Double Haters May Decide the Presidency


With the 2024 US election set to be decided in a handful of key states, every political pollster in the nation wants the same thing: deeper insight into the minds of the battleground state voters whose choices will decide the presidency. In partnership with renowned polling group Siena Research, we used Engage, CloudResearch’s revolutionary AI-driven survey and interviewing platform, to combine traditional quantitative polling survey data with a large-scale AI-driven qualitative dataset: over 5000 in-depth qualitative interviews with battleground state voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In the piece below, we draw on these interviews to better understand what will perhaps be the single most crucial group of voters this November: the ‘Double haters.’   

Originally published on Siena College Research Institute by Don Levy.

Understanding Double Haters 

Using cutting-edge AI technology, Siena College Research Institute in collaboration with CloudResearch, conducted in-depth interviews with over 5000 of the battleground state voters likely to decide the 2024 election. Their responses were candid and often emotional, and underlined some key challenges facing both Joe Biden and Donald Trump.  

Let’s face it, a majority of the vote for President is already in. Nationally, 71% of Americans have a favorable opinion of either Trump or Biden and an unfavorable view of the other. Let’s call them the Love-haters. Love-haters plan to vote for the candidate they love and against the one they hate in our national New York Times/Siena surveys at 95% for Biden lovers and 96% for Trump lovers.  

The Impact of Double Haters on the 2024 Election 

Across the battleground – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – this dynamic is even more pronounced. In those six states, 76% of voters are love-haters and plan to vote for Biden among his lovers at 96% and for Trump among his lovers at 97%.  

Based on our surveys conducted prior to the verdict in the New York trial, if the only voters were the Love-haters, Trump is up by 3 points, 50-47% nationally and by 7 points, 52-45% across the six battleground states. Given the emphasis on each battleground state rather than considering the 6 states simultaneously, we find that among Love-haters, Trump leads Biden by 13 in each of Arizona and Georgia, by 17 in Nevada and by four in Pennsylvania. Michigan and Wisconsin are essentially tied among Love-haters as Trump is up by one in Michigan while Biden is up by one in Wisconsin.  

Key Insights from 5000 Engage Interviews 

Looking a bit more at these Love-haters, those that love Biden and hate Trump only love Biden at a score of 71% of the possible while Trump Love/haters love Trump at a score of 80% of the possible. And in terms of hate, they are almost equal. Trump Love-haters hate Biden at a score of 94% and Biden Love-haters hate Trump at a rate of 95%.  

We see little evidence that Love-haters have any inclination to vote for the candidate that they hate.  

Enter the third parties. Among Trump Love-haters, when offered a third-party candidate, Trump loses 9 points of support with most, 5 points going to Kennedy. Stein picks up one point and 3 points move to someone else or won’t vote. Biden loses 12 points among his Love-haters, 7 to Kennedy, 1 to Stein, one to the Libertarian and 3 to someone else/won’t vote.  

Who Are The Double Haters? 

Who’s left? Well of the remaining 29% nationally or 24% across the battleground the single largest group is the Double haters, those voters with an unfavorable view of both Joe Biden and of Donald Trump. They comprise 18% of the national sample and 17% across the battleground states.  

With Trump up over Biden in the Battleground states among Love-haters and even up more if indeed some Love-haters peel off to vote for either RFK or another third-party candidate, it appears as though Biden would need to carry the Double haters by a substantial margin.  

In order to better understand these pivotal voters, Double haters, Siena partnered with CloudResearch using its proprietary Engage platform. Through Engage, CloudResearch conducted AI driven online interviews with 800 Double haters across the six battleground states. In order to open the door on this important and diverse group of voters, we offer not only the numbers from the New York Times/Siena surveys but also comments from Double haters from CloudResearch’s Engage platform.  

Across our most recent sequence of battleground polls, the Double haters favor Biden over Trump by 39-31% with 30% saying they would vote for someone else or not vote. In fact, across the six states among Double haters Biden has large leads in Arizona (31 points), Pennsylvania (16 points) and Georgia (10 points). While Trump leads in Michigan among Double haters by 16 points, Biden has smaller advantages in both Wisconsin (6 points) and Nevada (3 points). The percentage of Double haters that now refuse to say that they would vote for either Trump or Biden ranges from 21% in PA to 40% in Nevada.  

