Poll shows only around 40 percent of Democrats think Biden is 'strongest' candidate for party nomination

July 14, 2023
Ben Marquis

For better or worse, incumbent President Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, even as most Democratic voters are less than thrilled with the option available to them.

In fact, a new poll shows that only around four out of every ten Democrat actually thinks that Biden is the "strongest" candidate that could be nominated by the party in this particular cycle, Breitbart reported.

That doesn't bode particularly well for the president's re-election campaign, especially if additional candidates who appeal to the Democratic base enter into the race.

Biden base is not enthusiastic about him

The Economist/YouGov surveyed 1,500 U.S. adults between July 8-11, with an unknown margin of error, and asked respondents, "Do you think that Joe Biden is the strongest candidate that Democrats could nominate for president in 2024?"

Overall, only 20 percent of Americans said "Yes," Biden is the strongest candidate for the Democratic Party, while 61 percent said "No" and 19 percent were unsure.

The numbers were not much better among the demographic groups that make up the core Democratic voting base, as only 39 percent of self-identified Democrats said "Yes" while 36 percent said "No," Biden is not the strongest candidate the party could nominate, and 26 percent were "not sure.

Even among those who previously voted for the president in 2020, just 35 percent said he was the strongest candidate compared to 40 percent who said he was not and 25 percent who were unsure, and the figures were similar for self-identified liberals, with 33 percent saying "Yes," 43 percent saying "No," and 24 percent who were "Not sure."

Other possible alternatives for Democratic voters

That then raises the question "If not Biden, then who?" The Washington Post put forward in April a collection of possible alternative Democratic nominees in the event that, for any of several reasons, President Biden became unable or unwilling to continue on with his 2024 campaign.

Topping that list was Transporation Sec. Pete Buttigieg followed by Vice President Kamala Harris, who were in turn followed by an array of predominately blue state governors and a couple of prominent Democratic senators, and though they were all ranked, the order is likely interchangeable for a variety of reasons.

Among the Democratic governors listed were Colorado's Jared Polis, Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer, California's Gavin Newsom, Pennsylvania's Josh Shapiro, and in a tie for the final spot on the Top 10 list, New Jersey's Phil Murphy and Illinois' J.B. Pritzker. Joining them on the list were Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.

The list also threw in about a dozen other names deemed "worth mentioning," which included eventual actual candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson, along with a collection of additional cabinet officials, governors, mayors, senators, and members of Congress.

Top Democrats warn voters not to stray from Biden

Left unmentioned on that list was far-left progressive academic intellectual Cornel West, who recently launched a presidential campaign initially as a Democrat but is now registered with the Green Party, and according to The Hill, his candidacy has sparked "Democratic jitters" and unpleasant flashbacks to the 2016 election, when Green Party nominee Jill Stein likely siphoned away enough leftist votes from failed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to allow former President Donald Trump to prevail.

That led former Obama strategist David Axelrod to warn, "In 2016, the Green Party played an outsized role in tipping the election to Donald Trump. Now, with Cornel West as their likely nominee, they could easily do it again. Risky business."

Likewise, Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison also warned his more left-leaning fellow Democrats with respect to West, "This is not the time in order to experiment. This is not the time to play around on the margins," and -- undoubtedly in reference to West as well as Kennedy and Williamson -- added, "What we see is a lot of folks who want to be relevant and try to be relevant in these elections and not looking at the big picture. We got to reelect Joe Biden."

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