WASHINGTON – It’s less than one year until the 2024 presidential election and the latest polling shows unsettling news for President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.
It has some Democrats broaching whether the 80-year-old should step aside.
Throughout his presidency, Joe Biden’s poll numbers have not been great and this past week it got even worse. The respected New York Times/Siena College poll shows if the election were held today Biden would lose a general election matchup to former President Trump in these five key battleground states. He trails by 11 points in Nevada, 6 points in Georgia, 5 points in Arizona, 4 points in Pennsylvania, and 5 points in Michigan.
Bradley Honan is the CEO of the Honan Strategy Group, a top Democrat polling firm.
“I think these are very, very worrying numbers that Democrats have to take very seriously.”
Across the board, the numbers are bad. Voters say they trust Trump over Biden on the economy by more the 22 points. Seventy-one percent say the 80-year-old Biden is too old to be effective including 54 percent of Democrats. Only 39 percent say the same about 77-year-old Trump.
Biden’s support is also down significantly among Gen-Z, Hispanic, and Black voters, all key parts of his base, and a Reuters poll this week showed Biden’s approval rating at 39%.
The White House pushed back, releasing a political memo pointing to other polls showing Biden leading Trump.
Top Democrat pollster and strategist Cornell Belcher says this is being overblown.
“The American media has amnesia, and, and they keep writing the same stories over and over again,” said Belcher, president of Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies. “Look, I worked on both of the Obama campaigns. And in 2011, it was the same polling that had Obama, you know, down in multiple battleground states, losing to Mitt Romney.”
Belcher also points to other factors. Nobody knows quite what the electorate makeup will look like. He adds the positive numbers Trump sees could be as good as it gets which is good news for Biden.
“Trump is arguably at his ceiling, right? I’ve seen in a couple of elections now where Trump goes, right? What Trump’s ceiling is, history tells us what his ceiling is. He’s at his ceiling. Biden is at his floor, and I think that is a difference,” he said.
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Talk now has turned to whether Biden should step down. Republicans in Congress are opining on the matter.
“Nobody wants Joe Biden to run for president anymore,” said podcast host Benny Johnson.
“I think it’s going to be Newsom,” said Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL)
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) replied, “No, I think Joe is staying.”
But what are Democrat insiders saying?
“There’s a lot of chatter right now in Democratic circles, expressing real concern about about this polling,” Honan said. I even have people in my ear whispering about whether it’s time to dump Diden and find another nominee.”
David Axelrod, a key architect of President Obama’s White House runs, suggested Biden may want to think of stepping aside, writing on social media, “This will send tremors of doubt thru the party…only @joebiden can make this decision…What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; Whether it’s in his best interest or the country’s?…Yes, there also is risk associated with changing course now…but there is a lot of leadership talent in the Democratic party, poised to emerge.”
“Look, I love David. He’s a friend. But I can’t believe the statement by David because he knows better,” Belcher said.
Belcher says Axelrod knows that campaigns are built to solve problems and that should be the focus.
“You got to, you’ve got to cobble back together and energize these younger, more diverse voters to engage in the process, or you have an electorate that benefits Republicans,” he said.
That cobbling back needs to happen soon or it may be too late.