The Double haters may very well decide the winner in many of the battleground states.  

How Double Haters Could Swing the Election 

Double haters have a somewhat more negative attitude towards Trump than they do towards Biden. Of Double haters, 62% have a very unfavorable view of Trump while fewer, 47 have a very unfavorable view of Biden. Translated into a score, if a score of 100 was representative of every Double hater having an unfavorable view of either candidate, Trump’s score is 81 while Biden’s is 74. Slightly less ‘hated.’ In interviews through Engage, Trump was called ‘selfish, narcissistic, unstable and corrupt’ while Biden was described as ‘too old to run the U.S. and incoherent.’  

Of Double haters that say that they will vote for Trump, their Trump hate score is 63 and their Biden hate score is 85. Of Double haters that say that they will vote for Biden, their Biden hate score is 61 and their Trump hate score is 94. And of Double haters that do not say that they would vote for either candidate, their hate scores are Trump 85 and Biden 77.  

Engage: Revolutionizing Voter Analysis 

Who Are the Double-Haters?  

First off, they are as a group less certain that they will vote in the November election. While 54% of respondents across the battleground that are NOT Double-haters are almost certain that they will vote, only 37% of Double-haters are almost certain. An additional 32% of non-Double-haters are very likely while fewer, 25% of Double-haters are very likely. Double-haters are nearly 3 times as likely as non-Double-haters to say that they are somewhat likely, not very likely or not at all likely to vote.  

Double haters are younger as a whole than are non-Double haters. They are twice as likely to be between 18-29 years of age and 1.5 times more likely to be between 30 and 44.  

They are slightly less likely to be college educated and somewhat more likely to be Latino.  

Over half self-describe as being politically independent but still claim to identify more so as Democrats than as Republicans 19-13%. Across the non-Double haters, party identification is roughly one third each.  

Not surprisingly, Double haters at the rate of 82% are either not very or not at all (58%) satisfied with the candidate choice this cycle. Among others that rate of dissatisfaction is only 31%. 

Double haters say that they voted for Biden over Trump by 20 points in 2020, 39-19% with 33% not having voted and 5% voting for another candidate but today, 84% disapprove of the job that Biden is doing as President.  

Double Haters’ Dilemma 

On two key issues, the economy and abortion, Double haters are conflicted.  

Overwhelmingly, 93% say that the economy is doing no better than only fair or poor – the rest of respondents are at 76% – and by 55-29% they trust Trump more than Biden on the economy. It was common for respondents to tell Engage that, “the economy was much better when Trump was president.” We also heard some reservations about another Trump term, “I feel slightly that Trump would stop some of these rising costs by corporations and greed. I’m not 100% sure though, as he is a business owner and likes to line his pockets too in order to live his rich life. I’m sure he doesn’t care much about us little people..”  

Double haters support abortion being legal at a rate of 71%, higher than the balance of the population’s 63% and prefer Biden’s leadership on abortion over Trump by 36 points, 58-22%. 

And interestingly, Double haters strongly favor the Democrats running for U.S. over the republicans by 40 in AZ, 23 points in both NV and PA and by 7 points in WI while the rest of voters in three of those four states are evenly divided. In WI, the Democrat leads by 9 among non-Double haters.  

Given that Love-haters are so firmly in their respective camps resulting in numbers that would, if only Love-haters voted, point to Trump having a clear pathway to victory, Double haters appear to be Biden’s only path to victory. Currently they lean towards Biden overall and in some states quite strongly.  

But they are in a dilemma. By definition, they have an unfavorable view of both candidates. They appear to lean Democratic based on their previous vote history, party identification and choices for senate. But they are unhappy with Biden’s performance.  

On the one hand they think the economy is in shambles and prefer Trump’s leadership while on the other hand they strongly support abortion rights and trust Biden to protect those rights.  

