The Political Report – November 7, 2023

“President Biden is trailing Donald Trump in five of the six most important battleground states one year before the 2024 election, suffering from enormous doubts about his age and deep dissatisfaction over his handling of the economy and a host of other issues,” according to new polls from New York Times/Siena College.

“The results show Mr. Biden losing to Mr. Trump, his likeliest Republican rival, by margins of three to 10 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden is ahead only in Wisconsin, by two percentage points, the poll found.”

“Across the six battlegrounds — all of which Mr. Biden carried in 2020 — the president trails by an average of 48 to 44 percent.”

This morning’s New York Times/Siena College poll is full of warning signs for President Biden and Democrats. But it’s important to put the poll in perspective:

  • This poll tells us nothing about next year. It only tells us what might happen if the election were held today.
  • The CBS News poll out today, which was done entirely online and not by phone, did not see the same Biden collapse among young voters.
  • While Republicans are actively running presidential campaigns and holding rallies, Biden’s campaign won’t really begin until early next year.
  • Biden’s record is actually quite popular, once voters hear about it.
  • This election will likely be decided by the “double-haters” — those voters who disapprove of both Biden and Trump — and most Political Wire readers probably don’t know many of them.
  • Polls of the presidential race before the primaries begin are not very predictive, but this may not hold in a race likely to feature two presidents who are universally known.
  • Polls predicted a “red wave” in the 2022 midterms that never actually materialized.

President Biden is fond of saying every election is a choice. And he often quotes his father’s favorite saying: “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.” With polls showing voters ambivalent about Biden, his best hope for re-election may be that the likely alternative is Donald Trump.

It’s hard to imagine Trump has expanded his share of the vote over the last three years. Here’s a brief summary:

  • He instigated a violent insurrection after he denied losing his re-election bid.
  • He was indicted four times and faces 91 felony charges, ranging from election interference to stealing classified documents.
  • He was found by a judge to have raped a woman years ago and found guilty of defaming her.
  • He and his company were found guilty of fraud by manipulating the value of his assets.

So the alternative to Biden looks pretty bad. If Trump lost the 2020 election by seven million votes, it’s nearly impossible to see how any of this helps him to win back those votes. But there’s also a lot more Biden could do to make himself look more appealing. For instance, Biden has passed a bipartisan infrastructure law, allowed Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs and led numerous efforts to create more manufacturing jobs.

A new Navigator Research poll finds these initiatives enormously popular. In fact, every one of his accomplishments tested in this poll had majority support. That’s an incredible accomplishment in a bitterly divided country. The bad news — and it’s really bad news for Biden — is that a majority of Americans have heard little or nothing about the accomplishments tested. 

Biden’s re-election campaign has to do more about showing voters what he’s actually done. A hopeful sign for Democrats is that Biden’s approval jumps significantly in this poll when voters are told about his record.

CBS News Poll: “With views of things in America continuing to be bad and now hitting their most negative marks of the year, one might expect an incumbent president to trail in a pre-election poll — as Joe Biden does in this one. But that’s only half the story. The other half is that Donald Trump holds distinct advantages in his own right when voters look forward: More voters think they’d be better off financially if Trump wins in 2024, and more voters think it’s Trump who can keep the U.S. out of a war, if he wins.”

“Mr. Biden’s Democratic base looks a little more shaky than Trump’s going into next year, too, which isn’t helping him.”

The latest New York Times/Siena poll is already causing panic among Democrats. It’s true that polls a year out aren’t very predictive. But there are clear warning signs here for Democrats. A big one is that Joe Biden barely tops Donald Trump among 18-to-29-year-old voters, 47% to 46%. That doesn’t mean young voters suddenly like Trump. They don’t even lean towards Republicans.

If you dig into the poll’s cross-tabs, you find that when Trump is matched against an “unnamed generic Democrat,” young voters break hard for the Democrat, 55% to 34%. That’s extraordinary.

NBC News: “A new survey conducted by one of Joe Biden’s former pollsters shows the president’s support has cratered among Muslim and Arab Democrats in Michigan, a key demographic group that overwhelmingly backed Biden in the swing state in 2020.”

“The poll lends further credence to the warnings Arab and Muslim community leaders in Michigan and beyond have been issuing for weeks: that Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza could cost him a state that he won by just 150,000 votes in 2020 and is home to an estimated 240,000 Muslims.”

Axios: “It emerged quietly in the 2020 election, when Biden won — but lost ground among Hispanics and Black voters. Now this is an alarming, re-election-threatening, full-blown crisis for the White House.”

“It’s clear from consistent trends across multiple polls that Biden is bleeding support among Hispanic voters and Black voters — especially younger ones, and especially in swing states.”

The Daily: Has President Biden lost young and minority voters?

“Tuesday’s elections will serve as a powerful litmus test of the staying power of abortion as a winning issue for Democrats — and whether Republicans have any room to go on offense,” Axios reports.

“Abortion groups have spent millions of dollars in state races as both parties watch closely for winning strategies to address one of the top issues concerning American voters ahead of 2024.”

Wall Street Journal: The abortions rights movement is on a winning streak.

“Part of President Biden’s political team is in turmoil over the Israel-Hamas war, as some aides see the White House as abetting an immoral attack on Palestinians — while others believe Biden is showing ‘moral clarity’ in protecting Israel from terrorists,” Axios reports.

“The strife within the Democratic National Committee — which Biden is leaning on for his re-election campaign — reflects larger generational and political divisions among Democrats.”

“Another Republican event. Another round of boos for Chris Christie,” The Messenger reports.

