Voters are on high anxiety entering 2024, with over 6 in 10 expecting a catastrophic “black swan” event that could upend the presidential election.
And while a depression and domestic terrorist attack top the expectations of voters, Tuesday’s constitutional challenge to the election presented by the Colorado Supreme Court signaled that legal hurdles for former President Donald Trump could top the list of impactful and unpredictable events.
“I think we have the beginnings of our 2024 black swan event,” pollster Jeremy Zogby told Secrets on Wednesday. “While we got accustomed to ‘Trump on Trial,’ this ups the ante considerably. The political fallout right now looks enormous.”
The Colorado court took steps to boot Trump off the primary ballot, a potential model for other anti-Trump states to follow. Before its decision kicks in, the court is allowing time for Trump to appeal, likely to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the move, added to other cases against Trump that he has described as a Democratic effort to block his challenge to President Joe Biden, is pushing election turmoil onto the list of so-called black swan events that could change the election.
Zogby suggested that the legal challenges Trump is already facing could top the chaos voters witnessed in 2016 and 2020 when the former president faced off against Democrats and the media.
“It ties into my sense that Part 3 of this election movie franchise will exceed the chaos of Parts 1 and 2,” said Zogby, the managing partner of John Zogby Strategies.
On the Colorado decision, he added, “The implications are huge. The fallout from this does not look pretty.”
The decision followed on the heels of a new poll John Zogby Strategies did on voter concerns about a black swan event.
Partner John Zogby pointed to the Great Depression and the 1980 economic collapse and capture of American diplomats in Iran as two past examples. Jeremy Zogby added the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.
What surprised the duo in the poll was that 63% said that they believe a black swan event is somewhat-to-very likely. There was partisan agreement: 59% of Democrats agree, as do 67% of Republicans and 63% of independents.
An economic depression was the top concern, at 34%, followed by an attack on the U.S. banking system or electric grid at 21%, a terrorist attack at 20%, and World War III at 18%.
“American voters have high anxiety,” Jeremy Zogby said.
And as proof the nation is bracing for the worst, when asked if people had thought about preparing for a black swan event, 63% said that they were thinking about getting ready to those who said they already are. Only 16.4% said that they were not thinking of preparing.
John Zogby added that he is worried the black swan event could come after the election if voters don’t accept the outcome of a Biden-Trump fight.
“This is my possible black swan that I worry about. And that is unlike 1932 and 1980. The election does not resolve anything. That, in fact, last time, it was Donald Trump who refused to accept the results of the election. I really worry that neither side is prepared to accept the results of the election. That’s how bad things are that I fear is the black swan event of 2024,” he said in a podcast with Jeremy Zogby to discuss the poll results.