Picks up in 2024 where it left off in 2023
By Dave Andrusko
Like most of the legacy media, when they are not suggesting Biden withdraw, CBS News is frantically looking for good news for a Democratic president. That means underplaying the bad new—as CBS News executive director of elections and surveys Anthony Salvanto said people view the uptick in the economy as “less worse.”
Then there is this result–66% of the public thinks that “things are going badly.” No surprise then, that CBS News latest poll has pro-abortion President Joe Biden’s approval rating 18 point underwater—that is, 59% disapprove of Biden, 41% approve.
What’s interesting is not just the latest awful numbers but the extent to which his friends in the media continue to try to make lemon out of lemonades even as the bad news piles up.
Here’s the headline and subhead in a story that ran last week in USA Today written by Susan Page, Savannah Kuchar, and Sudiksha Kochi:
A fraying coalition: Black, Hispanic, young voters abandon Biden as election year begins
In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, Biden’s failure to consolidate his victorious 2020 support has left him narrowly trailing Trump.
The story begins on this grim note. “President Joe Biden heads into the election year showing alarming weakness among stalwarts of the Democratic base, with Donald Trump leading among Hispanic voters and young people,” USA Today writes. “One in 5 Black voters now say they’ll support a third-party candidate in November.”
It gets worse:
In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, Biden’s failure to consolidate support in key parts of the coalition that elected him in 2020 has left him narrowly trailing Trump, the likely Republican nominee, 39%-37%; 17% support an unnamed third-party candidate.
When seven candidates are specified by name, Trump’s lead inches up to 3 percentage points, 37%-34%, with independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the top of the third-party candidates at 10%.
In the understatement of the year, the reporters tell us “The findings underscore the formidable political task the president faces this year to win a second term.”
I recall how dismissive my friends were when I pointed out that during this 2016 and 2020 campaigns, Trump made inroad in the Black community. Now Biden “claims the support of just 63% of Black voters, a precipitous decline from the 87% he carried in 2020, according to the Roper Center.”
And a figure that so startling it snaps your head back: “He [Biden] trails among Hispanic voters by 5 percentage points, 39%-34%; in 2020 he had swamped Trump among that demographic group 2 to 1, 65%-32%.”
Gallup has Biden fighting strong headwinds, starting with “Only 3 in 10 Americans say the incumbent is giving enough attention to the issues most important to them, which is worse than for his predecessor.”
What about specific issues? Using the Real Clear Politics average of the most respected polls we find…
*On inflation 32.4% approve, 64.4% disprove
*On foreign policy 35% approve, 60% disapprove
*On crime 36.5% approve, 57% disapprove
Then there is immigration.
“President Biden’s approval rating on handling immigration has reached an all-time low, a new poll found. Just 32 percent of Americans said in the new CBS News poll released Sunday that they approved of Biden’s handling of the border — a number that CBS notes is the all-time low for the president on this question,” The Hill’s Lauren Sforzas. “Overall, 68 percent in the new poll disapprove of how Biden is handling the border.”
Looking ahead, some things can only get worse for President Biden. President Biden is 81; two weeks past the election he turns 82. Should he win reelection President Biden would be 86 when his second term ends.
The British publication, The Economist talks about nervous Democrats.
“It is Mr. Biden’s feeble polling that is seeding the angst. The Economist’s poll tracker for the Republican primary puts Mr. Trump more than 50 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival, making him the prohibitive favourite. A polling average for the general election compiled by RealClearPolitics shows Mr. Trump ahead of Mr. Biden by a margin of 2.3 percentage points.
How and why is this different?
This is well above his showing in the past two presidential contests, in which he [Trump] consistently lagged in the polls. At this point in 2016 Mr. Trump’s support was seven points lower: he trailed Hillary Clinton by a margin of five points. At this point in 2020 he trailed Mr. Biden by five points.
So, when someone says there’s a long ways to go, that’s true. But it is no less true that, judging by the polls, Mr. Trump is in a far better position than he was 4 and 8 years ago.
I’d like to quote a long paragraph from The Economist because it nicely summarizes a great many variables:
Underpinning Mr. Trump’s strength is a broad political shift. Partisan allegiance in America may seem hysterically entrenched, but in fact it is mutable. White working-class voters powered Mr. Trump to victory in 2016; in the years since, the non-white working class has begun to shift, too. Between 2016 and 2020 Hispanic Americans, once fairly loyal Democratic voters, moved 18 points towards the Republicans. Black men are also slowly peeling away from the Democrats. Only the influx of white college graduates has kept the Democratic Party competitive nationally. These demographic trends are sizeable enough to determine the outcome of the election if they persist—and they do appear to be. The latest polls indicate higher support for Mr. Trump among African-American and Hispanic voters than he enjoyed in 2020. “It seems like the 2024 polls right now are 2020 trends carried forward,” says Patrick Ruffini, a Republican pollster.
We’ve written about all these developments many times but it’s encouraging to hear The Economist reach the same conclusion.
To make one final point I’d like to circle back to the age issue and how President Biden’s approval ratings stack up against former President Trump at a comparable point in his presidency:
Secular trends aside, there is plainly a problem with Mr. Biden himself. The president’s net approval rating is -16 points, according to several public polling averages. That is notably worse than Mr. Trump’s at this point in his presidency. Voters are worried about his fitness for office. One of YouGov’s weekly polls for The Economist in December found that 55% of Americans think that the 81-year-old Mr. Biden’s health and age “severely limit his ability to do the job” of president, including 25% of Democrats. Only 24% of Americans want him to run for president again. Fully 61% of them do not, including 38% of those who voted for him in 2020.
Adding to all this there is this particularly ominous note:
In the poll, 44% of Trump supporters describe themselves as a “10” on a thermometer measuring enthusiasm, the highest possible level. Among Biden supporters, fewer than half that number, 18%, call themselves a “10”.