CBS News Biden-Trump poll reveals concerns about Biden finishing a second term, and voters’ finances also weigh on Biden | ET REALITY

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The summer before an election year is not always kind to first-term Democrats.

In August 1995, Bob Dole directed Bill Clinton. In the summer of 2011, the public’s “gloomy views” on the economy, we said at the time, drove disapproval of Barack Obama to its highest point at the time.

The fact that both presidents recovered and reached re-election may give Democrats hope, because right now Joe Biden and the Democratic Party face their own significant challenges.

And those Democrats will find no consolation in this: today Biden is one point down, and within the margin of error, in a confrontation with Donald Trump, whom he defeated by seven million votes three years ago.

With most voters unsure whether he would remain for a second term if he were to win it, and their concerns about whether Biden is healthy enough, all of this adds uncertainty to an already unsettled public.

It’s about looking to the future, while Trump benefits from strong hindsight: almost all of his voters believe that “things were better” under his government. Voters who today feel they are worse off financially certainly vote as if that were the case.

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Questions about age and physical condition

It’s unclear to voters whether Biden would get a full second term if he won one, and that uncertainty isn’t helping him.

Only a third of voters think Biden would finish a second term. When asked what would happen if he were elected again, many think he would leave before finishing another term, or are unsure.

Those who think Biden would leave for a second term lean 84% toward Trump.

(Note that Trump, for his part, is also not overwhelmingly seen as a safe option to finish a second term; just over half think he would be.)

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But this appears to give Trump an advantage: By nearly three to one, voters think that only Trump — and not Biden — is physically healthy enough for the job, even though the two are separated by only a few years.

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Voters are much more likely to think that only Trump, and not Biden, has the cognitive and mental health to serve. (Nearly a quarter think neither does.)

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Republicans are much more confident about Trump’s chances of finishing another term than Democrats are about Biden’s.

Qualities that adapt to the moment?

The “calm” and “predictable” labels that voters still give Biden, and who seemed to meet the moment so well in 2020, may seem insufficient today.

Most voters also want “tough” and “forceful” qualities in a president, qualities they do not attribute to President Biden, but do attribute to Trump.

And Trump is described as “sensible” at levels that Biden is not.

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An important (and unwanted) contest

It’s not exactly a showdown people are clamoring for: a large majority say getting a rematch between Biden and Trump already means the political system is broken.

Some look down on their fellow primary voters; few think that means they are the best candidates for the job.

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Nearly three-quarters of voters think the fate of democracy depends on who wins in 2024, but in another sign of division, they believe only the possibility depends on whether their candidate wins.

For the third of voters who don’t believe either man is physically healthy enough to serve, this may also be a race they didn’t want. (Most of them are Biden 2020 voters, and Biden gets most of their votes now.)

Each candidate makes his party feel somewhat assured, although not completely, of victory. Each of the partisans believes he has a better chance of winning next fall. This is important for the primary context: in the GOP primaries right now, Republican voters think Donald Trump is their most electable candidate; In 2020, Democrats thought the same about Mr. Biden.

The pandemic may be over, but are you financially recovered?

Financially, the line of demarcation for people can be as much pre-pandemic as it is post-pandemic as it is for presidential administrations.

Nearly half of voters, and a majority of independents, say they are worse off financially than before the pandemic, far outnumbering those who are better off. and the people Measures of your financial security have They did not return to where they were before the pandemic.

Voters in general, as well as independents in particular, who feel they are worse off financially now than before the pandemic, support Trump; the last group by more than three to one.

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One of the administration’s efforts has been to promote what it sees as Biden’s achievements. Many voters are aware of some key efforts and they are important.

For example, independents who have heard about the Biden administration investing in infrastructure and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices support it, but those independents who haven’t heard about those things are voting for Trump.

But the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce student loan debt have left few voters satisfied. Most members of his own party think he should do more, while Republicans and independents tend to think he should do less.

Do the parts help or harm?

Democratic efforts to try to portray Republicans as too extreme do not appear to be benefiting Democrats because many describe them as extremists.

And there just isn’t much differentiation between them.

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In particular, people who think Democrats are going too far on diversity and racial equality also overwhelmingly describe the Democratic Party as “extreme,” more generally.

More than half of likely independent voters think Democrats’ positions on diversity go too far and think Democrats pay too much attention to those trying to be “politically correct.” They are in favor of Trump by a large majority.

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Independents who think Democrats’ stances on diversity and equality “go too far” are voting for Trump eight to one.

Republicans, for their part, are called “extremists” by people who think the GOP pays too much attention to “MAGA” supporters, and by people who think abortion should be legal, not illegal.

Abortion helped Democrats’ chances in the midterms and establishes a potential advantage for Biden. Online, opinions on abortion push voters toward Democrats.

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And the impeachment proceedings in Congress don’t seem to have much influence here, at least for now: It’s just a (very typical) partisan divide over whether the House GOP should try to impeach Biden over matters involving his son Hunter Biden.

A closer look at the vote and the reasons

The Biden campaign could try to make this more of an election than a direct referendum on Biden. This is taking hold among his voters, half of whom say their primary motivation is to oppose Trump, rather than support Biden.

Trump, for his part, gets more direct support as motivation.

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Almost all Donald Trump voters expressly give as their argument that “things were better under Trump.” It is much more than the number of those who say it is because they like him personally.

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Biden may be at a disadvantage right now because key parts of his 2020 coalition are not yet as tuned into the campaign. Black and Hispanic voters say they are less likely to think about 2024 compared to white voters, and they are less likely (although it is a year away) to say they will vote.

But for the moment, for those who want it, Biden is not competing as strongly right now with the key Democratic constituencies that he would need. He still wins among Hispanics, but with 53%, and typically successful Democrats have reached 60%. By two to one, more Hispanic voters say they are worse off economically, rather than better off, than before the pandemic. Biden still wins overwhelmingly among black voters, but at 81%, it’s less than exit polls showed in 2020. Democrats generally do better.

Every single one of Biden and Trump’s 2020 voters overwhelmingly support them again this time, so small changes matter. Biden today is losing 7% of those who supported him in 2020 against Trump. Trump only gives up 3% of his.

It has long been a misnomer when independents are confused with undecided voters. In reality, most so-called “independents” say they vote primarily for one party, even though they call themselves independents. Only a handful of them (only a third) are truly independent and vote equally for either party over time. These are a good barometer: Biden is losing our definition of “truly independent” by 20 points today. He was almost tied with them in his 2020 votes.

Educational gaps still maintain, and even define, the race as they did in 2020: Biden maintains his small lead among white voters with a college degree, as he did in 2020, and his large deficit with white non-college voters is about same. same.


This CBS News/YouGov poll was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 4,002 adult U.S. residents interviewed between September 12 and 15, 2023. The sample was weighted by gender, age, race and education based on the US Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as past voting. The margin of error is ±2.1 points.

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