It may come a day late for Halloween, but to paraphrase the classic horror film Black Christmas, Joe Biden’s confidence-crisis cascade call is coming from the Democratic house. Not only has Biden’s job approval rapidly eroded with the general electorate, even his own voters now have second thoughts about keeping him around. A new Marist poll shows that only a third of Democrats want Biden to run for re-election in 2024 — hardly a vote of confidence:
President Joe Biden’s approval rating is upside down. 44% of Americans approve of the job he is doing as president, and 49% disapprove. This compares to 45% approve/46% disapprove in our October poll.
In the Congressional generic contest, Democrats edge out Republicans with 44% of registered voters saying they’ll choose a Democrat in their district and 41% choosing a Republican. In our September poll, Democrats had an 8 percentage point lead 46% – 38%.
Looking ahead to 2024, 36% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents say their party will have a better chance winning the White House with Biden at the top of the ticket. 44% want someone else, and 20% are unsure.
That combines up two categories that may be best left separate — not that it helps Biden’s cause much to do so. Even among Democrats, the question about the 2024 nomination results in a 41/41 split, which is a bad sign for an incumbent, especially after less than ten months on the job. However, the split is much worse among Democrat-leaning independents that will have to turn out in order for the party to hold onto the White House. They prefer another candidate to Biden’s renomination by almost 2:1 at 26/51. In the crosstabs, there isn’t a single Democratic demo that favors Biden’s renomination save one: voters in the West region, and then only 45/31.
I mean, this isn’t screaming “excitement”, especially where Democrats rely on big turnout:
- Northeast: 34/40
- Midwest: 36/51
- Household income less than $50K: 36/44
- College graduates: 35/45
- Non-white: 43/43(!)
- Women: 35/41
- Urban voters: 37/53
Of course, it’s not clear that Biden would run for another term even if his numbers hadn’t begun to collapse. He’d be 82 years old in 2024, and he’s already showing signs of not being up to the task. There was plenty of speculation that Biden chose Kamala Harris (or that she was chosen for him) to allow Democrats to springboard into a more explicitly progressive era while using Biden as a popular conduit.
How’s that plan working out? According to the Washington Post, badly:
Eutopia Hall didn’t realize she had neglected to sign the bottom of her mail-in ballot for governor until the county board of elections returned the document to her, asking her to complete it. But as she sat looking at the paper, she wondered if it was even worth a second trip to the mailbox.
So little had changed since she cast a ballot for Joe Biden in 2020 that “I started to not even press the issue.” Her job and community were still mired in pandemic restrictions. An increase in the child tax credit had brought a few more dollars into her home, but it was eaten up by costlier prices for gas and food and seemingly everything else, and a year after high hopes of significant change in her family’s situation, things seemed stagnant.
“I don’t think a lot of people have a lot of faith in Biden, like they were expecting at first,” said Hall, a 42-year-old nursing assistant. “I think it’s more of a bigger division than it was before. I thought it was gonna get better once the vaccines came out because there was so many people complaining about covid and wanting a cure, but then they came out with a vaccine nobody wants to take. Nothing has changed and we’re just stuck in the same place.” …
Interviews with nearly two dozen voters in this southeast Virginia region about three hours’ drive from Washington found a profound sense of frustration that people haven’t seen benefits of Democratic control trickle into their lives or their wallets.
According to Marist’s new numbers, Ms. Hall is hardly alone. It explains why Democrats appear poised to lose a gubernatorial election in a state Biden carried by ten points just one year ago. Unfortunately, Democrats are as stuck with Biden as is Terry McAuliffe … and unfortunately, the rest of us as well.
Update: WaPo analyst Aaron Blake cautions against reading too much into this result — and also against dismissing it, too:
It’s a reality of political polling that the grass is greener on the other side. People responding to such questions are invited to consider their ideal, hypothetical candidate as a replacement for Biden — not the kind of actual, very-human candidate who would run in his place (warts and all). And as The Post’s David Weigel notes, it’s also quite possible that many Democrats assumed Biden was a one-term proposition in the first place, given his age.
That said, it’s pretty remarkable how much Democrats would like to turn the page on an incumbent president in 2024. Only about half of Democrats who like the job Biden is doing also say he’s preferable to that hypothetical “someone else.” And the GOP side is very notably reversed, with 50 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents saying Trump gives them a better chance, versus 35 percent who say someone else would.
Part of that would seem to owe to affection for Trump. A strong majority of Republicans like Trump. But the question is also a pragmatic one. It’s not about whether you think the guy would be the best president for your side; it’s about whether you think he would have the best chance of winning for your side. Despite Trump being a historically unpopular president and having very recently proven his electoral limitations in 2020, Republicans still prefer (or at least say they prefer) to roll the dice on him.
You can call that blind loyalty, but the fact that Biden doesn’t command as much loyalty on this question is significant, given that he’s the guy who just won less than a year ago.
There’s less to the Trump result than meets the eye, I think, as the alternatives simply aren’t yet established. That’s true of Biden too, though, which makes the preference for an unknown alternative mighty, mighty interesting.
Sources: HotAir: Dems to Marist: Dump Biden in 2024 … and maybe in 2021, too