Never underestimate Joe’s ability to f@#k things up

Barack Obama was right: “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to f@#k things up.” The New York Times is sounding the alarm for the Biden reelection campaign:

President Biden is trailing Donald J. Trump in five of the six most important battleground states one year before the 2024 election, suffering from enormous doubts about his age and deep dissatisfaction over his handling of the economy and a host of other issues, new polls by The New York Times and Siena College have found.

The results show Mr. Biden losing to Mr. Trump, his likeliest Republican rival, by margins of three to 10 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden is ahead only in Wisconsin, by two percentage points, the poll found.

Could these numbers change between now and November 2024? Sure. With the news cycle so focused on Israel and Gaza, the public is getting shorter glimpses at Trump. Judging from Trump’s Truth Social feed, the former president is as erratic, raging, and conspiracy-minded as ever. And perhaps, in a 2024 general election, with a long look at Trump, enough voters in enough states will conclude they just can’t go back to another four years of Trump in the Oval Office.

But Biden and his team would be fools to bet on lingering distaste of Trump being enough to save his reelection bid. Broad swaths of the public are telling pollsters that life under Biden is harder than it was under Trump, and they see Biden’s policies as hurting them, not helping them.

Discontent pulsates throughout the Times/Siena poll, with a majority of voters saying Mr. Biden’s policies have personally hurt them. The survey also reveals the extent to which the multiracial and multigenerational coalition that elected Mr. Biden is fraying. Demographic groups that backed Mr. Biden by landslide margins in 2020 are now far more closely contested, as two-thirds of the electorate sees the country moving in the wrong direction.

It’s a lousy economy, even with the national unemployment rate at just 3.9 percent. Notice that the national average for a gallon of regular gas was $3.74 last month. By historical standards, that’s a high price for summer driving season, never mind October. Even if the year-over-year inflation numbers are better than they were a year ago, prices are still significantly higher than they were before the pandemic.

The national average price for a gallon of whole milk in December 2019 was $3.19. In August, it was $3.93. The Wall Street Journal notes, “While the average price of a new vehicle declined over the summer from earlier in the year, it was $45,516 in September, initial estimates from J.D. Power show, compared with $33,822 the same month in 2019.”

The lingering effects of inflation manifest in a million different ways, large and small. Halloween candy was 13 percent more expensive than last year.

People still feel sticker shock at the grocery store, at the hardware store, thinking ahead to holiday shopping . . .

…while the Federal Reserve targets inflation—the rate at which the level of prices rises—consumers also care about the absolute level of prices and are bothered they remain so much higher than a few years ago.

The average Starbucks coffee has gone from under $3 at the start of the pandemic to $3.63 in the second quarter, according to Numerator, a marketing data company. Grocery prices have stopped going up, but “right now, it is still a little bit of sticker shock,” Steve Cahillane, chief executive of Kellanova, formerly part of Kellogg, said in September. High home prices are a particularly dispiriting form of sticker shock because, in combination with high mortgage rates, they have put homeownership out of reach for so many.

And yet, in the middle of this intense frustration with the economy, the president and his team deliberately chose to run on “Bidenomics.” It is as if the almost 81-year-old president chose to run on a theme of youthful vigor and sharp-mindedness.

And yet, if Biden doesn’t want to run on his economic record, what options does he have? His terrific record on securing the border? National security? Nope, a majority of voters are yearning for the old Trump approach on those issues, too.

Voters preferred Mr. Trump over Mr. Biden on immigration by 12 points, on national security by 12 points and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 11 points. And though a 58 percent majority supported more economic and military aid to Ukraine — which aligns with Mr. Biden’s policy — that did not seem to benefit the president on broader questions of fitness to handle foreign affairs.

“I don’t think he’s the right guy to go toe to toe with these other world leaders that don’t respect him or fear him,” said Travis Waterman, 33, who worked in home restoration in Phoenix. He voted for Mr. Biden in 2020 but sees him as “weak” now and prefers Mr. Trump.

This Times survey found “Biden’s strongest issue was abortion, where voters trusted him over Mr. Trump by nine percentage points.” My guess is you’ll see Biden campaign attempt to turn the 2024 presidential election into a referendum on abortion. But there’s a lot more than just that issue on voters’ minds these days.

Oh, and notice, deep in the crosstabs, that Trump beats Kamala Harris in a hypothetical matchup in all six swing states. The closest is Georgia, where Trump leads Harris, 45 percent to 44 percent, and Wisconsin, where Trump leads Harris, 47 percent to 46 percent. In Nevada, Trump beats Harris 48 percent to 42 percent, and in Arizona, Trump beats Harris 48 percent to 43 percent.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post