s standing in the world,’ voters gave Trump a 7 point lead versus Biden.

So whether it is a specific conflict or America’s overall foreign policy, more voters trust Trump to deal with it.

Advantages for both candidates on key qualities

The playing field is a little more even on candidate qualities.

Biden has a strong advantage on honesty (Biden +15) and temperament (Biden +9).

The electorate is divided on ‘sharing your values,’ which sits within the tracker’s margin of error. That question is a good proxy for the overall state of the race.

Trump leads on accomplishments (Trump +9); no surprise given his leads in four of the major policy areas.

And he has an overwhelming lead on age (Trump +21).


Voters perceive Trump as more physically and mentally fit than Biden by large margins, no matter how the question is asked:

  • On mental soundness/sharpness, Trump leads by 9 points (Fox), 16 points (Pew), and in ABC’s poll among adults, 19 points.
  • On physical health, Trump leads by 26 points (Pew) and in ABC’s poll among adults, 22 points.
  • On whether the candidate is ‘too old,’ Trump leads by an average of 27 points (Marquette, NYT/Siena).

President Biden is the oldest President of the United States, and is currently seeking a second term that would end at age 86.

He has also suffered from memory lapses and stumbles and has largely avoided interviews during his time in office.

Democrats contend that Biden is only a few years older than Trump, who is seeking a second term that would end at age 82.

But the results show that voters are much less concerned about Trump’s physical and mental fitness.


Biden’s image is much healthier.

He is perceived as more honest and trustworthy than his opponent (Biden +15) and more voters say he acts ethically in office (Biden +11).

And more voters say Biden is not corrupt (Biden +19) than they do about Trump.

That last point is particularly encouraging for the Biden campaign, who have worked to swat down accusations of corruption made by Trump and House Republicans over Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

As that investigation winds down, the results show that those efforts have not been as successful as the GOP would have liked.

Few signs of movement on the issues means a challenging environment for Biden

This is the first Power Rankings Issues Tracker, and part of its purpose is to track movement on these issues as election day approaches.

Candidate qualities like temperament and honesty are the least likely to move because they point to a person’s character. Both candidates have strengths and weaknesses there.

But when looking only at the policy figures, Trump has a clear advantage.

Biden’s job before November is to create some movement. But given the issues on display in this tracker, that will be a major challenge.

Even as inflation slows, prices have still risen dramatically under his administration.

Even if the administration is able to stem the tide on illegal immigration, the total number of illegal immigrants entering the country will exceed 8 million people.

And there are multiple foreign conflicts that show no signs of slowing down.

Preserving democracy and abortion are bright spots for Biden, but he is winning his issues by narrower margins than Trump’s.

It is for these reasons that analysts refer to a ‘bleak issues environment’ for Democrats. And that is borne out in the data.

Beware the deal-breakers

This tracker focuses on the issues most likely to decide the presidential race. 

But this election could be decided on very narrow margins in just a handful of states. Even in 2020, when Biden won by a healthy electoral college margin, the average popular vote margin in the three closest states was just 14,306 votes.

So keep in mind the full range of deal-breaker issues in this election, helpfully illustrated in the latest Fox News Poll.

For example, while social issues like equality and LGBT rights are only a deal-breaker for 3% of voters, for that 3%, it is the issue that will decide their vote this November.

Polls included in the Fox News Power Rankings Issues Tracker must meet these criteria:

  1. They must be conducted in the last eight weeks, with an emphasis, where possible, on recent polls and those with a registered voter sample;
  2. They must meet Fox News polling standards;
  3. And they must ask voters whether they believe Biden or Trump could ‘better handle’ or ‘address’ a given issue.

Questions about candidate qualities like honesty and age usually do not ask respondents to compare the candidates within the question, so for some categories, the average is calculated by averaging ‘yes’ (or positive) answers to the same question across multiple polls. 

For example, Trump leads on ‘age’ because more voters said he had, for example, the mental soundness to be president than when they were asked, separately, the same question about Biden.

An issue or candidate quality is included if at least two pollsters in the tracker asked about it, so the issues on the dials may change in future updates.

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