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U-g-l-y. And he ain’t got no alibi.
Biden’s numbers against Trump have dropped over time but until recently he was even or slightly ahead in most surveys, a testament to Trump’s enduring unpopularity. A president who’s under 40 percent job approval shouldn’t be competitive in general election polling, but he is when you run him against a twice-impeached conspiracy theorist. Today’s new data from YouGov affirms the point. At a moment when the country is drowning in inflation and Hispanics seem to be shifting rightward at remarkable rates, the presumptive GOP nominee shouldn’t be a *narrow* favorite. Trump is the weakest hand Republicans could play, blowing a golden opportunity to win the popular vote for the first time in 20 years.
But the bottom line from the poll is stark: Biden’s political predicament is so dire that any top-tier Republican can beat him, Trump included. If the general election were held tomorrow, considering how tight the margins were in swing states last time, I’d bet heavily on 45 to beat 46.
The survey of 1,541 U.S. adults, which was conducted from June 10-13, found that if another presidential election were held today, more registered voters say they would cast ballots for Donald Trump (44%) than for Biden (42%) — even though the House Jan. 6 committee has spent the last week linking Trump to what it called a “seditious conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 election and laying the groundwork for possible criminal prosecution…
Biden’s job approval rating has been atrophying for much of the last year, and the new survey shows that it has never been weaker. A full 56% of Americans now disapprove of the president’s performance — the highest share to date — while just 39% approve. Three weeks ago, those numbers were 53% and 42%, respectively…
Among all Americans, Trump (43%) now has a higher personal favorability rating than Biden (40%) as well. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of independents (64%) have an unfavorable opinion of Biden, and just 28% say they would vote for him over Trump.
How bad is it? Many more independents say Biden shouldn’t run again (76 percent) than say Trump shouldn’t (57 percent). Among Biden’s own voters in 2020, more say he shouldn’t run again than say he should, 40/37.
The YouGov poll isn’t an outlier either. The latest from Fox News also finds Trump viewed marginally more favorably (44/55) than Biden (42/57). Do you know how badly you have to screw up as president to have worse numbers than a guy whose final act in office was trying to stage a coup? Biden doesn’t even have the excuse that Capitol riot has faded from the public’s memory over the past 17 months, as these surveys were conducted at a moment when the January 6 committee is holding televised hearings, reminding them of the danger Trump poses.
I’ve made this point before but Fox’s numbers bear it out especially well: Views of Trump are hyperpolarized and never change whereas Biden’s coalition is more ambivalent about him, allowing for more movement in his polling. Trump’s favorability has barely moved an inch in Fox’s survey since 2018, when he was rated 45/53. In poll after poll after poll, around 44 percent of the country likes him while around 54 percent dislikes him and neither side will ever waver in those opinions. There are no “soft” Trump supporters or opponents. Biden is the opposite, a guy with no “hard” supporters. He won the primary in 2020 on perceived electability and then the general thanks to a makeshift alliance of anti-Trumpers on the far left, center left, and center right. Without the near-term threat of Trump to hold that alliance together, though, it’s begun to fray. Fox reports that Biden is now seeing record-high negative ratings among some of his own core blocs in 2020 — adults under 30, Hispanics, women.
Trump has a hard floor of 43 percent, rain or shine, but it’s anyone’s guess what Biden’s floor will turn out to be as “Anyone But Trump” voters from 2020 become disillusioned and peel away from him. Is it 39 percent? 37 percent? Worse?
It’s an especially bad sign for him that he now trails even when voters are asked specifically to choose between him and Trump in a hypothetical 2024 race. Amid grinding inflation, the prospect of a second Trump term simply isn’t enough to glue the Biden coalition back together per YouGov’s data.
One element of Biden’s slide in the polling is surely the widespread perception that he’s too old to govern effectively and would be waaaaaay too old in a second term. Yet, to my amazement, the WSJ reported this weekend that plans are in motion for him to announce his candidacy as early as next spring.
The White House has repeatedly said that Mr. Biden, 79, the oldest president to be sworn into office, intends to run for re-election. A person familiar with the president’s advisers’ thinking said they are planning on him running and that the private conversations have matched the public statements. The current discussion is that an announcement would happen after the midterm elections, likely sometime in the spring of 2023, this person said.
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D., S.C.), who paved the way for Mr. Biden to secure the Democratic nomination in 2020, suggested he would back her if Mr. Biden isn’t on the 2024 ticket.
“Right now, I’m for Biden, and second I’m for Harris—that’s one and two on the ticket, but that’s one and two in my heart as well,” he said. “So I don’t care who goes to New Hampshire or Iowa, I’m for Biden and then I’m for Harris—either together or in that order.”
To give you a sense of how woefully thin the Democratic bench is, Phil “Who?” Murphy and J.B. “No, really, who?” Pritzker are now being kicked around as potential dark-horse candidates if Biden opts not to run again. There may be no Democrat from the party’s political class, Biden included, who’s capable of getting elected in 2024. (There may be a few, like Michelle Obama, from the celebrity class.) Which means the onus of stopping Trump has shifted from the left to the right. Ron DeSantis may be the only thing standing between America and a second term of President Insurrection. How lucky do you feel?