Four Reasons Why the New Polls Are Bad for Biden

This weekend, President Joe Biden received a slew of negative poll results. Three major surveys were released on Sunday, all of which showed Trump leading amid widespread and intense dissatisfaction with the incumbent.

This came just a day after Democrats levied criticism against a New York Times/Siena College poll that indicated the president trailing his likely Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, by 4 points in a general election matchup.

And when it comes to Trump, many people appear to have forgotten their reservations about him throughout his tenure in office — or during his turbulent leave.

Polls are not predictions, as the White House and Biden surrogates are keen to tell the media and worried Democrats with each new wave of unsettling headlines. They also predict that when it comes down to it, voters will choose Biden over Trump.

“Polling continues to be at odds with how Americans vote, and consistently overestimates Donald Trump while underestimating President Biden,” Biden’s campaign communications director Michael Tyler said in a statement. “Whether it’s in special elections or in the presidential primaries, actual voter behavior tells us a lot more than any poll does and it tells a very clear story: Joe Biden and Democrats continue to outperform while Donald Trump and the party he leads are weak, cash-strapped, and deeply divided.”

However, opinion polls show that voters repeatedly convey the same messages. Here are some of the red flags that keep up in Biden’s national polling.

Age and Physical/Mental Capacity

Voters remain concerned about Biden’s age and perceived acuity. In the New York Times/Siena poll, 45% said Biden’s age “is such a problem that he is not capable of handling the job of president,” while 26% said it “makes him ineffective, but he is still able to handle the job of president well enough.” Only 25% said they somewhat or strongly disagreed with the idea.

Despite Trump’s own gaffes and misstatements (in North Carolina on Saturday, he referred to the president as “Obama”) and the fact that, at 77, he’s not even four years younger than Biden, more than half (55 percent) of those polled said they somewhat or strongly disagreed that his age rendered him ineffective or incapable of carrying out presidential duties.

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According to a CBS News/YouGov poll released on Sunday, 45 percent said only Trump was physically fit to be president, while 17 percent said only Biden was. Nearly three in ten, or 29 percent, said neither. And 43 percent believed only Trump would be mentally fit for another term, compared to 26 percent for Biden.

The Economy

Despite months of positive economic news and a long-shot “soft landing” from post-pandemic inflation, Americans can’t get rid of the notion that the economy is in bad shape. Almost three-quarters, 74%, of those polled by the Times said the economy is currently in bad or barely fair form, while 26% said it is good or exceptional.

Four Reasons Why the New Polls Are Bad for Biden

According to a CBS News poll, 49 percent of respondents believe the present economy is very excellent or pretty good, while 57 percent believe it is extremely or fairly terrible. Despite a pandemic-induced slump in Trump’s final year in office, 65 percent recall the economy as very or very healthy, with only 28 percent recalling it as extremely or pretty terrible.

There are some green shoots in the polling data in terms of the economy: A recent Wall Street Journal poll indicated an increase in the percentage of voters who felt the economy had improved over the last two years and that their personal finances were on track. However, the poll found that Biden received little advantage from the more hopeful attitude.

Immigration

Immigration was the top issue for voters in the Wall Street Journal poll, with 20% selecting it as the topic that most comes to mind for their 2024 presidential vote, higher than the economy (14%) or abortion (8%). Though Biden has raised his rhetoric on the subject, blaming House Republicans for recently blocking a bipartisan border deal, people continue to feel that Trump will do more to curb the flow.

A plurality, 45 percent, of those polled by CBS News consider the situation a crisis, and half believe a second Biden term will result in a rise in the number of people crossing the border. Twenty-two percent projected that another Biden presidency would result in a decline in crossings.

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Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) believe a second Trump victory will result in fewer migrants attempting to cross the southern border, with only nine percent believing a Trump victory would result in more crossings.

In addition, the New York Times/Siena poll found that increasing border controls had significant approval. Half of respondents said they strongly or somewhat support making it more difficult for migrants at the southern border to claim asylum in the United States. In contrast, 43 percent said they somewhat or strongly opposed the concept.

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Head-to-Head

Trump narrowly defeated Biden in all four key surveys released this weekend. Notably, in two polls — the New York Times/Siena and Fox News surveys – former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley outperforms Trump in a head-to-head fight with Biden. However, Trump is in the lead, and Haley is expected to be defeated by the former president on Super Tuesday.

It’s not every poll—Biden leads Trump in a February Quinnipiac survey (but Trump’s margin has shrunk from January). The November election is still eight months away, Trump has yet to earn his party’s nomination officially, and any of the 91 criminal charges he is presently facing might derail the campaign.

“Our campaign is ignoring the noise and running a strong campaign to win — just like we did in 2020,” Tyler said in a statement on Sunday. However, when the two are compared in polls, Biden consistently falls behind the previous president.

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