Yes, it’s very early. But if given the choice right now, which Democrats do Americans want to see run for president in 2024? The perhaps not-so-surprising answer emerging from the latest I&I/TIPP Poll seems to be: “Anyone but Joe Biden.”
In our April opinion poll, we asked Americans of all political affiliations across the demographic spectrum “Who do you want to see run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2024?”
Just 19% of those responding answered “Joe Biden, 46th president of the United States.” The rest of the choices were spread among 18 candidates, along with “other” (6%) and “not sure” (28%). Put another way, 81% of Americans don’t want Biden to run again.
Specifically, other names on the list included (in declining order of preference) Vice President Kamala Harris (7%), Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (6%), former First Lady Michelle Obama (6%), former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton (4%), former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (3%), and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (3%).
Trailing in the preference race is a long list at 2%, including losing 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy.
A third tier of candidates includes California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Luhan Grisham, all at 1% preference.
The data come from the April I&I/TIPP Poll of 981 registered voters. The poll was conducted online from April 4-6 by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, I&I’s polling partner. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.2 percentage points.
What does this mean?
It appears that, besides Biden himself, those garnering most support are those who have also been most in the media eye in recent months, for different reasons. Even so, none has caught fire.
Still, for a sitting president barely into his second year in office to be below 20% in the next election’s preference shows just how low Biden has dropped in the public eye. Last week’s I&I/TIPP Poll results showed that a similar level (21%) of Americans didn’t think Biden would even finish his first term, much less run for a second.
Is he a lame duck? Maybe not. Just last week, the 79-year-old Biden reportedly told former President Barack Obama that he plans to run.
“(Biden) wants to run and he’s clearly letting everyone know,” one of two sources familiar with the Obama-Biden conversations told The Hill.
“I believe he thinks he’s the only one who can beat (former President Donald) Trump. I don’t think he thinks there’s anyone in the Democratic Party who can beat Trump and that’s the biggest factor,” the source said.
The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls show Biden’s approval rating at 40.8%, while his average disapproval rating is now 53.8%, a significant 13-point gap.
Given his weak showing so far – unless he makes a stunning turnaround in public opinion – Biden is likely to attract a challenge from within his own party in 2024.
Even if one considers only the Democrats’ responses to the question of whom they want to run in 2024, there is still little improvement. Just 29% say they want Biden on the Democratic ticket in 2024, perhaps the most telling data point in the entire poll.
Some 12% of Dems would prefer Harris, 7% Sanders and Michelle Obama, 5% Clinton and 4% for Buttigieg, Abrams and Booker.
It should come as no shock that the Republican and independent responses are lower still for Biden, at 8% and 15%, respectively. And only one Democrat actually improves her share of the vote among Republicans and independents: Gabbard, who gets only 1% of of her own Democratic Party saying they want her to run, while 5% of Republicans and 6% of independents do.
So, taken together, it’s ABB — Anybody But Biden.
No doubt of greater concern right now for the Biden team is that he doesn’t match up well to his nemesis, former President Donald Trump.
Once again, the RealClearPolitics average of head-to-head preference polls between Biden and Trump going back to November show Trump leading 45.4 to 41.7, a 3.7-point edge. The most recent poll figured into the average, taken in March by the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, gave Trump a 47%-41% lead.
Trump beats Harris even more handily in a hypothetical head-to-head match up: 48%-38%. Not close.
Biden will face an uphill battle no matter whom he faces. As the New York Post recently reminded readers:
“Inflation is at its worst in 40 years, erasing wage growth. Crime is surging in many major cities. Employers are struggling with labor shortages. Illegal immigration could top 2 million encounters this year, amid a border crisis that has been spiraling out of control since virtually the moment Biden took office.”
That’s a big hill to climb for any candidate.
Each month, I&I/TIPP publishes timely and informative data from our polls on this topic and others of interest to Americans. TIPP has earned a reputation for excellence by being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.
Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.