Using the Engage platform to draw out deeper insights into Double haters, the analysts at CloudResearch find that the Double haters who say that they will vote for Trump will largely do so because they prefer Republican policies. They believe that while Trump himself is not the ideal candidate, they feel as though his policies align more with their conservative values.  

Some of these Double haters simply distrust Biden more than they dislike Trump. In her interview with Engage one 53-year-old female from PA said that, “Trump may be messed up but he knows how to handle our country. Other countries were afraid of him and Americans were prosperous. Now we have a babbling old buffoon who doesn’t even know what he is saying and inflation is so high.”  

Even when it comes to abortion, an issue on which Double haters as a whole align more with Biden, the many Double haters voting for Trump display a much more pro-life stance. “Donald Trump has a fundamentally more moral stance on abortion than Joe Biden,” according to one 30-year-old male from GA, “Trump believes abortion after a certain period should be illegal. I believe in this as well.”  

CloudResearch finds that while Double haters that plan to vote for Trump justify their vote on policy, those that plan to vote for Biden tend to because he is lesser of two evils. In fact, one 38-year-old female from PA said, “I think Trump would handle the economy better than Biden…but I would support Biden only because he is the best choice I have out of the current candidates.” A 35-year-old Black woman from Pennsylvania agreed that “The current administration is handling the economy poorly.” 

Despite their negative views of Biden, many Biden-voting Double haters simply cannot bear the alternative: “I am more concerned about seeing that Donald Trump is NOT elected than I am with anything else.” said one 52-year-old female from AZ, “I’m not a fan of Biden, but anyone is better than Trump and I don’t want to split the vote by casting a ballot for an independent who will take votes away from Biden.”  

But some Double haters do now say that they will vote for a third-party candidate. Nationally the New York Times/Siena survey reveals that among Double haters when offered third party candidates along with the two leading contenders, 29% of Double haters choose either Biden or Trump while 40% name a third-party candidate.  

In their Engage interviews, Double haters leaning toward third-party candidates consistently express both contempt and despair toward the major parties, and that both the Republicans and Democrats have been “failing our country year after year.” They say that they have “zero trust in Joe Biden or Donald Trump…I can’t believe this country has fallen so far that we are stuck with these two candidates.”  

Others express excitement with third party candidates, especially with Robert F. Kennedy. One 56-year-old female from NV says, “I love everything RFK Jr. stands for. He is honest and he is for the people. I feel like he would make positive changes in many areas including the economy, affordable housing and the environment.”  

And some are voting for a third-party candidate in an effort to improve democracy, with one 59-year-old female from WI arguing that “for sure the only solution for this country is to break the dominant two-party system…”  

When we collapse the vote choice in our New York Times/Siena surveys into Biden, Trump or ‘don’t know’ among Double haters, we find Biden leads but nearly one-third can’t give an answer. Of those, many now say that they will vote for a third-party candidate, but some just can’t provide an answer right now. They don’t like either candidate. They tend to be very unhappy with the economy. Many in the interviews with CloudResearch’s Engage say they do not approve of Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza but where will they land? One 19-year-old female from WI said, “Trump is incredibly selfish and has done nothing but harm. Biden promises change but never acts on his promises. I don’t agree with Trump on anything and I’m very disappointed in how Biden has responded to the Israel-Palestine situation.”  

That voter may ultimately decide who will next occupy the White House. 

To learn more about Engage and these findings, join our upcoming webinar, “The Double Haters Determining the 2024 Election: Insights from 5000 Engage Interviews”, on July 10, 2024. 

About CloudResearch  

CloudResearch is an online platform that connects researchers with more than 100 million research participants worldwide. CloudResearch provides tools to carry out complex online projects and polls for the academic, public, and private sectors. Engage is CloudResearch’s latest research innovation, using AI to combine the power of traditional and conversational surveys at scale

Contact: Leib Litman, PhD, CloudResearch, Chief Research Officer.

About the Siena College Research Institute  

Founded in 1980, the Siena College Research Institute conducts regional, statewide and national surveys on business, economic, political, voter, social, academic and historical issues. Recognized as one of the premier polling centers in the nation, the Siena College Research Institute has achieved an exceptional A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight and in both 2022 and 2023, was honored as the number one polling institute in the United States by the same outlet for its unparalleled accuracy and commitment to excellence.

