It was a rough week for Vice President Joe Biden. The chattering elite is talking about him not running for reelection because he is the subject of an impeachment inquiry, his son was indicted in Delaware, inflation appears to be tipping back up, the United Auto Workers went on strike despite Biden’s assurances that they wouldn’t, and the economy is in a downturn.
I’ve written on the president’s challenges going into next year, and some of these elements explain why my colleague Zach Wolf stated that “Biden’s two worst weaknesses were exposed” this past week.
While it’s undeniable that Vice President Biden isn’t in the best of shape, no president is, his troubles may be exaggerated at the moment. Three explanations follow:
If nothing out of the ordinary occurs, Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president.
This past week saw widespread coverage of an opinion piece by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius urging Biden to forego a run for reelection.
Whether or not Biden ought to run is beside the point; he is running. Many will cite surveys (including those conducted by AWN) demonstrating that Democrats as a whole do not support renominating him.
However, there is a limit to what can be learned from surveys of this nature. Biden is competing against himself in this hypothetical scenario. Just over 10% of respondents to an AWN poll said they favoured someone other than Biden, but only a fraction of those people could name a specific individual.
With Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson as his only announced Democratic opponents, Biden is dominating the field. Recent polls show that he has an approval rating of over 70%.
In addition, among Democratic voters, Biden consistently receives high marks (about 80%). That’s a lot higher than the threshold at which incumbents previously faced formidable primary challenges. These challenges (like Ted Kennedy’s against incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980) occurred when the president’s popularity was only in the mid-50s or low-60s within his own party.
The fact that many Democrats do not want Biden to be renominated raises the question of whether this is a symptom of a deeper problem he may confront in the general election.
Fox News and Quinnipiac University revealed general election polls this week, and Biden is leading with support from more than 90% of Democrats. His support among Republican voters has been marginally higher than that of former President Donald Trump in both polls.
The truth is that Biden has issues, but his chances of renomination are not among them.
Impeachment hearings aren’t hurting Biden… yet
Politically, the president has suffered a great deal due to the ties between Vice President Biden and his son Hunter. When it comes to his son’s business affairs, the majority of voters believe Biden acted inappropriately.
As a result, it stands to reason that the impeachment investigation launched by House Republicans investigating the president’s ties to his son’s international business ventures would be detrimental to his electoral prospects.
The average percentage of voters who believe Joe Biden committed a crime is around 40%. Voters typically do not.
Some Republicans, no doubt, are hoping that Trump’s four indictments will look less severe in light of Biden’s problems. However, the vast majority of voters consider Trump’s actions criminal.
The public has a divided opinion on the Biden and Trump scandals.
According to a Wall Street Journal poll conducted at the end of August, 52% of respondents said they were against impeaching Vice President Joe Biden.
The public is the judge, and Republicans will have to win over the crowd.
It’s possible the Republicans will make the same mistake they’ve made in the past and aim too high. One of the finest midterm performances by a president’s party occurred just before the 1998 impeachment probe into Bill Clinton. Three times in the last century, the party of the president has gained seats in the House of Representatives during midterm elections.
Independents are a good example of how the GOP’s impeachment could affect their chances in this election season. Our most recent AWN poll found that 64% of non-affiliated voters think Biden is doing a poor job as president, but only 39% believe he has broken the law.
Biden would fare better in an election focused on impeachment, which might divide voters, than one focused on an issue that actually affects him, such people’ perception that he is too old.
Despite voters’ displeasure, the economy may not be a deciding factor in this election.
Don’t tell me you haven’t heard this one before: Joe Biden is president going into an election, Americans are frustrated with the economy, and his party does surprisingly well.
That’s the outcome of the midterm elections in 2022.
Although current inflation levels are below those of the past, they are rising. Current and historical voters alike have a strong distaste for how Biden has handled the economy. Like they did in 2022, they emphasise the importance of the economy above all else.
However, according to Gallup, the economy is consistently ranked as the most important problem facing the United States.
Some 31% of voters say the economy is the most important issue, which is lower than the median (40%!) or average (45%!) of all presidential elections since 1988.
Consider recent presidential elections (1992, 2008, and 2012) in which the status of the economy was a major issue.
But as I’ve already indicated, there are a lot of other things happening in the country right now, as there were also during the 2022 midterms.
The economy isn’t exactly aiding Biden’s case. My hunch is that it’s not doing him any harm.
The Democrats’ performance in this year’s special elections has been consistently better than the 2020 presidential baseline, after all.
If things were as bad as Biden and the Democrats make it seem, Democrats would be losing seats all over the country. There is currently no possibility of that happening.