Poll: Just 22% want Biden to run again

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

You wouldn’t expect an incumbent president to be much higher than 50 percent on this metric since voters in the other party will almost universally say no, they don’t want him back on the ballot — if only to avoid having to face a candidate who’s beaten them once before.

You would expect an incumbent president to be higher than — hoo boy — 22 percent.

Then again, we’ve never had a president who’ll be in his 80s if he runs for reelection. If Biden were super-old but doing a bang-up job in office, he’d probably be short of 50 here for that reason alone. But as it is, being super-old and not doing a bang-up job means he’s short of … 25.

Luckily for Democrats, they have a hugely popular, highly competent VP to fall back on.

Biden is so unpopular with independents that even *Kamala Harris* outpolls him within that group.

Three years is a long time in politics, but looking at that table, only Harris and Stacey Abrams realistically have potential to build meaningfully on their share of support. In theory Harris could start to grow in the job and maybe notch some sort of win, if Biden’s willing to put her in charge of an initiative that’s likely to be popular and pass Congress. (Infrastructure was an obvious opportunity but oh well.) No one expects that, though. Pete Buttigieg’s name is kicked around a lot but there’s only so much a transportation secretary can do to raise his profile and convince the public that he’s presidential timber.

AOC is AOC. She’s too young and too alienating to too many people to contend seriously. Nominating her would be like nominating the slogan “defund the police.”

Everyone else on the list is an also-ran or a never-gonna-be — except Abrams, who’d leap into the top tier if she wins the Georgia gubernatorial race. That’s my theory for why she decided to run next year despite the fact that the national environment should be heavily pro-Republican. She’s placing a high-risk high-reward bet that she can win that election against a divided GOP and then become the progressive favorite for president against Harris in 2024. I wouldn’t bet everything I own against it happening.

If Abrams goes down in Georgia, leaving Dems in a “Harris or bust” nightmare, they may have no choice but to go begging to Michelle Obama to get in.

The WSJ has a new poll out today of Biden’s approval. Currently he’s rocking a 41/56 rating across the general population and a — deep breath — 30/66 rating among independents. Just 11 percent of indies strongly approve of his performance as president.

In the survey, 63% of voters said the country had gone off-track, with just 27% saying the nation was on the right course. Some 61% said the economy was headed in the wrong direction.

A challenge for Mr. Biden and his party is that voters don’t see them as best equipped to improve the economy. Voters said they believe Republicans have the better economic policy, 43% to 34%, and the GOP is viewed as better able to control inflation, secure the border, fix the immigration system and reduce crime.

The GOP leads by three points on the generic ballot, by 11 points when voters are asked which party would do better at building the economy, and by 18 points when they’re asked who’d do better at controlling inflation. Given the high priority voters assign to those issues, that advantage strikes me as decisive in the midterms if Dems can’t cut into it.

They’re fortunate to have a secret weapon, though: Donald J. Trump. Despite Biden’s piss-poor numbers, especially with independents, he leads Trump 46/45 in a head-to-head 2024 match-up in the WSJ survey. Another recent poll from Harvard-Harris has Trump ahead of Biden but there too the race is statistically even, with Trump leading 48/45. A generic Republican in the Glenn Youngkin mold would be creaming Biden right now since a generic GOP nominee would turn the race into a pure referendum on Biden’s performance in office, killing Democrats’ chances. A Trump/Biden rematch would make the election a choice between Trumpy chaos and Biden senescence, though. Trump can win that rematch but he can also lose it. I’m not sure a younger Republican who’s more trusted by swing voters could, not if they’re facing an 82-year-old or (giggle) Kamala Harris.

Enjoy “The View” bickering over whether Biden’s first year has been a bust or not.