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Majority of Democrats want Biden to step aside, poll finds

By Sarah May on
 February 7, 2023

In the latest piece of discouraging news for President Joe Biden's re-election hopes, a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll just revealed that only 37% of respondents within his own party want the commander in chief to seek a second term, as The Hill reports.

What's perhaps even more troubling for Biden is the fact that this week's results represent a substantial drop in the number of poll participants hoping that the president runs for the White House again, a figure which stood at 52% as recently as November.

AP-NORC poll signals trouble

Though Biden has yet to officially launch his re-election bid, all recent indications suggest that an announcement is likely later this month.

However, based on the AP-NORC survey results, the octogenarian commander in chief may find that he has an uphill battle when it comes to convincing voters of his viability, particularly those age 45 and under, only 23% of whom now believe he should be the Democratic Party's standard-bearer this time around.

When it comes to the electorate as a whole, the AP-NORC poll showed that a mere 22% of all voting-age Americans are interested in another Biden campaign, representing a decline of 7% from last fall's numbers.

When asked about the reasons underlying their lack of enthusiasm for Biden in 2024, Democratic respondents pointed to his advanced age, potential health issues, and notable gaffes and mental misfires on the world stage.

More bad news

Unfortunately for Biden, the AP-NORC poll was not the only recent survey to deliver disappointing results for the president and his backers, as the New York Post notes.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend found that of respondents self-identifying as Democrats or Democrat-leading independent voters, a staggering 58% would like to see somebody besides Biden get the party's nod for the next presidential cycle.

Though a sizable portion of Republican and Republican-leaning independents indicated that they would prefer a candidate other than former President Donald Trump to take the GOP nomination, the tally was substantially lower than of Democrats wishing to jettison Biden.

The poll determined that 44% of GOP voters are on board with another Trump candidacy, while just 31% of Democrats feel the same way about a Biden run, signaling potential trouble ahead for the president's re-election ambitions.

Damning assessments

Some additional revelations from the Washington Post-ABC News poll are likely to be giving the Biden camp pause this week, particularly the finding that more than 60% of respondents believe that the president has achieved “little or nothing” or “not very much” during his first term thus far.

The total of respondents who view Biden as having accomplished “a great deal” in the first two years in the Oval Office was a paltry 36%.

As the Daily Mail noted, follow-up interviews with poll participants suggested that the unfavorable reviews of Biden's time in the White House may be driven in part by suspicions about his capacity for the job itself, with one respondent opining, “His age and possibly his mental acuity is not where I would want the leader of the country to be.”

“He, at times, appears to be an old many who is past his prime. Sometimes I feel a little bit of pity for the guy being pushed out in front of crowds,” the respondent continued, seemingly echoing the sentiments of a growing number of Americans.

If not Joe?

Biden's lackluster showing in recent polls at a time when talk of the 2024 field is beginning to heat up is particularly troublesome for Democrats, given that there is reportedly much internal angst about his second in command and her ability to carry the party torch should he falter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has long been the subject of intense media scrutiny and scorn over perceived inattention to policy areas she was tapped to tackle as well as a host of gaffes and non-answers even in interviews with reliably friendly media outlets.

Even the New York Times appears to be calling time on Harris' foray into top-tier national politics, declaring in recent days that “in private conversations over the last few months, dozens of Democrats in the White House, on Capitol Hill and around the nation – including some who helped put her on the party's 2020 ticket – said she had not risen to the challenge of proving herself as a future leader of the party, much less the country.”

Though perhaps unlikely at this point, if Biden does take recent polling to heart and steers clear of the race in 2024, Democrats may be hard-pressed to identify a replacement, because, according to the Times, some party insiders believe their “biggest challenge would be finding a way to sideline her without inflaming key Democratic constituencies that would take offense,” and perhaps hand the presidency to the GOP.