Five Thirty Eight adds to the constant media question about a President Joe Biden second term….
President Biden says he’ll run for reelection in 2024. But some Americans don’t believe him — and moreover, many don’t want him to throw his hat into the ring for a second term.
Even before Biden was elected in 2020, there’s been speculation about whether he’ll seek a second term. And a Wall Street Journal poll conducted from March 2-7 found that more than half (52 percent) of registered voters don’t think he’ll run again in 2024, while only 29 percent think he will run again. (Nineteen percent were unsure.) A second Biden run isn’t that popular, either. According to an AP/NORC pollconducted from Jan. 13-18, 70 percent of Americans don’t want the president to run in 2024. Even Democrats are lukewarm about the idea. A CNN/SSRS poll conducted from Jan. 10-Feb. 6 found that slightly more than half (51 percent) of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents wanted a candidate other than Biden.
Part of this might simply reflect that Americans are unenthusiastic about a redux of the 2020 election. In that AP/NORC poll, a similar share (72 percent) said they didn’t want former President Donald Trump to run for reelection either. It’s actually surprisingly common for voters to say they don’t want first-term presidents to seek a second term — to only then turn around and support them when they do run for reelection. However, the share of Americans who don’t want Biden to seek a second term is unusually high compared to previous first-term presidents. It’s also uncommon for voters to think that a sitting president won’t run for reelection.
There’s no question that concerns about Biden’s age could be playing a role. He’s already the oldest president in U.S. history and will be 81 by the time 2024 rolls around. But some voters might also think it’s time for Biden, who pitched himself as a “bridge” to a new generation of political leaders, to step aside in favor of a candidate who’s not an old, white man…
In a sense, Biden’s case isn’t that unusual — or even that alarming for his supporters. It’s true that the share of Americans who don’t want him to run for reelection is much higher than it was for Reagan, Clinton or Obama. But unhappiness with a president running again doesn’t tell us much about their ultimate electoral chances if they do try for a second term. Despite voters’ misgivings two years earlier, Reagan won by a wide margin in 1984, as did Clinton in 1996.
That said, there are a few reasons to think that Americans might view the prospect of a second Biden run differently than those of previous presidents. In that CNN/SSRS poll from earlier this year, 31 percent of Democrats who wanted the party to nominate someone else said they simply didn’t want Biden to be reelected, 35 percent thought he couldn’t win against the Republicans, and 19 percent said they thought he was too old. That level of skepticism from voters of a president’s own party is pretty abnormal — consider that a Suffolk poll of Republican primary voters conducted in April 2018 found that most (70 percent) wanted Trump to run again. In other words, the fact that so many Democrats have concerns about Biden is perhaps worrying for him….