“The boos rained down on the former New Jersey governor Saturday almost as soon as he took the stage at the Republican Party of Florida’s presidential candidate summit – a vestige of Christie’s brash style and his criticisms of primary frontrunner Donald Trump.”

“Chris Christie is encouraging non-Republican voters in New Hampshire to join the party to prevent former President Donald Trump from winning the state’s primary delegates,” The Messenger reports.

Said Christie: “Vote in the Republican primary, baby. We’re the only game in town, and we’re the only way to stop Donald Trump.”

Politico: “Gov. Laura Kelly’s playbook is in some ways the antithesis of the national political moment: Avoid culture war fights, focus on local economic issues, and spend a lot of time talking to the wheat and soybean farmers you know mostly won’t vote for you.”

“In a break from many other Democrats last year, Kelly did not emphasize abortion rights during her campaign.”

NBC News: “Over the past two years, inflation has hit rural households harder than the rest of the country. According to researchers at Iowa State University, rural households had to pay an extra $8,120 due to inflation in 2021 and 2022, more than the $7,480 paid by urban households in the same two years.”

“Meanwhile, researchers at Cornell University estimate that 94% of the nation’s job growth since 2000 happened in urban counties.”

“At least four House Democrats affiliated with the left-wing ‘Squad’ faction are facing serious primary threats next year, fueled by their vocal criticism of Israel’s war against Hamas in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack,” Axios reports.

“A political action committee funded largely by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman may be on the brink of launching a primary campaign to oust Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Cori Bush (D-MO),” CNBC reports.

Patrick Ruffini: “A historic realignment of working-class voters helped Trump defy the odds and win in 2016, and brought him to within a hair of reelection in 2020. The polls show a tied race or even a narrow Trump advantage with one year to go until the 2024 election, an advantage that extends to Trump’s fellow Republican contenders.”

“And digging deeper into the data, we can see why: Joe Biden is faltering among the core Democratic groups that were once the mainstay of ‘the party of the people’ —working-class voters of color. Numerous polls have shown Trump reaching nearly 20 percent of the Black vote and drawing to within 10 points of Biden among Hispanic voters. Even if these shifts were to only partly materialize in November 2024, they would signal a lasting realignment poised to upend the party system we’ve known since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.”

“A year before the 2024 election, a divided nation is stuck in a political loop: President Trump’s weaknesses helped deliver President Biden to the White House, and now the incumbent’s vulnerabilities could lead his predecessor to a comeback,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Biden, the nation’s oldest president at age 80, is poised to reclaim the party’s nomination, yet he has been dogged with questions about his age, frustration over his handling of the economy and anxiety about two wars. Trump, 77, has a comfortable lead as he seeks the Republican nomination for a third time, even as many moderate and independent voters are repelled by his repeated efforts to overturn the 2020 elections results and the many criminal indictments he faces.”

“The two are likely headed for a general election rematch that will unfold against a backdrop of discontent, pitting two unpopular candidates against each other on inflation, abortion and America’s role in an unstable world.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told Hugh Hewitt that he has to do well in Iowa or he’ll drop out of the Republican presidential race. Said Scott: “We have made the decision that it’s Iowa or bust for us, and I’m looking forward to being there.”

Donald Trump welcomed the news that Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), a prominent conservative who criticized his party for questioning Joe Biden’s victory in 2020, will not run for re-election, crowing: “Good news for the country!,” The Guardian reports.

Trump said Buck “knew long ago he could never win against MAGA, so now he is… auditioning for a job at Fake News CNN, MSDNC, or some other country-destroying leftwing outlet.”

“Do I think somebody under those circumstances could get elected president? The answer is no… it would be fatal in a general election. I don’t think the party should nominate in that situation.”— Gov. Ron DeSantis, arguing that Republicans should not nominate Donald Trump if he’s convicted of a crime.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked again by Newsmax whether he wears lifts in his boots. Said DeSantis: “I know Donald Trump and a lot of his people have been focusing on things like footwear. I’ll tell you this. If Donald Trump can summon the balls to show up to the debate. I’ll wear a boot on my head.”

“Nikki Haley doesn’t have transcripts, notes or recordings of the paid remarks she made to private audiences before she became a presidential candidate,” NBC News reports.

“Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, earned $100,000 to $1 million for each of a dozen speaking engagements in 2022 and 2023, according to a financial disclosure statement she filed in March.”

Nikki Haley will not be in attendance at this weekend’s Republican Party of Florida’s “Freedom Summit” — an absence that will cost her campaign $75,000, NBC News reports.

Nikki Haley pledged to “send back” migrants now living in the United States, the New York Times reports.

Said Haley: “OK, of the six to seven million that have come over since Biden did this — this is going to sound harsh — but you send them back. And the reason you send them back, the reason you send them back is because, my parents, they came here legally. They put in the time, they put in the price.”

She added: “And when you allow those six or seven million to come, to all those people who’ve done it the right way, you’re letting them jump the line.”

 “California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently cut checks for a candidate in this month’s mayoral election in Charleston, S.C.,” Axios reports.

“The moves by Newsom and Pritzker are part of a larger pattern of ambitious Democrats upping their national profiles ahead of 2028 — or even 2024, in the unlikely case President Biden decides not to run for re-election in the face of poor poll numbers.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told a conference that if he is elected president, he would have the National Institutes of Health move away from covering infectious disease outbreaks like Covid and measles, NBC News reports.

Said Kennedy: “I’m gonna say to NIH scientists, God bless you all. Thank you for public service. We’re going to give infectious disease a break for about eight years.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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