Only 26 percent of Democratic respondents want Joe Biden to be the party’s nominee in the next presidential election, a new poll has found, highlighting the United States president’s dwindling popularity even amongst supporters who backed him in 2020.
The New York Times-Siena College poll (PDF) released on Monday also showed the president’s overall approval rating at 33 percent.
David Cohen, a political science professor at The University of Akron in Ohio, said the numbers are “pretty terrible” for Biden.
“There is no way to sugar-coat it,” Cohen told Al Jazeera. “Just about any way you cut it, they’re not good. And the Biden White House has got to be very worried about not only potential re-election chances, but his current standing with the American public, which across the board is under water.”
The poll comes after a number of US media outlets reported that many Democratic officials do not want Biden to seek re-election in 2024.
Sitting US presidents rarely face competitive primaries, as the party in power usually looks to capitalise on the advantage of incumbency.
But amid spiralling inflation, global crises and the US Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn constitutionally protected abortion rights, the poll found that 64 percent of Democrats said the party should nominate a different candidate in 2024.
Of those, 33 percent cited the president’s age as the most important reason behind their position. Biden is already the oldest president in US history at 79 years old. If re-elected, he would be 82 by the time of his second inauguration in January 2025.
Meanwhile, 32 percent of the same group of respondents said the president’s job performance is why they don’t want him to be re-nominated in 2024.
The survey interviewed 849 US registered voters, and has a 4.1 percent margin of error.
Biden and his top aides have repeatedly said that he intends to run for re-election. The president’s allies say he is doing his best to mitigate problems outside of his control, including rising gas prices and global supply chain issues.
To be clear, as the President has said repeatedly, he plans to run in 2024.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) June 13, 2022
Cohen said even if Biden is not responsible for some of the crises Americans are dealing with, the president is the first person people blame. “You get to take credit when the economy is good. And you get blamed when the economy’s bad,” he told Al Jazeera.
The professor noted a scathing finding in the poll for Biden – his unpopularity amongst younger voters.
The president’s approval rating drops to 19 percent with 18- to 29-year-old voters in Monday’s poll. And in the same age group amongst Democratic respondents, 94 percent want a different candidate to be the party’s nominee in 2024.
“That’s a real problem for Biden because that is a natural part of the Democratic base that he should be doing much better with,” Cohen said of young voters.
Despite the overall gloomy picture that the poll paints for Biden, there is one silver lining for the US president: Voters would favour him – 44 to 41 percent – in a potential electoral re-match against his predecessor Donald Trump.
“It shows that Donald Trump is an extremely flawed candidate as well, and a majority of the country would not want to go down that road again with Trump,” Cohen said. “Donald Trump may be the best hope for Joe Biden winning a potential second term.”