They are the sort of numbers associated with polling from the right side of American politics, like Rasmussen Reports or InsiderAdvantage: More than 60 percent of respondents say they don’t want President Joe Biden to run in 2024.
Except this is a New York Times/Siena College poll, and the 64 percent are all Democrats.
That’s right: Only one in four members of Biden’s own party — 26 percent — want him to be their nominee when his first term ends.
And that was just the beginning of the bad news for Democrats from the new poll, released four months ahead of the midterm elections. The New York Times also reported:
- Only 13 percent of American voters said the nation was on the right track — the lowest point in Times polling since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
- Among voters 65 and older, the demographic most likely to turn out in a midterm election, 44 percent strongly disapprove of Biden’s job performance while just 22 percent strongly approve.
- Of the Democrats who do not want Biden to run again, 36 percent say the reason is age or mental acuity. Another 32 percent say he is not doing a good job.
As in a flurry of other recent polls taken after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the New York Times/Siena College poll also found the abortion issue still well down the list of priorities. Asked to name “the most important problem facing the country,” respondents said:
- Economy: 20%
- Inflation: 15%
- State of our democracy/political divisions: 11%
- Gun politics: 10%
- Abortion: 5%
- Biden/Democrats: 3%
The numbers among independent voters tracked these closely, including 3 percent who picked abortion as their priority.
This new report follows a front-page New York Times story from over the weekend headlined “At 79, Biden Is Testing the Boundaries of Age and the Presidency.” The article featured multiple Democrats expressing concerns about the ability of Biden to continue in the job for a second term. It is an opinion Granite State voters have been expressing for months.
And what are New Hampshire elected Democrats saying about it? NHJournal asked U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan if she agreed with a majority of Democrats that Biden shouldn’t seek a second term, and if he did, would she support him?
Hassan declined to say if she believes Biden is mentally and physically fit to serve as president. She also would not commit to supporting him if he runs again in 2024.
Hassan’s fellow Democrats, U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, also refused to answer questions about Biden’s fitness or their support for a Biden 2024 campaign.
All three are likely facing serious GOP challenges in November. Is their silence a sign they see Biden as a political liability?
NHJournal reached out to more than a dozen Granite State Democrats about Biden’s poll numbers and competence to serve as president. Only a handful were willing to speak on the record.
State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro was one of the few Granite State Democrats contacted by NHJournal willing to defend Biden on the record.
“Yes, it’s true he’s had to deal with more problems than most presidents, many of them created by Donald Trump,” the Manchester Democrat said. “He’s doing good work under very tough circumstances. I say ‘Go, Joe!'”
Seacoast state Rep. Casey Conley (D-Dover) echoed the sentiment that Biden’s a victim of circumstance.
“This is a difficult time for anyone to be president. There are limits to what President Biden or any world leader can do to solve things like inflation, gas prices and food cost,” Conley said. “Biden can’t flip a switch to fix them.”
And unlike many of his fellow Granite State Democrats, Conley also credited Biden with some political success.
“Under President Biden, Congress passed bipartisan legislation on guns and infrastructure that no other president got done. His administration is making steady progress on clean energy, particularly offshore wind, which Trump effectively blocked. There is a laser-like focus by the media on what Democrats didn’t get done,” Conley said. And, he added, Biden’s lack of Donald-Trump-style self-promotion may be hurting him.
“Biden’s style is different and by not crowing constantly in the media it can suggest, incorrectly, that he is not doing anything. Biden’s long list of accomplishments gets lost due to terrible messaging.”
As for The New York Times report on Biden’s struggles as he approaches 80, Conley said, “I have no concerns about his age, but I’d like to see younger Democrats run after Biden completes his second term.”
Then again, Conley is not running for re-election in November and he does not have to answer to voters about his support for Biden.