64 Percent of Democrats Want Biden Replaced in 2024

With record-low poll numbers, the grass roots wants someone new on the ticket next time.

NYT (“Most Democrats Don’t Want Biden in 2024, New Poll Shows“):

President Biden is facing an alarming level of doubt from inside his own party, with 64 percent of Democratic voters saying they would prefer a new standard-bearer in the 2024 presidential campaign, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll, as voters nationwide have soured on his leadership, giving him a meager 33 percent job-approval rating.

Widespread concerns about the economy and inflation have helped turn the national mood decidedly dark, both on Mr. Biden and the trajectory of the nation. More than three-quarters of registered voters see the United States moving in the wrong direction, a pervasive sense of pessimism that spans every corner of the country, every age range and racial group, cities, suburbs and rural areas, as well as both political parties.

Only 13 percent of American voters said the nation was on the right track — the lowest point in Times polling since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.

They provide this graphic showing the 32-year history of their polling on the question:

The caption notes that the polling partner and question wording were different prior to 2020 but there’s no reason to think either materially impact the trendline. The numbers here are bad.

For Mr. Biden, that bleak national outlook has pushed his job approval rating to a perilously low point. Republican opposition is predictably overwhelming, but more than two-thirds of independents also now disapprove of the president’s performance, and nearly half disapprove strongly. Among fellow Democrats his approval rating stands at 70 percent, a relatively low figure for a president, especially heading into the 2022 midterms when Mr. Biden needs to rally Democrats to the polls to maintain control of Congress.

In a sign of deep vulnerability and of unease among what is supposed to be his political base, only 26 percent of Democratic voters said the party should renominate him in 2024.

Mr. Biden has said repeatedly that he intends to run for re-election in 2024. At 79, he is already the oldest president in American history, and concerns about his age ranked at the top of the list for Democratic voters who want the party to find an alternative.

The backlash against Mr. Biden and desire to move in a new direction were particularly acute among younger voters. In the survey, 94 percent of Democrats under the age of 30 said they would prefer a different presidential nominee.

It stands to reason that, if Democrats are unhappy with how things are going right now, they’re amenable to a change in leadership. A majority of Republicans want someone other than Donald Trump to run in 2024, too. A theoretical ideal candidate is naturally better than an actual one.I suspect, however, that Biden and Trump would both outpoll any specific alternative. (Not having access to the raw poll, though, I am reduced to an educated guess on that front.)

As to why Biden should be replaced, the small subsample of Democrats who wanted to replace Biden gave numerous rationales:

Which . . . isn’t that surprising. He’s old (which is rather baked in) and the country is moving in the wrong direction. But, again, replaced with whom? Bernie Sanders is even older. Kamala Harris? Pete Buttigieg? They had their shot at Biden in 2020 and didn’t fare so well.

The rest of the report is just anecdotal whinging from various yahoos. It may or not be representative of much of anything.

Certainly, as Dave Schuler articulated Friday in response to a Harry Olsen column, this all bodes well for Democrats this November:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and as or more important, the policy responses to it. By the standard Candidate Biden articulated during his campaign he should already have resigned. The trend isn’t moving in the right direction right now.
  • We haven’t had the sort of inflation we have at present for more than 40 years—that’s not within living memory for a majority of Americans.
  • We haven’t had a president with this low an approval rating going into the midterms in 70 years.
  • We’ve never had a president this old. And speaking brutally honestly although a lot of Republicans seem to be kidding themselves about Biden’s degree of disability it cannot be denied that Biden has lost a step or two. He’s not a drooling senile lump but he’s not the man he was when he was Obama’s vice president, either.
  • These midterm elections are likely to be scrutinized as no other.
  • There are a lot of unknown unknowns.

It’s almost certainly not Biden’s fault that COVID is trending as it is, given that much of the vaccine resistance is among Republicans and, certainly, has been exacerbated by Republican leaders and media outlets. But it is what it is—and the highly Democratic metro eras, with their higher population concentrations, are certainly no immune.

For that matter, while I think Biden has contributed at the margins to inflation and gas prices, they’re overwhelmingly owing to factors outside his control. But people in democracies, not just Americans, naturally blame their political leaders for these things. (And Trump got a lot of credit for trends that began under his predecessor.) Life ain’t fair.

But it’s just too early to assess 2024. It’s been a long time—Lyndon Johnson in 1968—since an eligible sitting President didn’t run for another term. Given his age, it’s possible that Biden will in fact ultimately opt out if his poll numbers don’t improve. But, forced to bet, I would do so heavily on Biden being the Democratic nominee. Indeed, I’d put much higher odds on someone other than Trump running against him.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2024, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    One can argue that with the headwinds that Biden faces, he and we are doing quite well, but that is a losing argument. Probably a new face and a governor. Lately Pritzker, Polis and Newsom and Sherrod Brown are getting mentions. Of the retreads, Mayor Pete and Klobuchar. In their conversation in this AM’s NYT, Bret Stephens referred to Kamala Harris as the Dems Dan Quayle and Gail Collins agreed and I suspect, like me, many readers nodded in agreement.

