Steve Kornacki Says Biden Has Lost the ‘Edge’ Over Trump He Had in 2020: ‘It’s a Very Different Dynamic’

Steve Kornacki, the MSNBC political journalist and data analyst who rose to fame during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, confirmed Monday that President Joe Biden has lost the “edge” he had over former President Donald Trump in 2020.

“It’s a very different dynamic,” he said of the presumed candidates for the 2024 presidential race looking ahead to November.

Unwilling to predict the outcome of a Biden-Trump race while being interviewed by Jimmy Fallon on Monday’s “The Tonight Show,” Kornacki said that he knows “it’s a cop-out to say, but it’s 50/50.”

“In 2020, you kind of felt the whole way that Biden had the advantage over Trump, and then it ended up being very close, but I think there was a lot of indications Biden had an edge in 2020,” Kornacki said. “When I look at the same data now, it’s a very different dynamic. So this race is, you could make a case for Biden, and it’s basically a case against Trump. And you can make a case for Trump, it’s basically a case against Biden. Whose negatives are going to end up being higher, I think, is what’s going to drive it. And I — it’s a tough one to measure.”

Asked by Fallon about how the polling data ahead of November is being gathered, Kornacki said that it’s getting more difficult to get voters on the phone to weigh in with their opinion.

“But the one thing that people agree on in polling on this election right now is you say, ‘Do you wish the choice was not Biden and Trump?’ And overwhelmingly they say yes,” Kornacki added. “And yet, that’s what we’re going to get.”

In the likely hypothetical that the 2024 presidential race does come down to Biden and Trump, mirroring 2020’s race, the data analyst said that the last time the U.S. saw a race like this one — where a former president comes back as his party’s nominee four years after losing reelection for a second term — was 1892 between presidents Benjamin Harris and Grover Cleveland.

The only Republican candidate on the primary ballot left standing in Trump’s way to becoming his party’s nominee is former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — but Kornacki said she has an uphill battle.

“She’d have to do something she hasn’t done yet: win,” he said. “It sounds flip, but she’s running in South Carolina, it’s her home state, she was the governor for two terms, and she’s 30 points behind the polls there. That’s going to be in a couple weeks, and unless she finds some way to win that state, I don’t know how you can go forward. If you lose your home state, and you lose it badly, and you’ve lost everything before it, I don’t know what the case is at that point. It’s hard to see a path after that.”

“Are you prepared for going crazy?” Fallon asked toward the end of the interview.

“I’m always ready for that,” Kornacki replied. “I’ve got plenty of caffeine.”

Watch the full “Tonight Show” interview with Kornacki in the video above.

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