Contact: Don Levy, Ph.D., Director, Siena College Research Institute, 518-783-2901,

To provide more insight into what Engage is and how it works, our research team at CloudResearch has selected three partial interview transcripts that stood out to us, either due to the impressive level of emotional depth participants displayed when interacting with Engage, or due to the ability of Engage to gradually bring out fascinating and candid insights from initially taciturn participants.  

In the first, a 42-year-old female from Wisconsin who is planning to vote for Cornel West in November shared her feelings of losing hope in the US political system: 

Great! It’s interesting to see your political choice leaning towards a third-party candidate. Could you elaborate on your motivations for choosing a third-party candidate over a major party candidate? What factors influenced your decision?
I believe that both parties have sold their souls and our country to corporations. I am ABSOLUTELY SICK of being forced to pick between the lesser of two evils. I dream of a day that I get to cast a vote for someone I believe in, whose policies reflect my morals instead of holding my nose and voting for the least awful of the two choices that are chosen for me by the private organizations DNC and RNC.
Continue Reading
I appreciate your candid response. It seems like you’re really concerned about the influence of big corporations in politics. Could you share any specific incident or policy proposal from a major party that really made you feel this way?
Currently we see the war machine in full force….babies are murdered in Gaza with weapons provided by the USA….by my tax dollars! I cannot afford or access greatly needed health and dental care as an American citizen as we have a for profit healthcare system instead of a socialized healthcare system…but…hey, at least Ratheon is making lots of money off of death and destruction.
It’s clear how deeply you resonate with Cornel West’s viewpoints. The connection between a candidate’s values and their constituents is integral. Speaking specifically, what actions or policies do you hope to see from Cornel West, particularly around your concerns for foreign policy and healthcare? What aspects of his approach to these issues do you believe would result in the change you desire?
I believe Cornel West would implement a socialized healthcare system, like every other developed country has. I believe that he would not fund endless oil wars….instead putting that money and energy towards creating a sustainable future by investing in the development of “green” infrastructure and energy sources. I believe that he would invest our nation in healing and creation instead of death and destruction. I believe that he has not and would not sell his interests to corporate America thru lobbyists…or “legalized bribery” as I call it.
These are indeed strong expectations and hopes you have for Cornel West. At the same time, there are certain challenges associated with third-party candidates, such as less visibility and difficulty penetrating mainstream politics. How do you address these challenges and what gives you hope that Cornel West, or any third-party candidate, could overcome these obstacles and effect real change?
Hope. I wish I had more. I used to be such an optimistic person. After watching what the DNC did to Bernie Sanders in 2016 and again in 2020, I really don’t have much hope. I understand the system is rigged and that I really only have the facade of choice….I am only allowed to choose from the lesser of two evils that are chosen for me by the .01% of men that own the world. I don’t have hope after watching the Trump presidency and seeing what he got away with. I don’t trust our system of government or believe in it anymore. I don’t hope our politicians will suddenly do the right thing. I have lost hope. All I have is a dream.

In the second, a 47-year-old mother from Georgia currently leaning toward voting for Joe Biden talked openly and emotionally about her recent struggles to provide the life that she wants for her young son: 

