More bad news for the Biden campaign

This news might have been seen as at least somewhat surprising as recently as just a couple of months ago. Now it’s starting to seem like old hat. The Wall Street Journal has released its latest round of 2024 presidential polling and they now find former President Donald Trump to be leading Joe Biden by four points, almost outside the margin of error. This marks four out of the last five large polls showing Trump building a lead in surveys where he previously trailed or was tied. Of course, poll numbers tend to rise and fall over time and you can always find an occasional outlier, but this is beginning to look more like a trend. There has been plenty of bad news for Biden lately, so is it all beginning to weigh him down? 

Biden trailed Trump 47% to 43% in the hypothetical match-up.

The lead widened from 37% to 31% when five potential third-party candidates were added to the mix.

The WSJ ran through all of the potential matchups and there is some potentially interesting news there as well. Trump may have stretched out a four-point lead, but in a hypothetical matchup between Biden and Nikki Haley, Haley trounces him 51-34. Conversely, Ron DeSantis comes in tied with Biden at 45.

It doesn’t seem like any of that will matter very much, however. Trump is still leading in the primary by a margin unseen in the past couple of decades. He’s leading solidly in the early states as well as in the home states of both Haley and DeSantis. I do wonder if numbers like this might make Haley seem like a more appealing choice to be Trump’s running mate. Then again, I started doubting that idea before I even finished typing the sentence. Haley has been branded as “disloyal” for challenging Trump in this fashion, and we all know how highly Trump values loyalty.

So if these numbers prove durable, what is it that’s driving Biden’s numbers even lower than they already were? The WSJ analysts describe it as a case of deep “pessimism” regarding his job performance. Only roughly 20% of respondents said they believed they had been “helped” by Biden’s policies, while more than half said they had been “hurt.” Two-thirds said that the economy was either “poor” or “not good” and that it has gotten worse over the past two years. Those are some hard numbers to overcome.

I will include the usual cautions here for those who might be feeling a bit more enthusiastic about the next election. It’s true that Biden’s numbers are in the dumps for any number of good reasons. He certainly has little to run on in terms of his record. But the Democrats will still be running a full-court press on abortion and they will seek to hang that around Trump’s neck like an albatross. And this isn’t 1979. A relatively disastrous performance by a President doesn’t automatically translate into a landslide like the one Jimmy Carter faced against Ronald Reagan. This is going to be a tight race no matter who is on the ticket, and no one can take anything for granted at this point.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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