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Can Even Trump Save Biden’s 2024 Run?

January 04, 2024
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President Biden enters the New Year with what looks like a losing campaign trifecta—dismal ratings from three groups critical to his re-election.

A Dec. 29 Suffolk University/USA Today poll found Mr. Biden drawing only 63% from black voters, down from the 87% he received in 2020. The same poll found he trailed Donald Trump 34% to 39% among Hispanic voters, who broke for Mr. Biden in 2020 by 65% to 32%. Among voters under 35, Mr. Trump leads 37% to Mr. Biden’s 33%. In 2020 Mr. Biden carried voters 18 to 29 by 60% to Mr. Trump’s 36% and 30- to 44-year-olds by 52% to 46%.

This survey isn’t an outlier. A Nov. 14 NBC poll put Mr. Biden’s support at 69% among black voters. Mr. Trump led the president 46% to 42% among voters 18 to 34. Weakness among these traditionally Democratic groups was why Mr. Trump led Mr. Biden in that NBC poll for the first time this cycle.

Similarly, an October New York Times/Siena College battleground-state poll found weakness in Mr. Biden’s support among blacks. He was at 71% vs. 22% for Mr. Trump. That’s nearly double the former president’s 2020 support.

It isn’t only the Democratic vs. Republican matchup that should worry Team Biden. Even if they can’t stomach the GOP nominee, black voters might choose a third-party option—20% said they’d choose “someone else” in a Nov. 30 GenForward survey—or not vote, an inclination that was 10% higher among blacks than whites in the same poll.

Further, a Dec. 12 CNBC All-American Survey found Mr. Trump led Mr. Biden among Hispanics by 5 points, after trailing by 33 in 2020. 

If these margins don’t change dramatically, they’ll have a catastrophic effect on Mr. Biden’s re-election.

Take Georgia, which Mr. Biden won by 11,779 votes. Blacks made up 29% of Peach State turnout and cast some 1.45 million votes. They broke for Mr. Biden by 88% to 11%. A falloff of about 0.9% among black Democratic voters would have flipped Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to Mr. Trump.

In Arizona, Mr. Biden’s margin was even narrower—10,457 votes. Hispanics, 19% of the electorate, cast roughly 640,000 votes and broke for Mr. Biden 61% to 37%. A decline of just 2.7% in the Hispanic Democratic vote would have turned the Grand Canyon State’s 11 electoral votes red.

Finally, there’s Wisconsin. In 2020 Mr. Biden’s margin was 20,682. Voters 18 to 29 were 14% of the state’s 3,298,041 votes and broke 59% to 36% for the Democrats. A drop of 7.6% among young voters would have caused the Badger State’s 10 electoral votes go Republican.

Small changes in voter turnout among key demographics could be enough to move Mr. Biden out of the White House and Mr. Trump back in. The combined weakness among these groups could cause other close states—Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania—to flip as well. 

So how can Democrats turn things around?

Pointing to lower gasoline prices, “softening” rents, a record stock market and monthly job gains, some Democrats argue that polls underestimate Mr. Biden and that Mr. Trump’s baggage will grow as he comes back into the spotlight and the courtroom. The latter is almost surely true. But as sour as America is today on Mr. Biden, it isn’t a winning strategy for him to hope voters come to feel more positively about the country’s direction and their personal circumstances.

Read More at the WSJ

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