    Frankly, Warren, Hillary! and Bernie are too old, and so is TFG. Time to hand the ball to the next generation.

    4
  2. KM says:

    What’s the record of victory for the incumbent party to succeed when the sitting POTUS decides not to run again? I understand people may have some issues with him but the overall goal is to keep the GOP from power. I get the concerns but this very well might be a dance-with-who-brung-ya moment.

    We cannot afford to hand the GOP the WH if we want democracy to survive. We may never have a real election again if that happens so 64% of Dems need to grasp that if Joe runs, Joe’s your vote. Petulance or protest voetes about it will result in disaster. Biden can always resign once he’s been sworn in but if we lose the election, that’s it. It would take decades at best to undo the damage if we even could. I’d take a positively decrepit and hooked up to life support Biden over any GOP challenger.

    14
  3. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Time to hand the ball to the next generation.

    While I totally agree with this, we need to understand what “next generation” means to different people. What do does the general public mean when we complain politicians are too old or we need the next generation to start leading?

    See, Biden’s not a Boomer (he’s a Silent) so technically they’re the next generation even if the older ones are in their 70s. The youngest of their cohort is in their late 50’s so do we mean them? What about Gen X, the ones who get forgotten about most of the time since people skip right to Millennials? Are we talking about generational culture so that we want to skip over Cold War mentalities and jump to those who’s formative years were the Reagan admin and the rise of the digital age?

    I’ve often found that when people say “too old” they really mean “older then me” and “time for a new generation” they mean theirs whether that actually shifts the demographics or not. Or perhaps more specifically, for Silents to finally get out of the way and younger Boomers to assume the majority of control. Kennedy got crap for being so young at 43 but that’s a little older then the oldest Millennial right now. Is the request really for Gen X and Millennials to take the reigns of power in their 30’s and 40’s….. or is it their parents demanding THIER parents get out of their seat at the head of the table.

    3
  4. Modulo Myself says:

    Biden can always resign once he’s been sworn in but if we lose the election, that’s it.

    You can’t say this and then expect a positive response in a poll two years out. That’s just crazy. Personally, if Biden tries to pull some DOMA-like pander to homophobes over trans people that would probably be the line for me. I think the issue is that nobody wants to relive the last 20-30 years of endless nudging and pandering to idiots and bigots so that we can get Obamacare and gay marriage plus MAGA bigotry, a theocratic Supreme Court, anti-vaxxers, mindless private enterprise, even more mindless cops, and millions of guns. They may settle for a remake in exchange for not having a theocracy. Settling and wanting are different things.

    The Republicans are operating on pure vengeance and resentment at thought of others being outside their grasp. That is their version of the promised land, and it may work. Their voters either want it or will settle for it. I get why there’s no promised land right now for the Democrats. But you can’t complain when people aren’t enthusiastic about only settling.

    1
  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Biden wasn’t my choice in ’20. He won’t be in ’24.
    That said, I think he’s done a good job all things considered.
    Gas prices are high but have dropped for the last 24 days straight – yet you don’t see that in the media.
    My sense is there will be a lot of Susan Sarandons this cycle. That mentality helped give us Trump. If we end up with another Trump/DeSantis type President there won’t be a US left in ’28.

    3
  6. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    If 64% don’t want Biden, it should be a fairly easy task to run someone else (preferably not another septuagenarian or octogenarian) and vote for that person in the primaries. Sadly, what will reveal itself is that 64% not only don’t want Biden, but also don’t want candidates A, B, or C (or L or M or Q, for that matter).

    1
  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    So far as POTUS Biden has been an excellent Secretary of State. He’s the best foreign policy president since Nixon. Unfortunately he has no rhetorical skill. His response to Roe has been limp at best. He needs to step up his domestic game and his party building.

    Kamala has disappeared from the conversation entirely. I don’t know if that’s Biden sidelining her, or her own lack of ability. I like Newsom, he’s not a bad speaker and I enjoyed his attack on Florida. He’s betting DeSantis is the guy, which seems likely, but ‘likely’ 2+ years out doesn’t mean much.

    6
  8. Dave Schuler says:

    This isn’t new. Biden didn’t start getting majorities until after the South Carolina primary in 2020.

    4
  9. grumpy realist says:

    I’m pretty sure at some point we’re going to see someone proclaiming that Hillary should run again.

    If the US is so stupid as to re-elect Donald Trump, it deserves whatever world of hurt that will result. Pity about the rest of the world, however.

    1
  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: “What’s the record of victory for the incumbent party to succeed when the sitting POTUS decides not to run again?”

