There’s a wealth of new polling data on the Democratic presidential nomination contest, with polls from The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press both finding that even Democratic voters are concerned that President Joe Biden is too old to run.
The AP/NORC poll of adults (not registered voters) found that 77 percent of respondents believed Biden was too old to serve another term.
And for the hardened Team Blue partisans who shout “ageism!” at such findings…69 percent of self-identified Democrats said Biden’s age is a big issue (among Republicans, it was a whopping 89 percent – which shouldn’t come as a surprise).
But this must be a fluke, an outlier, and a one-off. Surely, the age issue can’t be that big a deal for Mr. Biden. Except The Wall Street Journal poll confirmed it is.
The Journal asked a split question – one if voters think Biden’s mental fitness is sufficient for the job, the other specifically on whether he is “too old.”
On the mental ability, 60 percent questioned Biden’s mental ability. On age, a total of 73 percent said he is “too old.”
What are the comparable numbers for former President Donald Trump?
A 49-46 split says Trump isn’t mentally up for the job. On age, another spilt, with 47 percent saying he’s too old and 45 saying he isn’t.
As always with polls, the numbers are snapshots in time and subject to change.
What these data points do, though, is reinforce narratives that have long been whispered in Democratic circles: Biden’s time has passed, and he would be wise to bow out and allow someone else to take the fight to what looks like Donald Trump in 2024.
But such whispers against an incumbent are very hard to translate into hard reality. What could bring them a tad bit closer to the fore are the other items in the Journal poll, particularly the sense that most people think the economy has hit a rough patch, and they are feeling the effects:
…58% of voters say the economy has gotten worse over the past two years, whereas only 28% say it has gotten better, and nearly three in four say inflation is headed in the wrong direction. Those views were echoed in the survey by large majorities of independents, a group that helped deliver Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential race. Voters were almost evenly split on the direction of the job market.
It’s not a wipeout for Biden, but the data are hardly comforting to an incumbent who has staked his presidency on a massive reworking of the economy, with government intervention and support leading the way. Team Blue partisans will say it’s early, these things take time, etc., etc. And they aren’t entirely wrong.
But there’s also the iron law of politics to contend with: if you’re explaining, you’re losing. And until the data show voters are feeling better about their own particular economic situation, then Mr. Biden will need more than a slogan – “Bidenomics” – and promises of widespread prosperity to save his own political future.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Great America News Desk. It first appeared in American Liberty News. Republished with permission.