President Joe Biden is preparing to formally announce his 2024 reelection campaign. Tuesday April 24 appears to be the target date as it was four years to the day since he entered the 2020 race. (Though no final decisions have been made).
Recent polling results, however, are not encouraging. The latest Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research data shows a large majority of the public does not want Biden to run – 73%. More troubling, 52% of Democrats prefer the president not seek re-election. And if he did secure the nomination, 1 in 5 Democrats say they would not support him in the general election.
Biden is in fact struggling with his base. Sixty-two percent of younger Democrats (18 to 44 years of age) do not want him to run. And just 25% would definitely support him in the general election compared to over half of older Democrats (45 years of age plus). Predictably, younger Democrats point to Biden’s age as a major factor. Biden is now 80 and would be 82 on Election Day 2024.
Biden’s support among the crucial independent voting bloc is remarkably low as well. A whopping 86% of Independents do not want Biden to run.
Finally, Democrats were more supportive of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s reelection campaigns. Nearly 80% thought Obama should be renominated while 55% backed Clinton.
|Group||% do not want to see Biden run for reelection|
|Young Democrats (18-44)||62|
|Older Democrats (45+)||44|
Biden’s difficulties can be seen in his approval ratings. Overall, 58% of the public disapproves of how he is handling his job as president. Virtually all Republicans disapprove – 93%, and well over half of Independents – 58%.
In the age of partisan polarization, these percentages – while challenging – are not devastating. Trump and Obama experienced similarly negative approval ratings from the opposition party and from Independents. However, both Trump and Obama received extraordinarily high approval from their own party – 90% plus. This is not the case for Biden. Today, his net approval among Democrats is only 78%.
Biden is in fact laboring with key coalition members. In a recent Pew Center poll, only 59% of Black respondents, 42% of Hispanics, and 33% of 18-29 year olds approve of his performance. Approval is also down among urban residents (47%) and suburban dwellers (37%).
Securing the nomination
Though his public opinion numbers are problematic, Biden has taken the necessary steps to secure the nomination. Specifically, he’s tilted the playing field in his favor.
Biden’s people on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) followed his suggestions and reordered the 2024 early primary calendar. The structural changes reward the states that helped propel Biden to victory in 2020.
For example, the Iowa caucuses are now history. Biden placed a discouraging fourth in Iowa. Instead, the South Carolina primary will begin the Democrats nomination season. In 2020, South Carolina functioned as Biden’s firewall. Blacks and moderate Whites saved his flagging campaign and propelled him toward the presidency. He expects big victories again in 2024. Michigan and Georgia also moved up near the beginning of the nomination, both Biden friendly states.
All this guarantees Biden a needed boost at the start of the primary season, which prevents rivals from building the momentum necessary to compete against a sitting president.
Finally, former president Trump will likely be the Republican nominee. This may be enough to mobilize an unenthusiastic Democrat base. Despite concerns about his age and policies, Biden will claim to be the one and the only Trump slayer. After all, he beat Trump before.
Consider the problem confronting Biden’s rivals. Who among them can beat the incumbent president? And if they do win, what if they lose the general election? Defeating your the party’s so-called Trump slayer and then losing to Trump assures the end of a political career. I suspect most contenders will avoid the risks.
Biden has never been a standout campaigner nor a political star. He knows well the most gifted candidate does not always win. It’s about comparisons and sometimes voters must choose between two undesirable candidates.
This may explain Biden’s penchant for saying,
“Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative.”
One thought on “Biden’s reelection campaign”
Interesting n suggests additional chaos for the next election. This maybe the last stand for the old guys. Voter turn out maybe a major factor.