OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The results of a new survey about President Joe Biden have the White House scrambling to engage in some damage control and at a time when his chief rival, former President Donald Trump, is rising fast in the polls.
Ahead of what so far appears to be a looming rematch of their 2020 contest, a new Harvard Harris Poll found that Trump continues to dominate the field of Republican candidates while Biden suffers from a growing perception that he is no longer mentally fit to serve as commander-in-chief.
The late July poll found that less than one-third — 32 percent — of respondents believe that Biden is mentally fit to serve as President, while 68 percent expressed doubts about his mental acuity.
Meanwhile, the survey found that in a Democratic race, most voters prefer Biden. Yet, should he choose to drop out, the survey found Vice President Kamala Harris takes the forefront as the preferred candidate.
When Biden remains in the race, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. trails with 16 percent. Conversely, if Biden is out of the picture Harris takes a commanding position with 44 percent, effectively doubling RFK’s backing of 22 percent.
The results of the poll indicate that the findings could potentially have an impact on the 2024 Presidential Election. Despite Biden’s overall approval rating standing around 40 percent, the question of his mental fitness might play a decisive role for undecided voters. Poll analysts said that Democrats must proactively address these concerns if they wish to secure a second term for Biden.
🇺🇲 2024 Presidential Election Poll
(R) Trump: 45% (+5)
(D) Biden: 40%
(R) Trump: 47% (+9)
(D) Harris: 38%
(R) DeSantis: 41% (+1)
(D) Biden: 40%
(R) DeSantis: 41% (+2)
(D) Harris: 39%
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) July 21, 2023
On the Republican side, Trump’s lead over his GOP rivals is expanding, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, long the number two challenger, has continued to lose ground.
“Ron DeSantis has fallen behind both Donald Trump and Vivek Ramaswamy in a new national poll, the latest to show the Governor’s slide among GOP Presidential Primary voters,” Florida Politics reported on Thursday.
In the Harvard survey, a significant 54 percent of Republican voters believe that Trump will ultimately win the nomination. However, if Trump does not become the nominee, DeSantis will take the lead with 29 percent, followed by Ramaswamy at 19 percent, and former Vice President Mike Pence at 13 percent.
In hypothetical matchups, Trump maintains a five-point lead over Biden and a nine-point lead over Harris. In direct matchups, DeSantis essentially ties both Biden and Harris, the survey found.
But, six out of ten individuals believe that Biden should not seek a second term, while almost six out of ten feel the same way about Trump.
In June, a national survey conducted for NBC News found that more than two-thirds of registered voters, or 68 percent, said they have moderate to major concerns about Biden “not having the necessary mental and physical health” to be president, a staggering 17-point increase from when voters were asked the same question in October 2020.
“The new poll shows 32% of voters said they have little to no real concerns, which is a drop from the 48% of voters who responded similarly in October 2020, roughly a month before the November presidential election that year,” the Daily Wire reported, citing the survey.
The same survey found a lower percentage of voters — but still a majority at 55 percent — felt the same about Trump, who just turned 77.
And a survey published the previous month revealed similar findings and sentiments about the president.
According to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, a majority of Americans, by a 62 percent-to-36 percent margin, think Biden does not have the mental capacity to continue serving as president beyond his first term.
“Biden did, however, actually see a slight increase in his approval rating to 45%, up 4 points from last month. That indicates there will likely be a significant number of people who believe there are serious concerns about Biden’s mental fitness but will vote for him anyway,” NPR reported.