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Will He, or Won’t He? Democrats Divided on Biden’s 2024 Reelection Bid

Written by on April 24, 2023

According to a recent poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only about 50% of Democrats believe that President Joe Biden should run again in 2024. However, a large majority of Democrats state that they would support him if he became the nominee. This ambivalence comes as Biden is preparing to formally announce his 2024 reelection campaign next week, although no final decision has been made. The poll found that 26% of Americans overall want to see Biden run again, showing a slight recovery from the 22% who said the same thing in January. This article examines the reasons for this ambivalence and looks at the opinions of those who participated in the survey.

The ambivalence among Democratic voters reflects concerns about Biden’s age and a clamoring from younger Democrats who want leadership that reflects their demographic and values. Biden is currently 80 years old and would be 82 on Election Day in 2024 and 86 years old at the end of his second presidential term. Some voters believe that a younger candidate like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg or California Governor Gavin Newsom should take over from Biden.

Donna Stewart, 48, a program director for a non-profit in New York, expressed concern about Biden’s age, saying that he’s still lacking the up-to-date knowledge of what needs to be done. During his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden hinted that he would limit himself to just one term in the White House, framing his candidacy as a bridge to a new generation of Democratic leaders. But while in office, he has made his intentions clearer that he would run again for a second term.

With only nominal primary challengers and a chaotic Republican field, Biden has felt little pressure to formalize a reelection campaign. Instead, he has focused on governing, holding events at the White House, and traveling across the country to sell his top legislative achievements such as a bipartisan infrastructure law and a sweeping climate, health care, and tax package.

The poll shows that 78% of Democrats approve of the job Biden is doing as president, and 81% of Democrats say they would support him if he became the nominee. However, only 47% of Democrats say they want him to run again. Some Democrats believe that his age is an asset, citing his decades in Washington, first in the Senate and then as Vice President.

In conclusion, although many Democrats remain tepid on Biden because of his age, they would still support him if he became the nominee. Biden has long bet that once voters are presented with a binary choice — either him or a Republican candidate, particularly if it is Trump — a majority of the electorate will side with Democrats. The only reason some Democrats do not want him to run is because of his age.


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