Fox News Poll: Abortion, economy, and border security are top deal-breakers in 2024 elections

Fox News Poll: Abortion, economy, and border security are top deal-breakers in 2024 elections

Sometimes there is an issue so important to a voter that it alone decides whether they can back a candidate or not. 

In 2024, three issues meet that criteria more than others:  abortion, border security, and the economy all fight for the top “deal-breaker” spot, with different groups of voters citing each.

At 15%, abortion edges out the economy and border security/immigration (each at 14%) as the biggest deal-breaker issue.


Abortion is the biggest single issue among self-described Democrats (24%), suburban women (24%), self-described very liberals (23%), Black voters (17%), those with a college degree (17%), and voters under age 30 (16%). 

Border security is buoyed by being the number one deal-breaker among self-described very conservatives (28%), Republicans (25%), White men without a college degree (20%), voters ages 65+ (17%), and rural voters (17%).  

The economy is the single deciding issue among White evangelicals (19%), Hispanic voters (17%), independents (17%), Whites without a college degree (16%), and urban voters (16%). 


It’s no surprise the economy is a top deal-breaker issue, as views on the national economy remain negative, with 7 in 10 saying conditions are fair or poor. Still, that’s down from over 8 in 10 (84%) feeling that way in July 2022, the worst rating since President Biden took office.  

“Perceptions of the economy improving even a little is good news for the White House,” said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducted the Fox News survey with Republican Daron Shaw. “If more are feeling positive by the fall, it will undercut a potentially potent critique of Biden’s leadership.” 

More than twice as many believe the economy is getting worse (64%) rather than better (30%). That’s negative overall, but an improvement from last year (70% worse, 23% better).

“In an interview last week, Biden claimed he had already fixed the economy,” said Shaw. “That’s probably not a statement that will inspire confidence among the vast majority of Americans who are still feeling the effects of seven dollars for a box of Cheerios.”

Foreign policy is low on voters’ priority list (4% call it a deal-breaker issue), even amid ongoing wars in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Views are mixed on what to do in international hotspots. On Ukraine, voters break roughly into thirds between thinking the U.S. should be doing more to help the country in its fight against Russia (29%), doing less (35%), and thinking support is about right (33%). Democrats are more likely to feel the U.S. should be doing more for Ukraine (45%) while Republicans (53%) and independents (42%) say less.

In the Middle East, voters continue to be split over U.S. support for Israel: 32% say the U.S. is too supportive, 30% say not supportive enough, and 33% say support is about right. Once again, partisans are divided as half of Republicans believe there’s not enough support for Israel (50%), while 4 in 10 independents say there’s too much support (41%), and Democrats divide between saying too much support (39%) and support is about right (44%).

When it comes to views of the leaders directly involved in these conflicts, Russian President Vladimir Putin does the worst, with just 9% having a favorable view of him and 86% holding a negative opinion. That’s about where views of him have stayed for the last five years.  In 2002, the first time the poll asked about Putin, 23% said favorable vs. 13% unfavorable and 64% couldn’t rate him, unlike today where just 6% are unable to offer an opinion. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a 27% favorable rating (45% unfavorable), while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy garners 40% favorable (31% unfavorable).  Roughly 3 in 10 can’t rate either leader.

Student loan forgiveness has had a major moment over the past year. Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s first executive order on tackling college debt, and in April it proposed another plan to provide relief for millions of borrowers. Potential costs to fund these plans could reach billions or even trillions of dollars. 

Over half of voters (52%) oppose the idea of using U.S. taxpayer money to help individuals pay off their college loan debt, while 46% are in favor of the relief. 

Those most likely to reject it are Republicans (76%), White evangelical Christians (69%), White men without a college degree (66%), voters ages 65 and over (63%), and rural voters (62%). 

Democrats (71%), those under age 30 (69%), Black voters (67%), and urban voters (60%) are in favor of such a plan, while independents are more likely to oppose (53%) than favor it (44%). 

By an 8-point margin, voters with a college degree (51%) are more likely than those without a degree (43%) to favor loan forgiveness. 


When asked whether college loan costs are a problem, 4 in 10 voters say they are (24% say a “major” problem). That is the lowest in a list of costs, including grocery prices (89% a problem), gas prices (84%), utilities (81%), health care (80%), and housing costs (74%).

Even voters under age 30 rank student loan costs last. 

In April, the Drug Enforcement Administration proposed a rule to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug and today the Department of Justice notified the Federal Register of the proposed rule, formalizing the process.  

Still, it would not legalize it outright, something a majority of voters back: 69% favor legalizing marijuana nationwide for recreational use while 30% oppose. That’s up from five years ago when it was 63-34% favor/oppose.

Since December 2019, increases in favor of marijuana legalization can be seen across the board, with those most likely to favor it including liberals (84%), Democrats (81%), voters under age 30 (79%), and urban voters (76%), and nonwhites (71%).

Given the closeness of the presidential election contest — former President Trump currently tops President Biden by one point — it is likely whoever voters see as better able to handle their deal-breaker issue will have an edge on Election Day.  

Trump does better on two of the top three, holding double-digit leads on immigration (+15) and economic issues (+13), while Biden is seen as better on abortion (+8). Trump is also favored on crime (+8) and foreign policy (+5), whereas more trust Biden on health care (+7) and election integrity (+7).  The two tie on energy policy.

In addition to winning on the important issues, gaining the support of key constituencies is going to be a major factor for the 2024 race.

The under 30 crowd has been a much-discussed key group this cycle and while Biden won them handily in 2020 (by 25 points according to the Fox News Voter Analysis), he struggles with them now. An aggregation of the last three Fox News national surveys shows Trump leading Biden by 8 points among this group (53% Trump, 45% Biden). That’s despite younger voters being more likely to think the U.S. is too supportive of Israel, favoring legalizing marijuana and using U.S. taxpayer money to cancel student debt, and citing abortion as their top deal-breaker issue.

“On many foreign policy and social issues, younger people prefer policy solutions associated with the left,” says Shaw. “But it’s not student loans or Gaza that are the true source of disaffection. The larger issue is younger voters are deeply concerned about the future and see both sides as old, out of touch, and unable to frame politics in a compelling way.”


Conducted May 10-13 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News survey includes interviews with a sample of 1,126 registered voters randomly selected from a national voter file. Respondents spoke with live interviewers on landlines (133) and cellphones (700) or completed the survey online after receiving a text (293). Results based on the full sample have a margin of sampling error of ±3 percentage points. Weights are generally applied to age, race, education, and area variables to ensure the demographics of respondents are representative of the registered voter population.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *