meIf President Joe Biden wins a second term in 2024, he will be defying several polls that show his popularity waning.
Biden announced his bid for re-election on Tuesday morning and is moving quickly with campaign plans, but the news comes as polls show a large majority of voters do not want him.
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“Every generation has a time when they’ve had to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I think this is ours,” Biden tweeted. “That’s why I’m running for re-election as President of the United States. Join us. Let’s get the job done.”
Biden will first have to convince voters to let him finish the job, and a number of polls indicate they are skeptical.
An NBC News poll released a day before the announcement found that only 26 percent want a second term for Biden, compared to 70 percent who do not. And another poll, released by CBS News the same morning as Biden’s announcement, found that only 22 percent of even Democratic-leaning voters were enthusiastic about the prospect of him running again.
A reporter asked this of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during the afternoon briefing.
“We understand what the polls say,” Jean-Pierre said. “But I will say this. In 2020, more Americans voted for this president than any other president in history. And let’s not forget that in 2022, against all odds, against everything we were told, this president had one of most successful midterm elections for a Democratic president in 60 years.”
Biden himself has made a similar argument to the marker in the past, often using the adage, “Don’t compare me to the Almighty; compare me to the alternative.”
But the president’s potential opponents are taking the polls, with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) boasting that 70 percent of people don’t want Biden to finish the job.
Still, who proves to be the Republican alternative will be crucial next year, argues Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.
“DeSantis or Tim Scott or Nikki Haley, they don’t have as much baggage as [Donald] Trump does,” Bannon said. “And if one of them is the nominee, Biden will have to magnify his accomplishments. Running against a newcomer would mean Biden has to do more work on his own record.”
Former President Donald Trump harshly criticized the then-candidate as “basement Biden” in 2020 for his low-key campaign, but Biden was successful in November anyway. Biden may use that strategy again this time, going on vacation the week Trump was impeached in New York.
Another weakness with Trump is that he is only four years younger than Biden.
The NBC poll found that 69 percent of those who said they did not want Biden to run again cited age as a reason. The president is already the oldest commander-in-chief in history and would be 86 at the end of a second term. The White House initially balked on Tuesday about whether Biden would serve the full eight years before clarifying that he would.
Bannon admits Biden’s poll numbers are troubling — his approval rating has been in the low 40s for more than a year — and said he will have to do a better job of defining his presidency and pointing out his achievements
The Republican National Committee made a similar point in a newsletter sent out just hours after Biden’s announcement.
“You’d think a sitting president campaigning for re-election on the slogan ‘getting the job done’ would name at least one specific first-term accomplishment in his announcement video,” RNC spokesman Tommy Pigott wrote. “Joe Biden’s re-election video is 3 minutes long and doesn’t name a single one.”
Biden has also drawn two primary challengers, and while neither is considered a threat to win the Democratic nomination, they have made more noise than expected at this early date.
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has launched his candidacy with the support of 14% of Biden supporters, according to USA Today, while self-help guru Marianne Williamson warned that younger voters will not stick with the octogenarian incumbent next year. A New York Times-Siena College poll last summer found that 94 percent of Democrats 30 and younger preferred a different candidate.
“I think the video was very out of touch, and that’s what people are feeling,” Williamson said. “I think a whole younger generation would stay home en masse in response to what this video is advancing as the administration’s pitch to the American people.”