A CNN/SSRS poll released in early September made clear a less-talked-about dynamic in the current presidential race: While most polls between President Biden and his likeliest opponent, former President Donald Trump, show the two of them relatively even in the polls, Biden would lose head-to-head matchups against several of the other Republican candidates.
The poll had Biden losing by a 49-to-43 margin to former Ambassador Nikki Haley, and 52-to-46 to both Sen. Tim Scott and former Vice President Mike Pence. Biden would lose to Gov. Chris Christie 44-to-42, compared to a one-point lead for Trump over Biden, and a tie between Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Now, another poll has Biden not looking great against several different Republican candidates, Trump included.
According to a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll reported by The Hill, in a head-to-head matchup between Trump and Biden, 44 percent choose Trump, 40 percent Biden, and a full 15 percent are unsure or do not know.
The poll, like the CNN one, has Haley leading Biden, with Haley gaining 41 percent and the president 37 percent. Tim Scott, meanwhile, leads the president 39 percent to 37 percent. The poll, however, has Biden leading DeSantis, Pence, and Vivek Ramaswamy. All of those polls have a significant number of people who are undecided.
“No question that President Joe Biden is showing lagging national poll numbers and that now multiple GOP candidates are ahead of him. This is a new development as [non-Trump] potential opponents like Haley get exposure,” Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll and a one-time adviser to Hillary Clinton, told The Hill.
There are quite a few caveats to those numbers, however. First of all, barring a health injury or criminal indictment, it is highly unlikely that anyone other than Trump will actually end up facing Biden. Trump has 59 percent support in the Republican nominating contest, while DeSantis has 13 percent, Ramaswamy 10 percent, and every other candidate sits in the single digits.
Also, the hypothetical question of whether Biden would defeat individual candidates is one thing when being asked now, or another thing after the candidates have been running against each other for the better part of a year. Voters have a good idea of what a Biden-Trump race would look like, since that already happened in 2020, but no one knows what a year-long Trump-Haley or Trump-Scott race would actually look like.
Also according to The Hill, the Harvard University CAPS/Harris poll asked voters what they think about the impeachment inquiry that Republicans have announced that they are bringing forward against President Biden. Per the poll, voters are split about 50/50, and nearly along party lines.
“The push for the Biden inquiry tends to split along partisan lines though most voters are concerned that Joe Biden may have crossed the line in helping his son’s business,” Mark Penn said, per The Hill.
House Republicans, per ABC News, will hold their first public impeachment hearing on September 28.
“We’re going to have three credible witnesses,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), told ABC News. “We want to be able to explain what exactly an impeachment inquiry is, and what the purpose is.”
Comer also announced plans to subpoena the bank records for Hunter Biden, although they have not announced plans to subpoena Hunter himself in order to testify. This was a point of contention when Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) railed against McCarthy last week, as part of his threat to have the speaker removed.
The Democratic Congress, Gaetz said, had “already brought in Don Jr. three times” at this point in their time in the majority.
“The Oversight Committee will continue to follow the evidence and money trail to provide the transparency and accountability that Americans demand from their government,” the committee said.
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.