The 2024 presidential election is still one year away – the primaries haven’t even been formally decided yet – but we’ve already got a fair idea that Joe Biden and Donald Trump are going to face off for a rematch.
Biden is essentially running unopposed, which is standard for incumbent presidents with a term of eligibility remaining. The last time an incumbent was viably challenged was in 1980, when Senator Ted Kennedy took a run at incumbent president Jimmy Carter. Biden’s only declared challengers are Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Marianne Williamson. Neither has a legitimate shot at knocking Biden from his pedestal.
Trump, meanwhile, is running amidst a congested Republican field featuring multiple heavy weight candidates including former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Yet, Trump has been enjoying a massive lead over all other candidates – a lead that is beginning to seem insurmountable for the challengers.
So, if everything holds as expected, Biden will face Trump for a rematch of the 2020 election that Biden won with a 7 million vote margin. The question now is: can Biden win again?
2024 Rematch: Biden vs. Trump
Biden had the advantage in 2020 of confronting a Trump administration that was under siege amidst a global pandemic and the correlating economic downturn. Biden won’t have such an advantage in 2024, where in a moment of weird symmetry, the roles are reversed, with Trump confronting a Biden administration that has struggled to gain and keep popular momentum.
According to a recent CNBC All-America Economic Survey, Biden’s approval rating is at just 37 percent – which is the second lowest mark of his presidency. Biden has struggled with popularity throughout his first term, which suggests he may have a problem earning reelection. Biden’s sub-40 popularity rating doesn’t have many modern equivalents. Only Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump had approval ratings in the 30s. And neither Carter nor Trump were successful in their reelection campaigns – a fact that does not bode well for Biden.
The CNBC survey also gauged the outcome of a prospective Biden v. Trump matchup, finding that Trump beat Biden with a 4-point margin.
“A combination of negative views on the economy and geopolitical tensions looks to be eroding support for President Biden,” CNBC reported. “Americans’ overall approval rating for the president fell to 37% with 58% disapproving. It’s the highest disapproval and second-lowest approval rating of Biden’s presidency.”
The poll also gauged Biden’s approval ratings, specifically, on the economy and on foreign policy. With respect to Biden’s handling of the economy, just 32 percent of respondents approved while 63 percent disapproved. Given that the economy is commonly considered to drive election results (“it’s the economy, stupid”), the ultra-low economic approval ratings should concern the Biden administration.
On foreign policy, Biden ranked similarly, with 31 percent approving and 60 percent disapproving. Foreign policy is perhaps where a president makes his most direct impact, although foreign policy seems to have less of an impact on reelection chances than economic conditions.
The election is still one year away, but the early numbers should concern Biden. The good news, however, is that Biden’s most likely opponent, Donald Trump, is also unpopular, has already lost a presidential election, and is widely considered a buffoon.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer 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.