President Joe Biden should find a new crop of poll numbers sobering as the incumbent embarks upon his reelection tour. In the Washington Post-ABC new poll, released over the weekend, Biden’s approval rating dropped to 36 percent – the lowest of his presidency, and significantly lower than last February, when Biden polled at 42 percent.
But Biden’s numbers are worse than just a low approval rating. In a head-to-head matchup against Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election, the poll found that 44 percent of respondents favor Trump, whereas just 38 percent of respondents favor Biden. Another 18 percent of respondents selected the undecided/neither/someone else option. Of the 18 percent, 49 percent indicated that they were leaning toward backing Trump, whereas 42 percent indicated Biden.
The numbers are atrocious for a president seeking reelection. And while the results reflect one single poll and should not be used to draw grand conclusions about the 2024 election, the numbers are reason for concern in Biden world.
Trouble brewing for Joe Biden?
The polling numbers are perhaps the beginning of “a much bigger headache for the president – especially as he heads into the 2024 campaign with clouds on the horizon for the economy,” POLITICO reported. “The poll shows that by a 54% to 36% margin, “Americans say Trump did a better job handling the economy when he was president than Biden has done during his presidency so far.”
Part of Biden’s problem seems to be a decline in popularity amongst his base. Black voters, for example, who strongly backed Biden in 2020, are losing enthusiasm for the octogenarian president.
“While only about half of Democrats overall say they want Biden to run again in 2024, 81% say they would definitely or probably support him if he were the nominee,” the Associated Press reported. “The groundswell isn’t as stark among Black adults: 41% say they want him to run and only 55% say they are likely to support him in the general election.”
Why is the Black community feeling down on Biden? Interviews with Black voters in South Carolina suggest frustration over what is perceived as a failure on Biden’s part to deliver on the Black community’s “most important priorities.”
Biden playing it down
The Biden camp is, of course, playing down the news. And in doing so, the Biden camp reiterated what is shaping up to be the theme of 2024: You Could Do Worse.
In a statement to POLITICO about the new poll, Biden’s campaign responded that “MAGA Republicans and their extreme agenda remains both dangerous and deeply unpopular and threaten our freedoms and the economic progress we have made under Joe Biden. We will continue to focus on earning Americans’ votes, addressing the issues they care most about, and again defying the conventional beltway wisdom to win a second term.”
The statement from Biden’s camp is telling, in that the statement is very much a rehash of the campaign launch video that Biden just debuted. In the statement and the video, Biden doesn’t really promote his administration’s achievements – which is the instinct of most incumbent administrations seeking reelection.
Instead, Biden leans heavily into the MAGA threat, the looming alternative. It’s more of a vote for me or else, rather than a vote for me because I’ve done a great job.
And maybe that’s what Biden will have to do – because voters don’t seem all that impressed with the job he’s done.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.