    How many times has it happened in the history of our nation? 1968 is the only one that comes to my mind.

    1
  11. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In their conversation in this AM’s NYT, Bret Stephens referred to Kamala Harris as the Dems Dan Quayle and Gail Collins agreed and I suspect, like me, many readers nodded in agreement.

    That’s nonsense. Quayle was visible.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: “We cannot afford to hand the GOP the WH if we want democracy to survive. We may never have a real election again if that happens so…
    If this is the case (and it may well be), then you may only be able to kick the can down 4 more years to 2028. The GQP looks to have a long bench of young authoritarians and the last Democrat to win as Vice President was Truman.

    Good time to be old. 🙁

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist:

    There have already been a few Hillary! to save the Dems articles. I don’t see it happening.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Offhand, James Polk declined to seek the nomination for a second term very early in his administration. I’m not clear on the details, but apparently is was a political bargain to obtain support from his own party. He went on to wage the Mexican-American War and to annex Texas.

    Next election was won by the other party, the Whigs, in the person of Zachary Taylor, who died before finishing his term.

    1
  15. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Don’t you mean risible?

  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I like Newsom as well. But he WAS married to Kimberley Guilfoyle…Jr’s coke whore…so there may be questions about his judgement.

    2
  17. gVOR08 says:

    I saw that headline and didn’t read the story. I thought, “Oh goody, another Dems in Disarray story, but I suppose a new poll is a legit news story.” Bloggers elsewhere pointed out NYT COMMISSIONED THE DAMN POLL. They can’t find enough D in D stories? They’ve taken to manufacturing them?

    I’ve been having something of a hobby lately distinguishing what I call the Fallacy of Perfection from the Nirvana Fallacy. This is the Nirvana Fallacy. I guess I’m part of the 64% because I too would prefer an imaginary perfect candidate who is sure to win (and agrees with me on everything) to Biden. But Biden will do nicely until that guy comes along.

    2
  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    @KM:

    What’s the record of victory for the incumbent party to succeed when the sitting POTUS decides not to run again?

    There is only two cases in US history where a one term president was replaced by a different candidate from the same party: Buchanan-Pierce and Hayes-Garfield

    There’s a few cases, prior to the 22nd amendment, of a president not running after two terms and being replaced by a candidate of the same party: the Jefferson-Madison-Monroe-Adams string, Jackson-Van Buren, Grant-Hayes, Roosevelt-Taft, and Coolidge-Hoover

  19. DK says:

    I don’t care who Democrats nominate in 2024, post-McCain Republicans have gone full fascist and are disqualified from power, probably for a generation. If Americans don’t see that yet, then we deserve to suffer.

    Biden, Hillary!, Pete, Kamala, Newsom, Ghost of LBJ, I really don’t care. Vote Blue.

    8
  20. Steve Fetter says:

    The fact that anyone would even make the argument that a 82 year old person should serve another 4 years in office astounds me.

    Having Kamala on deck and Nancy in the hole for Presidential succession scares me.

    The upcoming wipeout in the Congressional elections this Fall should be clarifying for the Dems to go a new direction. You have to hit rock bottom before you make real changes.

    5
  21. Kathy says:

    I think the only reason not to recommend the democratic candidate in 2024 would be if the party winds up nominating a Trump.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Ugh. I thought the California thing was bad enough, but that is truly disqualifying.

    (Say what you will about California, the mere existence of the state doesn’t play well in a lot of the swing states. If only Hickenlooper weren’t too old, burdened by a weird name, and hadn’t told stories of taking his mom to see Deep Throat)

    (Would it be worse if his mom took him?)

    1
  23. de stijl says:

    I had always considered Biden as a placeholder.

    Not my first choice, not my second choice, but the person the party I vote for decided to nominate. His last name was not Trump, so I voted for him in a heartbeat.

    I hope he bows out. He’s a pretty good guy. A pretty decent President. But, no legs going forward. No one is clamoring for 4 more years.

    2
  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Kathy: @Just nutha ignint cracker: @KM:

    Somewhat related, Teddy Roosevelt declared early in his second that he wouldn’t run for a second full term, treating his partial term after McKinley was assassinated as a full term. There wasn’t yet a law limiting Presidents to 2.5 terms (if one ascends due to an assassination), just a tradition.

    Republicans were able to keep the White House after Roosevelt declined to run, but it’s not quite the same scenario we have here. And, it should be noted, his eventual run for a second full/third term was a strong run but ultimately Wilson won the plurality.

    1
  25. Michael Cain says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I like Newsom as well. But he WAS married to Kimberley Guilfoyle…

    We all know people who make an abrupt change in values. Guilfoyle’s personal history looks to me like she had a big change of heart around 2004, when she decided to be a celebrity instead of a working lawyer. Fairly quickly ended up working at Fox News, divorced Newsom, began pursuing wealthy heirs (Villency, Trump), and eventually started working the conservative grift racket.

