A blockbuster poll showing Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden in 5 out of 6 swing states has Democratic Party prognosticators nervous.
“Trump Leads in 5 Critical States as Voters Blast Biden, Times/Siena Poll Finds,” Shane Goldmacher kicked off the bad news cycle of hand-wringing and finger-pointing for the New York Times on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Democrats nervous about the return of Donald Trump, things only got worse after the headline. The further down the page they read, the worse things started to appear for Joe Biden’s prospects in 2024.
“Voters in battleground states said they trusted Donald J. Trump over President Biden on the economy, foreign policy and immigration, as Mr. Biden’s multiracial base shows signs of fraying,” Goldmacher broke the news none-to-gently.
“The results show Mr. Biden losing to Mr. Trump, his likeliest Republican rival, by margins of four to 10 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania,” Goldmacher continued, ruthlessly. “Mr. Biden is ahead only in Wisconsin, by two percentage points, the poll found.”
Since the poll was published, a veritable Greek Chorus has erupted from media outlets and political analysts, some of whom seemed anxious to pile on.
“6 warning signs for Biden in new battleground state poll: The toplines are bad for Biden,” harped Steven Shepard for POLITICO on November 5, 2023. “What’s buried deeper in the poll might be worse.”
“When a pollster releases new data in six key battleground states, and the incumbent is losing in four of them, it’s hard to narrow down the list of warning signs to just a handful,” began Shepard pessimistically.
“A Five-Alarm Biden Re-Election Fire,” observed the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board pithily. “The President trails Trump in five of six battleground states in a new survey.”
“Public opinion polls are a snapshot in time, and results can change quickly in politics as events intrude,” couched the WSJ. “But the polls have been sending Democrats and President Biden the same election warning for months, so perhaps they’ll eventually start listening.”
“It’s very late to change horses; a lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict & Biden’s team says his resolve to run is firm,” mused Democratic analyst David Axelrod. “He’s defied CW before but this will send tremors of doubt thru the party — not “bed-wetting,” but legitimate concern.”
It’s time,” tweeted Bulwark editor Bill Kristol in response to the poll. “President Biden has served our country well. I’m confident he’ll do so for the next year. But it’s time for an act of personal sacrifice and public spirit. It’s time to pass the torch to the next generation. It’s time for Biden to announce he won’t run in 2024.”
“This is a wake-up call,” political analyst Jon Karl told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “This is frightening for not just the Biden White House, not just for Democrats, but for anybody who fears what a return to a Trump presidency would mean. He can win.”
Some outlets tried to explain the impetus behind changing attitudes about Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
“If Trump wins, more voters foresee better finances, staying out of war — CBS News poll,” observed Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, and Fred Backus. “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.”
While plenty of media personalities have been panicking over Biden’s performance in the latest polls, some have been attempting to downplay the warning signs.
“Why Democrats shouldn’t despair over concerning new polls about Biden,” Dean Obeidallah attempted to assuage CNN readers today.
“There’s no other way to put this: New poll results from The New York Times and Siena College that show President Joe Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in most of six battleground states tested are bad,” admitted Obeidallah. “In fact, these polls about a hypothetical matchup between the two are alarming and a bit distressing. But they should not cause panic.”
“For those moaning about the latest NYTimes/Siena Poll: — Election is a full year away. — Biden’s likely opponent faces 91 counts in multiple jurisdictions. — Economy is clearly improving, but it takes many months for voters to perceive and believe it,” argued UVA director Larry Sabato, advising his fellow Democrats to “Keep calm. Carry on.”
“Trump Indictments Haven’t Sunk His Campaign, but a Conviction Might,” chimed Jonathan Swan, Ruth Igielnik, and Maggie Haberman for the New York Times the following day.
“His 91 felony charges in four different jurisdictions have not significantly hurt him among voters in battleground states,” they reflected sadly. “Yet he remains weaker than at least one of his Republican rivals, and if he’s convicted and sentenced in any of his cases, some voters appear ready to turn on him — to the point where he could lose the 2024 election.”
While Democrats grapple with the idea that their incumbent could be as unpopular as Donald Trump, the election is only a year away. Unless something changes within the next 12 months in President Joe Biden’s favor, and drastically, 2024 might usher in a second term for Trump.
“Where Did the Democrats Go Wrong?” wondered Kenneth S. Baer for Washington Monthly, perhaps not coincidentally, on November 6. “An important new book counsels a return to the New Deal philosophy of fighting for the common man, upholding equal opportunity, instead of identity politics, and not sucking up to Wall Street and Silicon Valley.”
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)