What underlies it? Certainly, part of this involves age. In the Times poll, 94% of Democrats under 30 preferred “someone else.” And some Democrats might believe, on a strictly pragmatic level, that Biden is not their greatest potential hope.
(It’s undoubtedly true that voters like the idea of anonymous hypothetical candidates whom they can idealize. But other polls have shown Biden’s vote share well below a majority in a crowded field of candidates. real.)
But part of that is also a very real degree of Democratic disillusion with both Biden’s performance and the situation under his watch. They don’t hate Biden, but they don’t like him either, and they’re not seeing the results they were hoping for. And this is confirmed if you dig a little deeper into recent polls.
We wrote last month about Biden’s obvious lack of base. In four separate polls at the time, the number who “strongly approved” of Biden ranged from 1 in 8 Americans to 1 in 6 Americans. About three times as many Americans strongly disapproved of him. The only time this happened in recent political history was in the last days of George W. Bush’s term, when he was even more unpopular than Biden is today.
New polls from Quinnipiac and CNN confirm this – and show just how far Biden has fallen with this base.
The CNN poll shows that Biden’s recent drop in popularity — he’s at 38% overall in the poll — is solely attributable to Democrats. They have gone from 86% approval to 73% in the past two months, while Independents and Republicans have remained largely static.
The drop is more evident if you focus, as we did before, on a strong endorsement.
In the CNN poll, just 28% of Democrats strongly endorse Biden. That’s down from a peak of 67% in April 2021. In the Quinnipiac poll, approving slightly more strongly — 38% — but that’s down 77% per month in Biden’s presidency and in down from 58% in November.
Biden’s basic numbers on the economy have also fallen significantly. At least 85% of Democrats approved of his handling of the issue in November in the Quinnipiac poll; it is now 66 percent. In the CNN poll, his economic approval among Democrats has steadily dropped to 60%.
The CNN poll also presents other striking results:
- In April 2021, 90% of Democrats said Biden had the ‘right priorities’ as president, compared to 9% who said he hadn’t ‘gave enough attention to the country’s most important issues’ . The latter figure has now risen to 42%. At least 4 in 10 Democrats say Biden isn’t even focusing on the right things. (The Quinnipiac Poll shows gun violence is the issue most Democrats rank as their No. 1 priority, with 22% citing it, followed by inflation, climate change, abortion and election laws, all closely grouped.)
- 62% of Democrats say things in this country are at least “somewhat badly” — down from 37% in December.
- Only 32% of Democrats rate economic conditions as at least “fairly good,” down from 62% in December.
- 56% of Democrats think we’re currently in a recession (which we could be)
This last trio of measures does not concern Biden. But generally speaking, a president’s base will have a significantly more positive view of things like economic conditions. Clear majorities of Democrats consider things bad and even that we are in a recession under Biden’s watch. It all probably stems from there.
Indeed, those most inclined to give Biden the benefit of the doubt and see the good in his presidency are struggling to do so. And it should come as no surprise that they come up with entertaining alternatives when he is re-elected.