By Jeremy Zogby, Managing Partner, John Zogby Strategies
Following a summer of scrutiny over Joe Biden’s age and his Presidency, a lot of polls have come out with varying numbers showing members of his party don’t want Biden on the 2024 ticket.
Some polls over the summer and fall reported as many as two-thirds of the Democratic party want someone else to run in 2024. Given the President’s approval rating over the past couple of months has held on average somewhere in the low to mid-forties (among voters in all parties), it is unlikely Democrats would report such high numbers opting for someone else – the math just doesn’t add up.
Despite more realistic numbers, according to a recent John Zogby Strategies poll of 627 Democratic party members (MOE +/- 4.0), it still doesn’t look good for the President. Aside from realistic numbers, the following analysis offers a more detailed look than any other poll released on the topic.
Here is what’s happening within the Democratic party.
Each table breaks down key sub-groups and tells a story.
|Deserves 2024 nomination||50%|
|Time for someone else||37%|
- Looking at the party overall, they are split. With 14% on the fence, it could mean as many as almost half of Democrats don’t want Biden in 2024.
|Deserves 2024 nomination||51%||55%||50%||43%|
|Time for someone else||37%||33%||38%||40%|
- What’s fascinating here is those closest to Biden’s age are less supportive. I could easily speculate on that, but I’ll leave it to the reader to draw your conclusion.
|Deserves 2024 nomination||50%||41%||56%|
|Time for someone else||37%||44%||31%|
- Nearly one-third of Blacks report it is time for someone new. Biden’s initial popularity with this key Democrat voting bloc was likely due to being VP alongside the nation’s first African-American president. It does appear troublesome that a little over half of black voters want him to secure the 2024 nomination.
|Deserves 2024 nomination||55%||43%||52%|
|Time for someone else||33%||41%||39%|
- One might think there would be a gap between the moderate and conservative wings of the Democratic party. But moderates are split and more numerous than conservatives in the party. That much of a slip among a key voting bloc is troublesome.
|Deserves 2024 nomination||50%||46%||57%|
|Time for someone else||36%||41%||33%|
- I’m tempted to say “middle-class” voters, as coming from a small city and remembering the days when a $75K annual salary meant something. But these days with persistent inflation (and effectively negative interest rates when factoring in an 8% rate of inflation on top of a 4% return on 10-year treasury bonds), the $50K to $100K salary range is slipping fast, and so is their support for Biden.
|Deserves 2024 nomination||56%||46%||47%|
|Time for someone else||33%||38%||41%|
- Plain and simple, the further you move out from the city, the lower the support is for Biden. To me, that translates to gas prices (commuting) and a growing sense from the rural dwellers that an aggressive move to decarbonize is hurting their way of life as many rural dwellers are blue-collar and their work depends on fossil fuels.
|Deserves 2024 nomination||55%||46%|
|Time for someone else||35%||38%|
- Each variable tells something different. Fewer women believe Biden deserves the nomination. Very slightly more women say it is time for someone else (though within the margin of error). But note, more women are unsure. Women were a key voting bloc in 2020, as many (especially suburban women) turned away from Trump. In the battleground states, every vote counts among this key group.
In the final analysis, if Democrats lose key Senate races, and/or the House come November, Biden is likely to see a further backlash against him from within his party (barring a geopolitically cataclysmic event). We recall that the last time Democrats faced this scenario was in 1968. In that case, a unifying figure (drawing excitement from youth, the Black vote, disillusioned veterans, Midwestern farmers, and beyond), combined fiery populism with inclusion. A similar inclusive populist approach would need to emerge to save the party in order to fight fire with fire successfully in 2024.
Does anyone within the current crop of Democratic party leaders have that ability? Even more important than my humble opinion, the numbers reveal the Democratic party has some soul-searching to do.