OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A longtime Democratic strategist and operative who helped Barack Obama win two terms is all but begging President Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 race.
David Axelrod made his plea following the release of a New York Times/Siena College poll of registered voters that spelled excessively bad news for Biden. The poll found Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in five of six critical swing states a year out from the election and having only a 2-point lead over Trump in a sixth battleground state.
“Only Joe Biden can make this decision. If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party,” Axelrod noted on the X platform. “What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?”
“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. He’s defied CW before but this will send tremors of doubt thru the party–not ‘bed-wetting,’ but legitimate concern,” Axelrod added, citing “conventional wisdom” in another post with a graphic of the polling data.
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.
He’s defied CW before but this will send tremors of doubt thru the party–not “bed-wetting,” but legitimate concern. https://t.co/g6zeWF0T87
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 5, 2023
Biden is trailing Trump by margins ranging from four to ten percentage points in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Biden leads only in Wisconsin by two percentage points. Across the six battlegrounds—all of which Biden carried in 2020—the president trails by an average of 48 to 44 percent.
Axelrod pointed out the elephant in the room when it comes to voters’ biggest concern about Biden.
“The greatest concern is that his biggest liability is the one thing he can’t change. Among all the unpredictables there is one thing that is sure: the age arrow only points in one direction,” he wrote in another X post.
In the Times/Siena poll, discontent is pervasive; most respondents claim that Biden’s policies have negatively impacted them personally, the New York Times reported.
The survey results reveal a wide range of Biden’s shortcomings, and worries about the president’s aging and mental capacity are just the beginning. Sixty-two percent of respondents felt that Mr. Biden lacked the “mental sharpness” necessary to be an effective leader.
The poll also shows how much the coalition of different races and generations that supported Biden in his election is eroding. Now, there is much more competition among the demographic groups that supported Biden by wide margins in 2020 because two-thirds of voters believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Biden’s lead among Hispanic voters is in the single digits; his advantage in urban areas is half of Trump’s edge in rural areas; and he is only slightly preferred by voters under thirty.
Men favored Trump by twice as much as women did, reversing the gender advantage that had driven so many Democratic victories in recent years, even though women still supported Biden.
Long a pillar of support for Democrats and Biden, black voters are now giving Trump 22 percent of the vote in these states, a percentage never before seen in presidential politics for a Republican in modern times.
Trump has a six-point lead in Nevada, five in Georgia, five in Arizona, five in Michigan, and four in Pennsylvania when you add it all up.
In Wisconsin, Biden had a two-point advantage.
Biden trailed more in swing states with greater diversity, and he only led in the whitest of the six states, in an astonishing indication of a slow racial realignment between the two parties.
The poll indicates that both Biden and Trump enjoy extreme unpopularity. However, a majority of voters who feel the country is headed in the wrong direction are venting their resentment at the president.
Spencer Weiss, a 53-year-old Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, electrical substation specialist who backed Biden in 2020 but is now backing Trump, albeit with some reservations, said, “The world is falling apart under Biden. I would much rather see someone who I believe can lead the nation as a positive role model. However, I believe that Trump is at least intelligent.”