The economy is horrible. Everyone I talk to is suffering financially, including myself. After take home pay, it's barely enough to pay rent and utilities. Then you have to figure out how to buy groceries, household needs, childcare, and gas to get to work and back. These end up going on a credit card because you have no option not too. Then your in credit card debt just so you can feed your family and have gas to work. Plus your charged interest on your groceries which are already to high. Then you have credit card payments due, if I don't have money to buy the product I charged how am I to afford a high credit card bill with high interest and other fees associated with it? My rent keeps increasing even though I've lived in the same unit for 5yrs. I can't move because others are more expensive. The place I live in is too small and old crappy depressing place as the owners won't update and I'm stuck here. I want to buy a home for my son and I and we can't buy even though have great credit and has a good state job and yet I'm told no because I font have a mass down payment and I can't get down payment assistance because the vendors don't work with other companies or want to take that time. To many hard workers are car living because we can't get housing anymore due to costs.
You previously mentioned that you trust Donald Trump over Joe Biden to do a better job on the economy. Could you please elaborate more on why you feel this way?
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I feel slightly that trump would stop some of this rising costs by corporations and greed. I’m not 100% sure though as he is a business owner and like to line his pockets too in order to live his rich life. I’m sure he doesn’t care much about us little people that helped him get where he is. So I don’t know. They all suck.
I understand that this is a tough question. It’s clear there’s a lot of frustration and distrust in how things are currently running. Based on your response, it sounds like your primary concerns around the economy relate to the rising costs of living and income inequality. Can you share more about why these are particularly important issues to you? What specific changes would you want to see?
Because I busted my ass all my life to do everything I’m supposed to do. Work, get a degree, be honest, help your fellow man, don’t cheat or lie or steal, raise your kids, etc. yet I can barely afford to buy toilet paper and the end of the day and I have to keep telling my child I’m sorry when they ask for little things or want to join sports or clubs. Even a simple yard to play in with a swing set, I have to tell my child sorry, moms trying but houses are to expensive. A kid should have a yard. A parent that has done everything right to include a great credit score should be allowed to buy her son a home with a yard. There’s the rich people and there’s us. I’m over it all.

And finally, in the third, we see Engage patiently asking follow-up questions, and eventually coaxing an initially reluctant 39-year-old Lars Mapstead voter from Arizona into sharing openly and candidly about their unique mix of policy preferences and personal perspective on the economy: 

You have expressed that you are likely to vote for Lars Mapstead, the Libertarian Party candidate. Please could you share your reasons in deciding to vote for a third-party candidate instead of a more established, major party candidate?
Because the two major party candidates both suck
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Thank you for your response. Some people might argue that voting for a third-party candidate could risk “wasting” your vote since they traditionally do not win in presidential elections. How would you respond to that perspective?
If the Dems or GOP don’t want me “wasting” my vote..then..ahem…they should nominate better candidates.
That’s a fair perspective. Do you feel that your vote for a third-party candidate makes a difference? If so, in what ways?
It allows me to flip the raised middle finger to the Dems and GOP, so that’s nice
I understand your frustration. Do you feel the two-party system in the U.S. is beneficial or harmful to the political process? Is there a different system you would prefer?
I think we need more parties
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Moving to a multi-party system would be a significant shift. In your perspective, what benefits would having more parties bring?
more viewpoints represented instead of only two
Would you mind sharing some examples of specific issues or viewpoints that you feel are currently not adequately represented by the two major parties?, what about somebody who wants stronger borders, but also single payer healthcare? Or somebody who wants nationwide concealed carry permit reciprocity, but also wants to legalize marijuana? Neither of those hypothetical voters is being served well by the two major parties
I see, it’s clear that you believe that the two-party system cannot fully encompass the diversity of political viewpoints, especially for voters whose perspectives do not perfectly align with either party’s platform. Have you considered participating or have you participated in local or state-level politics, where there might be more flexibility and diversity in viewpoints? Often, changes at these levels can influence national politics in the long run.
yes i do participate actually…next question please
That’s great to hear. Let’s change the subject slightly. What are your thoughts on the idea of compulsory voting, meaning legal requirements that eligible citizens must vote, in efforts to increase voter turnout? This is something that other democracies, such as Australia, implement.
Terrible idea…it’s compelled labor, like slavery. Violates the 13th amendment.
It seems you expressed earlier in the interview that you trust Donald Trump to do a better job on the economy over Joe Biden. Could you share a bit more detail on why you feel that way?
I don’t trust either of them, frankly. They’re both morons. But at least under Trump we didn’t have 15% inflation per year…and yes I said 15%..the official numbers must have been typed up by somebody who hasn’t been to a grocery store lately. Like, I don’t care what a new Mercedes costs, that’s sure as heck not something I buy every week, so why are high ticket items like that (not that exact item maybe, but high ticket rare purchases) even on the CPI list? Now, when the price of potatoes is up 30% in two years, and the rent on my house is up about the same…then yeah, THAT’s the actual inflation number…at least to me.

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