CNN released the results of a new poll Thursday morning that shows the incumbent president in a very weak position as the 2024 election continues to heat up — but there’s an important caveat.
I’ll get to that below, as well as providing the complete set of poll results — more than any reasonable person will want to read, most likely — but let’s look at a few highlights first.
As far as hypothetical matchups go, they all fall within the poll’s 3.6-point margin of error, making each of them basically about even … except one.
In this poll, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has an apparent small lead over Biden, 49 to 43. (But remember what I said about caveats.)
That may not sound so bad for President Joe Biden, but what his team should find more alarming is the fact that when asked whether “Any Republican nominee would be a better choice than Joe Biden” or the opposite, that “Joe Biden would be a better choice than any Republican nominee,” respondents chose the generic “any Republican” over the incumbent president by a margin of 46 to 32 — well outside the poll’s margin of error. (Almost a quarter of those polled, 22 percent, said neither of those statements reflected their views.)
Granted, when the question was reversed and “Any Democratic nominee” was matched up against former President Donald Trump, Trump came in second — but by a much smaller margin of 44 to 38, which was within the margin of error, though not by much.
Those can’t be reassuring numbers for the White House. But it gets worse for them.
SSRS, the polling group, asked 391 Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents whether the Dems should put Biden up for re-election next year or nominate “a different candidate.”
Members of Biden’s own party chose someone other than Biden 2-to-1.
Compare that to the responses to similar questions asked about former Presidents Barack Obama in 2010 (76 percent chose Obama) and Bill Clinton in 1994 (55 percent said Clinton should be the nominee). That’s gotta hurt.
In an article covering the release of the polling data, CNN noted some of the issues that the poll uncovered that are likely hurting Biden in this.
“Perceptions of Biden personally are also broadly negative, with 58% saying they have an unfavorable impression of him,” CNN wrote. “Fewer than half of Americans, 45%, say that Biden cares about people like them, with only 33% describing him as someone they’re proud to have as president. A smaller share of the public than ever now says that Biden inspires confidence (28%, down 7 percentage points from March) or that he has the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president (26%, down 6 points from March), with those declines driven largely by Democrats and independents.”
And then there’s the age issue, which one would assume will only loom larger as time progresses — Biden is, after all, older now than he ever was — and now he’s even older. And now he’s even older. And now … you get the point. Biden is 80 today, he’ll be 81 on Election Day next year, and he’ll turn 82, Lord willing, 15 days later.
“Roughly three-quarters of Americans say they’re seriously concerned that Biden’s age might negatively affect his current level of physical and mental competence (73%), and his ability to serve out another full term if reelected (76%), with a smaller 68% majority seriously concerned about his ability to understand the next generation’s concerns (that stands at 72% among those younger than 65, but just 57% of those 65 or older feel the same),” according to CNN.
The question of Biden’s age has been out there since even before the 2020 election, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
It’s hard to see how Democrats can see anything positive in these poll results — except maybe for that caveat I mentioned earlier.
Gluttons for punishment may review all 71 pages of the poll results below, or scroll past it for why these numbers may not be as bad for Biden as they might seem.
But remember: I said that there was a caveat, and it’s an important one.
SSRS conducted this poll for CNN by sampling a total population of 1,503 adults, and for most of the political questions, it further reduced the sample — to 1,259 registered voters. That’s registered voters, not likely voters.
That’s an important distinction, because even in the high-turnout 2018 and 2020 elections, only about 50 to 60 percent of registered voters actually cast their ballots. Surveying registered voters is interesting, and it certainly can indicate the mood of the electorate — but it’s not all that useful for making predictions about what 2024 will look like. (It’s a lot cheaper than trying to identify likely voters, however.)
And for that matter, the general election is still well over a year away. Lots could happen between now and then, including the deaths — Heaven forfend — of some pretty major players, given their ages.
In other words, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt, at least when it’s thought that these results accurate reflect what reality will look like in 14 months.
Polls of likely voters taken, say, a year from now will be much more instructive, but we all know that polling rarely predicts the final result of any election perfectly. We can’t know for sure until we see what happens at the ballot box next autumn.
Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, that is. After the past few years, I’m taking nothing for granted.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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