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White House backs Biden amid plummeting polls

Polling data appears to show more and more voters siding with Donald Trump ahead of next year’s presidential election

The White House has dismissed calls for Joe Biden to withdraw from the 2024 US election race, as polling data continues to show him ceding ground to potential Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Despite strong Democratic performances in state elections this week, some top voices within the party have openly questioned if Biden can defeat Trump at the ballot box next year, particularly after polls showed him trailing the possible GOP candidate in several key battleground states.

“I love Joe Biden,” Ohio’s former Democratic congressman Tim Ryan told CNN on Monday. “He’s done a great service to this country. He saved the country from Donald Trump. But now it’s time for us to just take the next step.”

Results of a New York Times/Siena College poll released last Sunday likely made for grim reading in the Democratic halls of power. Biden is currently trailing GOP frontrunner Trump in five out of six battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania, it said. He currently retains a lead over Trump in the sixth, Wisconsin. His victory in all six was crucial to his 2020 electoral triumph over Trump.

Similarly, a CNN poll on Thursday showed Trump stretching his lead over Biden in the overall, though still hypothetical, electoral race by a margin of 49% to 45% – a large increase from a virtual tie between the two in late-August.

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Ryan’s worries were echoed by David Axelrod, a former senior adviser in Barack Obama’s administration. “Only Joe Biden can make this decision,” he wrote on social media on Sunday. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s.”

However, publicly at least, the White House appeared keen this week to allay concerns about Biden’s electability, arguing that state election victories by Democrats this week are de-facto endorsements of Biden’s presidency.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday that Kentucky governor Andy Beshear’s success at the polls on Wednesday was due to the “Biden-Beshear agenda.”

“Beshear ran on infrastructure, he ran on lowering costs,” Jean-Pierre said. “Those are the president’s agenda,” adding “we have always said that voting matters and polls do not.”

But, in what will be a concern for Democrats and the Biden administration as a whole, the polls appear to reflect discontent about Biden’s handling of the economy, rising costs and US foreign policy.

Perhaps most worryingly, though, the CNN poll showed that only a quarter of respondents believed that Biden, who turns 81 this month, has the necessary sharpness and stamina required to be commander-in-chief.

 

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