New poll shows around one-third of Democratic voters would prefer somebody other than Biden as party nominee

April 28, 2023
Ben Marquis

President Joe Biden finally announced this week that he is officially running for re-election in 2024, but not everybody is thrilled with that prospect, including a substantial portion of Biden's own base of Democratic Party voters.

A poll conducted immediately after Biden's announcement found that slightly more than a third of Democratic voters would prefer that somebody other than him be the party's presidential nominee in the next election cycle, Breitbart reported.

It represents a rather inauspicious start to Biden's re-election campaign and belies the overt efforts of the Democratic establishment to try and minimize or completely avoid partisan primary elections and debates against other declared and potential contenders for the party's nomination.

Third of Democrats would prefer a different nominee

That poll came from Emerson College, which surveyed 1,100 registered voters between April 24-25 with a margin of error of around 2.9 percent, though that margin was variable and higher for certain questions that were posed only to Democrats or Republicans.

The pollsters found that with regard to President Biden's re-election announcement on Tuesday, 65 percent of Democratic respondents supported the move -- down from 71 percent in a February poll -- while 35 percent said that they would prefer the party to nominate somebody else.

However, when the pollsters presented Democratic respondents with the choice of Biden or the only two other candidates who have formally entered the race thus far -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson -- the incumbent president's support increased to 70 percent while Kennedy drew 21 percent and Williamson garnered the support of 8 percent of Democratic voters.

Kennedy sapping support from Biden's voters

Similarly, less than one week earlier when Kennedy formally launched his campaign, USA Today and Suffolk University conducted a survey of 600 registered voters who had supported President Biden in the 2020 election, with a margin of error of 4 percent, and found that the incumbent president seeking re-election had some vulnerabilities with his own base.

Of those voters who previously voted for Biden in the last election, just 67 percent said they would support him to be the Democratic nominee once again. Kennedy drew 14 percent support from those prior Biden voters while Williamson received 5 percent and another 13 percent were undecided.

The pollsters further learned that out of all of Biden's prior voters who now disapprove of his job performance, 33 percent would support Kennedy, while of the old Biden voters who now say he has been "too liberal," 35 percent would shift their support to Kennedy. It was further revealed that Kennedy's support was strongest among conservative-leaning Democrats, young Democrats, and Democrats who lacked a college degree.

"In 2020, Joe Biden received more votes than any other president in U.S. history, yet the poll tells us that those same voters are open to other Democrats to wage a spirited primary," Suffolk University Political Research Center Director David Paleologos said of the poll results. "Kennedy, although a long shot at this point, starts in double digits and can't be ignored."

Approval numbers remain dismal

Relatedly, the Emerson College poll also denoted that President Biden's job approval rating now stands at 41 percent, down from 44 percent in February's survey, while his disapproval was pegged at 49 percent, down just marginally from 50 percent in the prior poll, but still up slightly from his lowest disapproval rating of 48 percent in January's poll.

The biggest factor in that decline, per the pollsters, was independent voters, whose approval fell from 37 percent in February to just 30 percent now.

Those overall numbers aren't too dissimilar from the figures determined by the RealClearPolitics average of polls which show Biden with 42.9 percent approval and 53.5 percent disapproval, for a negative spread of -10.6 percent.

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