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Biden Reportedly in Denial Over Polling Numbers

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Surveys released Monday from The New York Times, Siena College, and The Philadelphia Inquirer gave President Biden more bad news. Former President Trump was ahead of him in five of six battleground states among registered voters, and the same was true when it came to likely voters, though the difference between them narrowed. 

CNN’s Harry Enten held nothing back in looking at the figures. 

"These Sun Belt battleground states—frankly, for the Joe Biden campaign, these numbers are an absolute disaster,” he said. “The smallest lead is in Arizona for Donald Trump, he's up six. Look at this, nine in Georgia, 13 in Nevada, my goodness gracious, my God, that is a huge lead. No Democrat has lost that state since John Kerry lost it back in 2004.” 

But according to a new Axios report, the president and his team are unfazed by the negative polling, believing sincerely that they are not a measure of support for the commander in chief.  

President Biden doesn't believe his bad poll numbers, and neither do many of his closest advisers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The dismissiveness of the poor polling is sincere, not public spin, according to Democrats who have spoken privately with the president and his team.

  • That bedrock belief has informed Biden's largely steady-as-she-goes campaign — even as many Democrats outside the White House are agitating for the campaign to change direction, given that Biden is polling well behind where he was four years ago.
  • The public polling simply doesn't reflect the president's support, they say.

Driving the news: In public and private, Biden has been telling anyone who will listen that he's gaining ground — and is probably up — on Donald Trump in their rematch from 2020.

  • "While the press doesn't write about it, the momentum is clearly in our favor, with the polls moving towards us and away from Trump," Biden told donors during a West Coast swing last week.

A few days earlier, confronted with some of his bad poll numbers in a rare interview with CNN, Biden offered a more sweeping indictment of polling methodology.

  • "The polling data has been wrong all along. How many — you guys do a poll at CNN. How many folks you have to call to get one response?" (Axios)

Polling isn’t prophecy, of course, as the 2016 presidential election and 2022 midterms make clear. But the red flags for the Biden team are less in the top-line numbers than they are in the reasons driving his declining support: immigration, cost of living/economic issues, and Israel's war against Hamas. 

"This election will be close like all presidential races are," Biden spokesperson Kevin Munoz told Axios. "What matters is which candidate has a popular and winning agenda, and which candidate and their campaign are putting in the work to reach the voters who will decide this election. That candidate is Joe Biden."

Whether voters agree remains to be seen. 

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