Biden's 2024 prospects slip even as Democrats make gains
Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC, shares his perspective on US politics.
How are President Biden's electoral prospects looking?
A year out from the 2024 presidential elections, numerous states throughout the US held elections this week, and Democrats had a pretty good night. A constitutional amendment protecting access to abortion passed in Ohio, and Democrats won the two chambers of the Virginia legislature, a rebuke to Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, who won an unexpected election there just 12 months ago.
But over the weekend, some bad news came out for President Biden with a poll from The New York Times showing that Donald Trump was beating him in five of the most important swing states. So what does this mean for Biden? Well, the interesting thing here is that Democrats, in recent years, have done quite well with a highly engaged, high educated, high propensity voters, the kind of people who show up in off-cycle elections, in midterm elections, and special referendums and things like that. Republicans have done much better. And particularly Donald Trump has done much better with disaffected voters, voters who are less likely to show up, lower-income voters and lower-education voters. And that's why Trump has done so well in 2016, 2020 and could again do well in 2024.
The poll released over the weekend shows that Americans broadly think Biden's too old to be president in 2025 and that he polls quite poorly on the economy and foreign policy and a whole bunch of other issues with voters saying they would actually prefer a Republican candidate.
So what does this contradiction mean between the Democrats doing really well in the actual elections, yet Biden's poll numbers being relatively poor? It means that the 2024 election is probably going to be a pretty close, hard-fought battle. Biden's age is probably going to be a liability for him. And Donald Trump has an opportunity to pull the kind of inside straight in the Electoral College that he pulled again in 2016. All he has to do is flip three of the most important swing states probably Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, are the three most important to watch. But a lot can change in a year. Biden's political fortunes could rise and fall. President Trump could end up being in jail. And we may end up with two other candidates. Who knows?