by Fred Bauer at UnHerd
A popular trope in contemporary American politics is the idea of an “exhausted majority”, a cluster of voters who are worn out by escalating political conflict. A new Wall Street Journal poll of the 2024 presidential race has a message for these voters: prepare to get even more exhausted.
The poll has brutal numbers for President Joe Biden and ex-president Donald Trump, who is currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The candidate flaws highlighted in the poll could dominate the presidential race — at the expense of many policy issues. Both men have a meagre 39% favourability rating, while 73% of voters (and two-thirds of Democrats) think that Biden, the oldest president in American history, is too old to run for re-election. Yet 47% of voters think the same of Trump, who would himself be an octogenarian by the end of a second term.
While voters have significant reservations about the characters of both men, Biden tends to come out somewhat better on that front. Two-thirds of respondents think Trump isn’t likeable, while 48% feel the same way about Biden. Only 45% of voters think that Biden is honest — which is higher than Trump’s figure (38%). Trump comes across as slightly stronger on having a “vision for the future” and on his record as president, though both of those numbers are in the low 50s.
This poll provides yet more evidence that voters are far from thrilled at the idea of a Biden-Trump rematch. So far, both men have kept their distance from the campaign trail. Gone are the days when Trump rallies crisscrossed the country — the former president has not had an in-person campaign stop since August 12. Biden has only had a single campaign rally since announcing his re-election bid.
A campaign dominated by Trump and Biden’s personal flaws could…Continue Reading