    2
  26. Tony W says:

    @Steve Fetter:

    Having Kamala on deck and Nancy in the hole for Presidential succession scares me.

    Why?

    2
  27. Tony W says:

    @Neil Hudelson: The immediate situation is more like LBJ choosing not to run in 1968.

    And we know how that turned out.

    1
  28. @Michael Reynolds:

    Kamala has disappeared from the conversation entirely.

    That’s the job of the veep.

    It just is.

    5
  29. DK says:

    @Steve Fetter:

    You have to hit rock bottom before you make real changes.

    You sure? Trump caused mass death and record unemployment with his coronavirus lies, incited a terror attack to destroy democracy, left America as divided as it has been since the Civil War, appointed the most unpopular Supreme Court in our history, and sold out America and its allies to Putin.

    Doesn’t get more rock bottom than that, and yet Americans are flirting with more of same. I don’t see any proof of this theory of change, based on recent events. Are Americans stupid? Evil?

    3
  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DK: Yes. At least ~27% are.

    1
  31. al Ameda says:

    I’m ready for Biden to step aside. Throw it open. It certainly would create excitement on the Democratic side. I have no idea who would emerge, and I do not know that the Gen-Xer cohort would do any better, but as long as it’s not Bernie (80) or Liz Warren (73). Let’s turn the page on the old tired blood.

    Right now I think we’re hoping that recent Supreme Court decisions will gin up turnout to save the Senate. I’m not sure that hope will be realized unless there are yet more appalling decisions from this Court. I don’t want to wish for that s***.

    Opening up the 2024 process might … might … switch a lot of things up. Also, why leave all the excitement and energy to Republicans?

    1
  32. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Lots of negativity here when the solution is simple: Get back to the Politics, and locally at that.

    The Dem Establishment is [still] all in on the Academics, Institutionalism, and Federal focus that was good to them in the 20th Century. The aggregate voter prioritized that for that period of time. Biden is a relic of that era.

    The streets don’t care about that right now. They are turning out voting for the best politican regardless of ideology. Once SCOTUS guts the Administrative state’s rule-making ability…Democrats will have nothing left to rely on but growing their political muscles and extending their reach. They won’t have either the institutions nor legal caste insulating their values from assault.

    The good news is that Dems have the creative and academic talent dominate the science and art of Politics. What they lacked was Will and a strategic imperative. Those are budding and will explode after SCOTUS delivers a few more “L’s”

    Winter preceeds Spring

    2
  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The good news is that Dems have the creative and academic talent dominate the science and art of Politics. What they lacked was Will and a strategic imperative. Those are budding and will explode after SCOTUS delivers a few more “L’s”

    My view/hope, exactly. We got outplayed in the states and districts and confined ourselves to the beltway.

    1
  34. Jax says:

    Sooooo…..the poll says it’s from 191 Democrats who would pick up the phone and answer the poll, and all of a sudden “We’re DOOMED” is all over the media and National Review is chortling that we’re about to throw Biden overboard? FFS. How is that even a decent sample?!

    1
  35. Scott F. says:

    @al Ameda: Biden resigns before the end of his term and Kamala Harris secedes him. Harris names Buttigeig as her VP. With a mixed race woman as President and a married gay ex-military male as Vice President, the Trumpists’ collective heads explode. With the bulk of Republican Party out of commission, democracy is saved.

    4
  36. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We got outplayed in the states and districts and confined ourselves to the beltway.

    If by outplayed you mean we played ourselves, then yeah. We didn’t vote in 2010 and 2014 (the year we also fell for the Very Serious People’s “LOL look at Mark ‘Uterus’ Udall scaremongering about abortion, how vulgar” crap), then we let the media smear and trash Hillary in 2016.

    Yes, the electoral college is garbage and the senate is unrepresentative, but we could outvote those constraints. We choose not to.

    Americans will get what we deserve. The tough part is it’s Republican states and counties that will suffer most, but oh well.

    1
  37. James Joyner says:

    @Jax: It’s pretty typical in a media poll. The overall sample was right under 900, which is solid for a general attitudinal survey. Drawing conclusions from the smaller subsamples, is dicier but pretty standard practice. And it’s not like this poll is an anomaly—there’s been talk of replacing Biden in 2024 since 2020. Indeed, there were many urging him to declare he would be a one-termer during the race.

    1
  38. Chris says:

    The poll is a garbage time talking point, as most polling these days is a crapshoot. Bottom line, Dems need to quit blaming other Dems for the all problems we face due to a lack of votes in Congress. It’s the GOP who brought us into the Trumpian Twilight Zone! Focus on winning elections with sound ideas and defeating Trump’s crowd of bootlickers, cowards, apologists, and cultists.