US election 2024: President Joe Biden leads Donald Trump in latest Reuters/Ipsos poll

President Joe Biden continues to hold an edge over potential Republican challengers Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis as the 2024 US presidential election draws closer, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll.

But there are potential hazards ahead for Biden should the situation at the US southern border worsen, the poll shows.

Among registered voters, Biden led Trump, his predecessor as president, by six percentage points in a hypothetical match-up, 44 percent to 38 percent, holding an advantage that has opened up in recent few months. In a mid-March Reuters/Ipsos poll, Biden led Trump by five points after trailing him by three points in February.

The latest poll collected responses nationwide from 4,410 US adults. For registered voters, it had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of two percentage points.

In the 2024 Republican primary, Trump maintains a commanding lead over DeSantis, the Florida governor who is expected to announce his candidacy within the next few weeks.

Forty-nine percent of registered Republicans picked the former president, more than double DeSantis' 21 percent support. Former Vice President Mike Pence was backed by 5 percent of Republicans, with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and others garnering even less. About 10 percent percent said they did not know which candidate they would support.'

Biden, a Democrat who announced his re-election bid last month, would hold a slight edge with independent voters over a Republican opponent, the poll showed, buoyed by his positions on abortion and gun violence.

Sixty-three percent of registered voters - including 73 percent of independents - said they were less likely to support a presidential candidate who backs severe restrictions on abortion.

Democrats' views on gun policy also scored better among respondents, with 67 percent of registered voters saying they were more likely to back a candidate who backed stricter gun laws.

But the issue of migrants crossing into the US from Mexico holds potential peril for the president.

His administration last week lifted Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that blocked many migrants from applying for asylum, prompting fears of a surge of attempted border crossings. US officials say tougher penalties for illegal crossings and new asylum procedures should deter some migration.

In the poll, 64 percent of Democrats and 93 percent of Republicans said they favor a presidential candidate who supports tougher measures to secure the border. Majorities of both parties also said they were concerned that immigration could surge because of the lifting of Title 42.

Arizona, which sits on the US border with Mexico, was a key state in the 2020 presidential election. Biden won it over Trump by 0.3 percentage points. Polls show immigration to be a leading issue in the state.

Trump continues to face myriad legal woes. Last week, a New York jury found Trump had sexually abused and defamed writer E. Jean Carroll nearly 30 years ago and awarded her $5 million in damages. He was indicted in New York in April in a scheme concerning hush money payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels.

Respondents to the poll who styled themselves independents remain unhappy with the potential 2024 matchups.

In a hypothetical Biden-Trump contest, 15 percent of registered independents said they would vote for “some other candidate” and 9 percent said they would not vote.