Thursday, October 19, 2023


President Biden has had some decent polling this week, including a PBS/NPR/Marist survey that gives him a 7-point lead over Donald Trump in a three-way race with Robert Kennedy Jr. But the numbers in a new Bloomberg/Morning Consult swing-state poll aren't good for the president:

Bloomberg says the economy is hurting Biden:
Underlying Biden’s swing-state woes is a trust deficit on economic issues. Voters in those states favor Trump over Biden on the economy by a 14-point margin. Inflation was the most important economic issue for voters, especially women, blue-collar workers and retirees.

Biden’s attempt to brand his economic platform as “Bidenomics” isn’t working. Almost twice as many voters say Bidenomics is bad for the economy compared to those who say it’s good. Independents are even more likely to view it negatively.
What's also undermining Biden is the way he's aging.
Swing-state voters are thinking about Biden’s age much more than Trump’s. About 30% of Biden voters in the seven key states said the vice presidential candidate is much more important than it has been in prior elections, compared to 24% of those who plan to vote for Trump....

Biden’s age also came up in hundreds of responses to open-ended questions in the survey. Only two respondents mentioned Trump’s age....
We're told that "many" survey respondents "referenced [Trump's] multiple indictments and legal entanglements," but it appears that more respondents mentioned Biden's age.

And why not? I think Biden is still sharp enough to do the job, but he doesn't seem to be, and that, in addition to the economy, appears to be what people are planning to vote on.

The sitting president of the United States should be, as the kids say, "the main character" in American politics. But there seems to be an impression among Democrats that the upcoming election will be a referendum on Trump. Maybe, after a few trials and possibly some convictions, it will be. But for most Americans, Trump isn't the main character now. Biden is. Trump is the main character primarily in the eyes of pundits and politics obsessives.

Biden himself sometimes appears to treat Trump as the main character in politics. Biden is working hard as president, but as a candidate he sells himself as the guy who beat Trump once, and who therefore is uniquely qualified to beat Trump again. We're told that Biden is running again precisely because he doesn't think anyone else can beat Trump.

But if the public is talking about inflation and Biden's age, that means he's largely being judged without reference to Trump. I know that Biden is also trying to sell the public on his record. But he's campaigning as a Trump-slayer, and we don't have evidence yet that a majority of voters care.

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