Terry Jones of Issues and Insights analyzes the current state of the presidential race.

Each side in today’s often-angry political debate over the upcoming presidential election seems convinced that its candidate has a clear advantage. But, as of now, neither President Joe Biden nor former President Donald Trump has an obvious edge in the popular vote as we enter the final eight months of the 2024 election season, the latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows.

Despite being widely criticized for his lackluster campaign and showing continuing signs of age-related mental impairment, Biden holds a slender 43% to 42% lead over Trump. The online national poll of 1,246 registered voters was taken from Feb. 28 to March 1, with a margin of error of +/-2.8 percentage points.

Among those taking the poll, 8% said they preferred someone “other” than Biden or Trump, while 7% said they were “not sure.”

The partisan breakdown was fairly even, with 85% of Dems favoring Biden and 86% of Republicans favoring Trump. Among independents, a crucial swing vote for both candidates, the prospective vote broke 37% in favor of Trump, 36% in favor of Biden, with a hefty 16% saying “other” and 11% “not sure.”

That means, in terms of overall voter preference, as of March the head-to-head battle between Biden and Trump is within the margin of error, still too close to call.

But will both make it through the primary process to be their respective party’s candidates? And will the ultimate winner even win the popular vote?

As for the primaries, Biden and Trump seem safe. In the case of Trump, only one challenger remains: former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. But in head-to-head preference in the I&I/TIPP Poll, 79% of Republicans preferred Trump, vs. 11% supporting Haley.

After a drubbing in her home state’s primary in late February (Trump 59.8%, Haley 39.5%), Haley’s chances of overtaking Trump nationally seem slim.