There is no clear leader in a potential rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump, who is widely ahead in the GOP primary. And nearly half of registered voters (46%) say that any Republican presidential nominee would be a better choice than Biden in 2024.
Meanwhile, hypothetical matchups also suggest there would be no clear leader should Biden face one of the other major GOP contenders, with one notable exception: Biden runs behind former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Since Biden announced his reelection bid earlier this year – where he framed the 2024 contest as a fight against Republican extremism – his approval ratings have remained mired below the mid-40s, similar to Trump’s standing in 2019, and several points below Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at this point ahead of their reelection campaigns.
Still, Biden’s prospective opponents face challenges of their own: 44% of voters feel any Democratic candidate would be a better choice than Trump. Among the full public, both Biden’s and Trump’s favorability ratings stand at just 35%.
Record low share of Americans say Biden inspires confidence
Views of Biden’s performance in office and on where the country stands are deeply negative in the new poll. His job approval rating stands at just 39%, and 58% say that his policies have made economic conditions in the US worse, up 8 points since last fall. Seventy percent say things in the country are going badly, a persistent negativity that has held for much of Biden’s time in office, and 51% say government should be doing more to solve the nation’s problems.
Perceptions of Biden personally are also broadly negative, with 58% saying they have an unfavorable impression of him. Fewer than half of Americans, 45%, say that Biden cares about people like them, with only 33% describing him as someone they’re proud to have as president. A smaller share of the public than ever now says that Biden inspires confidence (28%, down 7 percentage points from March) or that he has the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president (26%, down 6 points from March), with those declines driven largely by Democrats and independents.
Roughly three-quarters of Americans say they’re seriously concerned that Biden’s age might negatively affect his current level of physical and mental competence (73%), and his ability to serve out another full term if reelected (76%), with a smaller 68% majority seriously concerned about his ability to understand the next generation’s concerns (that stands at 72% among those younger than 65, but just 57% of those 65 or older feel the same).
Most Democratic voters wish they had an alternative to Biden
A broad 67% majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now say it’s very or extremely likely that Biden will again be the party’s presidential nominee, up from 55% who felt that way in May. But 67% also say the party should nominate someone other than Biden – up from 54% in March, though still below the high of 75% who said they were seeking an alternative last summer.
That remains largely a show of discontent with Biden rather than support for any particular rival, with an 82% majority of those who’d prefer to see someone different saying that they don’t have any specific alternative in mind. Just 1%, respectively, name either of his two most prominent declared challengers, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. or Marianne Williamson.
Much of the hesitation revolves around Biden’s vitality rather than his handling of the job. While strong majorities of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters continue to say that Biden cares about people like them (81%) and to approve of his overall job performance (75%), declining shares see him as inspiring confidence (51%, down 19 percentage points since March) or having the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president (49%, down 14 points from March).
Asked to name their biggest concern about a Biden candidacy in 2024, 49% directly mention his age, with his mental acuity (7%) and health (7%) also top concerns, along with his ability to handle the job (7%) and his popularity and electability (6%). Just 5% say that they have no concerns.
“I think he’s a trustworthy, honest person. But he’s so old and not totally with it,” wrote one 28-year-old Democratic voter who was surveyed. “Still love him though. But I also wish he was more progressive. It’s complicated.”