Eyeing Trump, but on the Fence: How Tuned-Out Voters Could Decide 2024

Joe Perez is exactly the type of voter President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump are fighting over: A 22-year-old Hispanic man in Las Vegas who grew up leaning Republican, he also supports abortion rights and was turned off by the Capitol rioters on Jan. 6, 2021.

But Mr. Perez — unenthusiastic about a Biden-Trump rematch, overwhelmed by the news and disillusioned by politics — is tuning out.

“If you ask me right now what’s going on with, like, the presidential race, or the situation in Gaza or Ukraine or whatever, I don’t think I can answer,” said Mr. Perez, who supported Mr. Trump in 2020 and is intrigued by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. now. “I’m not trying to follow that anymore.”

Instead, said Mr. Perez, a valet who hopes to become a firefighter, “I’m just going to have to roll with the punches, because I don’t think I’m going to make a difference.”

In fact, people like him could be quite important.

Politically disengaged Americans are emerging as one of the most unpredictable, complex and potentially influential groups of voters in the 2024 race. They are fueling Mr. Trump’s current polling leads but in many cases hail from traditionally Democratic communities, giving Mr. Biden a chance to win some of them back — if he can get their attention.

No shortage of events could jolt alienated voters over the next five months, starting with a verdict in the first criminal trial of a former president in American history, which could arrive this week. Even though many of these people are historically infrequent voters, those who do cast ballots could make the difference in an inevitably close race.

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