Decline in enthusiasm and turnout prospects for key democratic coalition groups could flip the 2024 rematch.
President Biden faces a challenging start to the New Year as polls indicate declining support from key voter groups critical to his re-election, according to a recent column by political strategist, Karl Rove. Not only is Biden underperforming in key Democratic voter blocs. Recent polling suggests that former President Trump may be overperforming among groups of voters critical to Biden’s chances for re-election.
Biden underperforming among minorities, young voters
Rove begins his column by citing a Suffolk University/USA Today poll released on Dec. 29. It revealed a significant drop in black voter support for Biden, with only 63% backing Biden compared to the 87% he received in 2020. Among Hispanic voters, Biden trailed Donald Trump 34% to 39%, a shift from the 65% to 32% advantage he had in 2020. Furthermore, voters under 35 now prefer Trump 37% to Biden's 33%. This decline is consistent across various polls, including a Nov. 14 NBC poll showing Trump leading Biden among voters aged 18 to 34 for the first time in the cycle.
Polls suggest former President Donald Trump overperforming in historically reliable Democrat voter blocs
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An October New York Times/Siena College battleground-state poll also highlighted weakness in Biden's support among black voters, with 71% supporting him compared to 22% for Trump, nearly double the former president's 2020 support. The concern extends beyond the Democratic vs. Republican matchup, as 20% of black voters expressed a willingness to choose a third-party option or not vote, a tendency 10% higher among blacks than whites, according to a Nov. 30 GenForward survey cited by Rove in his column. He points out that a Dec. 12 CNBC All-American Survey found Trump leading Biden among Hispanics by 5 points, a reversal from the 33-point deficit in 2020.
Underperformance among key blocs could cost Biden the White House
Rove goes on to emphasize the potential catastrophic effect on Biden's re-election if these margins do not change significantly. Using examples from key battleground states like Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin, he illustrates how small changes in voter turnout among specific demographics could lead to unfavorable outcomes for Biden. For instance, a slight decline in black Democratic voters in Georgia could have flipped the state's 16 electoral votes to Trump.
“Small changes in voter turnout among key demographics could be enough to move Mr. Biden out of the White House and Mr. Trump back in,” says Rove.
Polling suggests President Joe Biden faces strong headwinds heading into 2024
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Democrats may pivot from attacking personality to promoting policy
To address these challenges, Rove says, Democrats are exploring strategies to turn things around.
“Pointing to lower gasoline prices, “softening” rents, a record stock market and monthly job gains, some Democrats argue that polls underestimate Mr. Biden and that Mr. Trump’s baggage will grow as he comes back into the spotlight and the courtroom. The latter is almost surely true,” says Rove. “But as sour as America is today on Mr. Biden, it isn’t a winning strategy for him to hope voters come to feel more positively about the country’s direction and their personal circumstances.”
According to Rove, White House aides are reportedly considering using the State of the Union address to strengthen Biden's agenda. Proposed measures include protecting the Affordable Care Act, addressing student debt, reducing housing costs, implementing a 25% minimum tax for billionaires, and quadrupling the stock buyback tax. While Trump's promise to repeal Obamacare may provide Democrats with an opening, the article casts doubts on the potential success of initiatives like student-debt relief in attracting young voters. Rove also questions the feasibility of reducing rents before November and the likelihood of tax increases gaining traction in a divided government.
Despite these challenges, Rove acknowledges that Biden could still win re-election, especially if Trump is his opponent. However, it is safe to say that the race for the White House is far closer today than many experts may have expected.