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Tipsheet

Majority of Democrats Don't Want Biden to Run Again

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

It's Valentine's Day, but it looks like Democrats are falling out of love with their party's president.  It couldn't be the 40 percent approval rating, could it?  In late 2021, we wrote up a national survey from NPR finding that a plurality of Democratic voters want someone other than Joe Biden to be their nominee in 2024.  I've long believed that Biden is unlikely to run again, even though he'll have to go through the motions of seeking re-election in order to avoid being frozen as a lame duck throughout his lone term.  If he remains anywhere close to this unpopular as the next presidential cycle gets into full swing, his decision to step aside would get even easier.  A fresh CNN poll finds that a majority of Biden's partisans want someone else to run:

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Biden trails 'anyone else' by ten points within a potential Democratic primary, but as you can see, there is no clear frontrunner as an alternative.  Bernie Sanders pulling an underwhelming five percent, while the sitting Vice President is at two percent (which can only be explained by racism and sexism, of course).  Over on the Republican side, GOP-leaning voters are exactly split (50/49) on whether they want Donald Trump to lead their ticket in 2024 -- but unlike the Democrats, among the 'someone else' contingent, there's a potential candidate with obvious traction:


I'd definitely place this in the 'way too premature' category, but there's no doubt that the governor of Florida has caught the attention of many Republican-leaning voters.  He needs to win re-election this year as his first order of business, and he seems to be well on his way to do so.  If he ends up squaring off against Trump in a presidential contest, part of his argument to voters will likely be about the 45th president's baggage, and his own viability among the wider electorate.  Trump has a 2024 primary lead (+10) against the field among core Republican voters in the poll, but GOP-leaning independents prefer the field by a 24-point margin.  The most important question that will come into focus starting late next year is, who gives the party the best chance of winning?  I don't necessarily agree with every word, but this Peggy Noonan column has a lot of wisdom about what the Republican Party needs to do, and how it could potentially win big.  Meanwhile, what to make of these polling results from CBS News?

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That new survey shows a majority of Americans supporting continued mask mandates in their states, as well as a majority of parents of school-aged children favoring ongoing (if unscientific) school masking requirements.  Vaccinated Americans are more likely to back mask rules, whereas unvaccinated people overwhelmingly oppose forced masking.  Those outcomes strike me as questionable risk assessment calculations, all around.  I'm not one to dismiss polling results that I don't like, but I think Erick Erickson is onto something:


It's true that other polling points to more significant anti-restrictions sentiment and mandate fatigue.  More importantly, actions speak louder than polls.  The stampede of Democratic governors and other left-leaning lawmakers away from mandates within the last week reveals how the politics of this issue set is shifting.  Democrats are not rushing away from mandates while a double-digit majority still wants them in place, with all due respect to the CBS data.  We also have the reality of Glenn Youngkin not only winning the governorship in Virginia amid an onslaught of attacks (including negative ads about reducing COVID restrictions), but also scoring a major bipartisan victory on ending mandates after taking the reins in Richmond.  That doesn't happen in a Biden +10 state if voter sentiment is still pro-restrictions.  But even taking the CBS poll numbers at face value, there's also another factor at play, which reminds me of this unrelated survey:

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Most Americans -- including a substantial majority of independents -- don't like the idea of President Biden preemptively limiting his SCOTUS nomination pool exclusively to black women.  Qualifications still prevail over identity, writ large.  But that's not the case among Democrats, and this was a base play, targeted particularly at a key element of the Democratic base.  Those who strongly support the idea of narrowing the field to only black women will be more motivated and animated by the issue than those who don't.  Similarly, there is an intensity gap on questions like masking and COVID restrictions.  The large minority (per CBS) of parents who want optional masking in schools are passionate about having that choice, a policy that would allow pro-maskers to continue having their children wear face coverings.  I'd also make an educated guess that the midterm electorate, at least as it's currently shaping up, will lean more strongly in the anti-mandate direction.  I'll leave you with this anti-science hot take from an MSNBC host.  I urge Democrats to scrupulously follow his advice, which the CBS poll at least superficially purports to back up (excluding the racial court-packing non-sequitur).  They'd get wiped out, and they know it:

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