OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Nearly nine out of 10 Democratic voters surveyed in a poll published on Friday say they believe President Joe Biden should not be leading the party, while many of the party’s leaders now admit he’s too old to run again in 2024.
The AP-NORC poll asked: “Who should lead the Democratic Party?” Just 12 percent said it ought to be Biden.
According to the AP-NORC poll, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) all received 5% of the possible answers, which included seven options.
Embattled Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) received 3% each. The highest number of responses, however, were “no answer” and “other response,” which came in at 37% and 21%, respectively.
But that said, the same survey was not exactly a win for the current Republican Party leadership, either.
Only 20% of self-identified Republicans believe that former President Donald Trump should lead the GOP, while 22% believe that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would be a better candidate for the position. The poll also found that 34% of respondents chose “no answer,” while 21% selected “other response.”
“Republicans and Democrats alike are expressing concerns about the direction of the parties. Democrats are more optimistic than pessimistic about the future of their party (44% vs 26%), while Republicans are about equally optimistic (38%) and pessimistic (36%) about where their party is headed,” the pollsters said.
Voters on either side of the aisle did not express a great deal of confidence in their party, according to the survey’s results, but it appears worse for the GOP.
“Only 22% of Republicans are very or extremely confident that their party’s leadership represents their values,” the pollsters noted. “Fifty-five percent are somewhat confident and 21% are not confident. In contrast, 42% of Democrats are very or extremely confident that the Democratic leadership represents their values, 36% are somewhat confident, and 20% have little or no confidence.”
And both sides have a dim view of the job Congress is doing: “Only 19% of adults have a positive view of Congress’ job performance, including 20% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans. Seventy-nine percent disapprove,” the poll of 1,068 adults nationwide found.
“The public, regardless of party identification, has little optimism about politics in the United States these days,” the pollsters wrote. “Sixty-three percent are pessimistic about the state of politics, 15% are optimistic, and 21% are neither optimistic nor pessimistic.”
At the same time, a separate report found that Democratic Party leaders believe that Biden is just too old to run again for the presidency next year.
“Nobody wants to be the one to do something that would undermine the chances of a Democratic victory in 2024,” Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) told Politico for a story published Thursday. “Yet in quiet rooms, the conversation is just the opposite — we could be at a higher risk if this path is cleared.”
Not many people would go on the record, however. Writer Jonathan Martin noted tellingly: “There was the senator who said few Democrats in the chamber want Biden to run again but that the party had to devise ‘an alignment of interest’ with the president to get him off the ‘narcotic’ of the office; there was the governor who mused about just how little campaigning Biden would be able to do; and there was the House member who, after saying that, of course, Democrats should renominate the president told me to turn off my phone and then demanded to know who else was out there and said Harris wasn’t an option.”
Last week, a separate AP-NORC poll, Biden only has support from 37 percent of Democrats for a second term. Prior to the midterms in November, the same poll found that 52 percent wanted Biden to run again in 2024.
“While Biden has trumpeted his legislative victories and ability to govern, the poll suggests relatively few U.S. adults give him high marks on either. Follow-up interviews with poll respondents suggest that many believe the 80-year-old’s age is a liability, with people focused on his coughing, his gait, his gaffes, and the possibility that the world’s most stressful job would be better suited for someone younger,” the Associated Press reported.
“I, honestly, think that he would be too old,” said Sarah Overman, a Democrat in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We could use someone younger in the office.”