Traditionally, a president’s ability to deliver a strong State of the Union Address has been seen as a measure of their success. The nation is listening intently as the president details his achievements and plans for the future. Vice President Joe Biden will undoubtedly carry out these duties on Tuesday night, but he will have his work cut out for him.
As the 2024 primary season gets underway, Biden’s poll numbers (both in terms of his approval rating and his 2024 prospects) remain dismal.
In the past five days, three surveys have come out about how the American people feel about Vice President Joe Biden’s performance in office, and they all paint a rather poor picture. All three polling organizations find that Vice President Biden has an approval rating in the low to mid-40s and a disapproval rate in the mid to high-50s.
Biden’s disapproval rate remains higher than his approval rating, even in the finest polls he’s gotten during the previous few weeks.
Even though he has been in office for only a few short months, Biden’s net approval (approve minus disapprove) rating has been negative since the end of summer 2021. Almost a year and a half into his presidency, more Americans have disapproved of Joe Biden’s performance than approved.
Only Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, experienced a long stretch of net disapproval during his first year in office.
It’s excellent news for Biden that his popularity is holding steady. Biden’s popularity seemed to rise steadily throughout the month of December and into the beginning of January. Then it went down after secret files were discovered at his Wilmington, Delaware, home and an office he had used in Washington, DC, after leaving the vice presidency. It seems to be trending upwards once more.
Additionally, Biden’s core supporters appear to be staying true to him. Among Democrats, his support rating consistently hovers around 80%.
No president has ever faced any significant competition for renomination when his approval rating among his own party was above 75%.
In contrast, there are additional indicators before 2024 that are not promising. Most Democrats agree that Vice President Biden is doing a good job, but they aren’t yet ready to choose him as their party’s presidential nominee in the next election.
Less than half of Democrats, according to most surveys, support a second term for Vice President Joe Biden. Despite being below 50%, he leads in the few national surveys that compare him to other Democrats. In 1979, when President Jimmy Carter was in a similar position, he was challenged for the Democratic nomination by Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
Since no one of any political significance appears likely to run against Biden in 2024, he is the most likely Democratic nominee.
However, Biden will have rivals in the general election, and polls show that he is currently doing poorly against these opponents.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post survey showed that Trump had 48% of the vote against Biden’s 45%. Given the polling conducted for the 2020 campaign, a result inside the margin of error is remarkable.
Neither 2019 nor 2020 produced a single poll that matched the criteria for publication in which a majority of respondents favored Trump over Biden as the future president. There have been a number of polls, including one from ABC News/The Washington Post, that had Trump ahead of Biden in the general election of 2024.
In the general election of 2024, Biden is most likely to face off against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. According to a poll conducted by the Marquette University Law School earlier this month, DeSantis leads Biden by seven points.
Biden has his job cut out for him.
The major question moving ahead is if anything can change those figures for Biden.
That’s probably not going to happen with just one speech like the one Biden gives today.
What may change matters for Biden is the state of the economy.
After extraordinarily high inflation for much of 2022, we’ve actually had decreased inflation over the previous few months. Additionally, gas prices have dropped significantly since the middle of last year.
Biden’s approval rating is up from where it was a few months ago, and this may be due in part to the fact that Americans are spending less on petrol and the cost of living isn’t rising. If that trend holds, perhaps the president can pull himself out of his funk.
The only thing we know for sure is that we are still extremely early in the 2024 cycle. There is a lot of time for things to shift for the better — or worse – for Biden.