New Poll Pits Biden Replacements Against Trump, and Hoo Boy!!!

News & Politics

Democrats are utterly terrified following Biden’s disastrous debate performance last week. Both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times have urged him to withdraw from the race. Many Democrats privately acknowledge that it was a complete failure and hope that Biden will be persuaded to resign so that a younger contender will be able to rescue the Democrats in the upcoming election. Even some anti-Trump Republicans believe that any Democrat besides Joe Biden would beat Trump easily.

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But is that even true?

In reality, it doesn’t look like it would make much of a difference. It should come as no surprise that alternatives to Biden have already been polled against Trump to see what might happen if Joe Biden does drop out.

A new flash poll by Data for Progress, a left-wing firm, conducted the day after the debate, tells us a lot about the state of the race post-debate and the issue of replacing Biden on the ballot. A majority of Democratic voters still want Biden to stay in the race, but that number is declining. 

Only 51% of Democrats and 35% of all likely voters say that Joe Biden should remain as the Democratic nominee for the 2024 presidential election. This represents a 12-point drop among Democrats since Data for Progress asked the same question in early March.

If Democratic voters have a say in the matter, if Biden does drop out their top choice to replace him is Kamala Harris. The poll found that 39% of Democrats chose Harris, and the next top contender was Gavin Newsom, with just 18% support.

Related: Is It Over? Joe Biden to Have Family Meeting Sunday About the Future of His Campaign

One key problem, of course, is that many Biden alternatives, such as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, and even California Governor Newsom are simply not well known to the majority of voters. This of course, is a major problem as it means these candidates would have to spend the final months of the campaign introducing themselves to the nation, which would put them at a clear disadvantage.

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Even now, according to Data for Progress, none of the Biden-alternative candidates do much better than Biden.

The survey also asked voters about hypothetical head-to-heads between Trump and Biden, Harris, Whitmer, Newsom, Pritzker, Buttigieg, Shapiro, Klobuchar, and Booker.

In a two-way matchup between Biden and Trump, 45% of voters choose Biden and 48% of voters choose Trump. Compared to Data for Progress’ last head-to-head survey, Trump’s vote share across subgroups has remained relatively stable while “don’t know” rates have grown larger. Harris performs the same as Biden in a head-to-head matchup against Trump.

Among alternative candidates, no candidate performs significantly better than Biden against Trump in a head-to-head race, though more voters indicate they are “not sure” compared to the most well-known candidates.

Only 51% of Democrats and 35% of all likely voters say that Joe Biden should remain as the Democratic nominee for the 2024 presidential election. This represents a 12-point drop among Democrats since Data for Progress asked the same question in early March.

So, for all the panic about Joe Biden and the mad dash to convince him to step aside, it’s clear that Democrats won’t be in a stronger position if they do, and that may complicate the next steps.

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Recommended: DNC Insiders: Biden Was Set Up to Fail in a ‘Soft Coup’

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