Joe Biden, Queen Theater, Wilmington, DE
Joe Biden speaking at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, DE. Photo credit: Đạt Lý / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

President Joe Biden is not just battling Donald Trump but also the perception that he is not up for the job and that his views are too liberal. He has to try to reassure Americans tonight that they are wrong on both accounts.

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

When President Joe Biden steps out onto the debate stage Thursday night, he is facing a daunting task. He is not just battling Donald Trump but, perhaps more importantly, also the perception that he isn’t up for the job.

A couple of new polls show that this is an uphill climb for him. While both candidates are very unpopular, Trump can at least rely on an enthusiastic base.

Biden, on the other hand, does not just have to convince undecided voters (including those who may not bother to vote at all in light of their choices) that he should get a second term, but also Democrats.

While his party has never been as enthusiastic about him as Republicans are about Trump, Biden is worse off in that regard than in 2020, according to a new Gallup poll released just hours before the debate.

Back then, 56 percent of Democrats said they were pleased with their nominee. Four years later, that number has dropped significantly to 42 percent… and a majority of Democrats now say they would prefer another candidate.

Conversely, 79 percent of Republicans are happy with Trump, which is essentially the same figure as in 2020. That means that neither a failed coup nor a felony conviction have diminished his stranglehold on the GOP and its voters.

Biden’s age is a major reason why voters are concerned about him.

Two-thirds of Americans believe that he is too old to be president, and 59 percent said they are “very concerned” about Biden’s age.

Trump, whose campaign and whose allies in the right-wing media have tried to paint Biden as senile (but strangely also a criminal mastermind), is doing much better in that regard… even though he is not much younger.

Just over one-third of Americans said Trump is too old to be president, and 18 percent of them are “very concerned” about his age.

While voters overall don’t like either candidate, the Republican’s favorability has inched up to 46 percent, which is his highest since he bungled the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden is trending in the other direction. His favorability rating is now just a mere 37 percent, his lowest since becoming Barack Obama’s running mate.

It’s not just Biden’s age that is hurting him in the race; it’s also his stances on the issues.

While voters are evenly divided on how they feel about Trump’s views on the issues that matter most to them, Biden fares significantly worse.

Just 37 percent of Americans agree with him on the issue, as compared to 61 percent who do not.

Here, too, Trump is doing much better with his own voters than Biden with Democrats. A whopping 93 percent agree with the former president on key issues as opposed to 81 percent of Democrats who feel the same way about the incumbent.

By a margin of 12 points, independents say they are more aligned with Trump on key issues than Biden.

Finally, more than half of Americans say the president is “too liberal” while fewer than half believe Trump is “too conservative.”

Obviously, there is a good chance that Americans who are just now tuning in to the race will remember why they don’t like Trump. He will take care of that himself.

But, to give himself an opportunity to win a second term, Biden has to convince Americans that he is not an old extremist who can’t do the job.

And he has to start doing so tonight.


Comments are closed.