Only about half of Democrats think President Joe Biden should run again in 2024, a new poll shows, but a large majority say they are likely to support him if he becomes the nominee.
The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows that 26% of Americans overall want to see Biden run again, a slight recovery from the 22% who said that in January. Forty-seven percent of Democrats say they want him to run, also slightly up from the 37% who said that in January.
The ambivalence among Democratic voters comes as Biden prepares to formally announce his 2024 re-election campaign next week, according to people briefed on the discussions. The president has been eyeing Tuesday, April 25, four years since he entered the 2020 race, though no final decisions have been made.
Despite the reluctance of many Democrats to see Biden run for another term, 78% of them say they approve of the job he is doing as president. And a full 81% of Democrats say they would at least probably support Biden in a general election if he were the nominee: 41% say he definitely would and 40% say he probably would.
Interviews with respondents suggest the gap reflects concerns about Biden’s age, as well as clamor from a younger generation of Democrats who say they want leadership that reflects their demographics and values. Biden, now 80, would be 82 on Election Day 2024 and 86 at the end of a second presidential term. He is the oldest president in history.
Jenipher Lagana, 59, said she likes Biden, calling him an “interesting man” who has had an “incredible political career.” She praised Biden for providing a “breath of fresh air” and said he approves of how he has been doing his job as president.
But “my problem with him competing in 2024 is that he’s very old,” said Lagana, who is retired and lives in California. “I’d love to see someone younger, like (Transportation Secretary Pete) Buttigieg or (California Gov. Gavin) Newsom, who can come in and run things maybe a little bit differently just because they’re a different person. young”.
Donna Stewart, 48, a program director for a nonprofit organization in New York, also pointed to Biden’s age as a concern.
“I voted for him. I like him as a person. I like him as the leader of the country, ”he said. “However, I feel that it still lacks up-to-date knowledge of what needs to be done.”
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden appeared to hint that he would limit himself to a single term in the White House, framing his candidacy as a bridge to a new generation of Democratic leaders. But while in office, Biden made clear his intentions that he would run again for a second term, saying last week in Ireland that he “has already made that calculation” and that the announcement will happen “relatively soon.”
With only nominal challengers in the primary and a chaotic Republican field, the president and his top advisers have felt little pressure to formalize a re-election campaign. Instead, Biden has focused on governing, holding events at the White House and traveling across the country to sell his major legislative accomplishments, such as a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a sweeping climate, health care and tax package.
The president and his top political advisers will meet with Democratic donors in Washington next week at an event aimed at energizing the party’s top contributors ahead of Biden’s highly anticipated re-election campaign.
Biden has also dismissed questions about his age, saying voters simply need to “watch me” to determine if he’s ready for the job of president.
And while many Democrats are lukewarm with Biden because of his age, others said it was actually to his advantage.
Stephen Foery, 47, said Biden’s decades in Washington, first in the Senate and then as vice president, proved valuable in the first two years of his presidency “because he’s done so much to fix the country in a very short time. .”
“I think one of the benefits of living a long life is that you have a lot of wisdom to impart,” said Foery, a manager of creative services in Pennsylvania. “If you gain as much experience as Biden has throughout his life, it would be a shame to just ignore him because of his age.”
Biden’s job approval rating is at 42%, a slight improvement from 38% in March. The March poll came after a pair of bank failures shook already shaky confidence in the nation’s financial systems, and Biden’s approval rating at the time was near the lowest point of his presidency. Thirty percent of Americans believe the national economy is good, a slight improvement from 25% a month ago.
Younger Democrats remain a reluctant part of Biden’s coalition: Just 25% of those under 45 say they would definitely support Biden in a general election, compared to 56% of older Democrats. Still, an additional 51% of younger Democrats say they would likely vote for Biden in the 2024 general election.
“It’s really hard to support someone who is a career politician, who has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo when the status quo isn’t working for me,” said Otis Phillips, 20, who lives in Washington state.
Phillips, a student, said he was pleased with some of Biden’s initiatives, including his student loan forgiveness program and his focus on climate policy. But he emphasized: “I don’t like to maintain the status quo. And so I want things to change, and I don’t think Biden is the way we’re going to do that in the next four years.”
Both the current and former presidents could face resistance from the general public in a general election. A full 65% of American adults say they would definitely or probably not support former President Donald Trump if he were nominated in a general election, including 53% who say he definitely would not. Biden’s hurdles are minor by comparison, but still significant: 56% of Americans say they’re unlikely to support Biden in a general election, including 41% who say he definitely wouldn’t.
Biden has long bet that once voters are presented with a binary option, whether it’s him or a Republican candidate, particularly if it’s Trump, the majority of the electorate will side with the Democrats. He often quotes his father, Joseph R. Biden Sr., in his public comments: “Joey, don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.
“The only reason I wouldn’t want him to perform is because of his age. That’s the only thing,” said Shakeen Magee, 45, a self-employed Georgia resident.
But he said that if Biden officially becomes the Democratic nominee in 2024, he would definitely support him “because we cannot accept another Trump.” Magee added that “if we had another Republican in that role, it would just undo what little progress Biden has been able to make.”
AP White House correspondent Zeke Miller and AP journalist Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.
The survey of 1,230 adults was conducted April 13-17 using a sample drawn from NORC’s AmeriSpeak Probability-Based Panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The sampling margin of error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.