Nearly 60% of Democrats and nearly 50% of Republicans want someone other than Joe Biden or Donald Trump to be their party’s nominee for president in 2024, a new poll showed on Sunday.
A key member of Biden’s cabinet, however, insisted Biden’s record in office was more important than any “generational argument” for change.
Among Americans overall, the poll by the Washington Post and ABC News, released two days before Biden’s State of the Union address, showed that 62% would be “dissatisfied” or “angry” if Biden were re-elected in two years’ time, while 56% said the same about Trump returning to the role he lost in 2020.
A little more than a third of all respondents (36%) said they would be “enthusiastic” or “satisfied but not enthusiastic” if Biden were re-elected. For Trump, that total was 43%.
Biden’s secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union.
Asked if he thought arguments for generational change, such as he advanced in his own presidential run two years ago, might be gaining strength, the 41-year-old said: “Generational arguments can be powerful [but] the most powerful argument of all is results.
“I would say you can’t argue with a straight face that it isn’t a good thing that we have had 12 million jobs created under this president. And, by the way, a lot of the jobs are in manufacturing.
“As somebody who grew up in the industrial midwest, it’s been so moving to see hundreds of thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs being created, including in rural areas, small towns in places like Tennessee and Louisiana, and Georgia and Indiana, the kind of growth that benefits the entire American people.”
In 2020, a presidential election between Biden and Trump was fought in the shadow of Covid-19 but produced huge turnout, Biden taking more than 81m votes to more than 74m for Trump.
Pursuing his lie about voter fraud, Trump sought to overturn his defeat, leading to the deadly Capitol riot and a second impeachment, for inciting that insurrection.
Acquitted after sufficient Republicans stayed loyal, Trump is still the only declared candidate for the GOP nomination in two years’ time. Biden has said he intends to run but has not officially declared his candidacy.
Already the oldest president inaugurated for the first time, Biden would be 82 when inaugurated for a second term and 86 by the end of his time in office. Trump would be 77 on his return to the White House.
On leaving the White House this week, Biden’s first chief of staff gave a heavy hint that Biden will run.
“As I did in 1988, 2008 and 2020, I look forward to being on your side when you run for president in 2024,” Ron Klain said, prompting applause from staff and a smile from Biden.
Buttigieg said: “I think, when you look at what America was up against when President Biden took office, and what has been delivered just in these first two years of this administration … I think those results are going to continue to accumulate.
“People will toss whatever argument they can into the mix that they think is going to benefit them the most. But at the end of the day you can’t argue with the extraordinary accomplishments, more than almost any other modern president, that President Biden has achieved under the toughest of circumstances.”
According to the Post-ABC poll, a 2024 match-up between Biden and Trump would land 48%-45% in Biden’s favour: “A gap within the poll’s margin of error”.