A new poll from NBC News this weekend shows President Joe Biden in his worst position yet — with no signs of clearer skies ahead.
The sitting president now trails his likely 2024 challenger, Donald Trump, among voters nationally; despite the ex-president’s ongoing legal escapades, Mr Biden trails his opponent 46-44.
The reason for his continued slide is clear: Americans are quickly souring on the president’s handling of US foreign policy and America’s presence on the world stage. The spiraling conflict in Israel has only served to turn America’s youngest voters, long a Democratic-leaning demographic, against the president as seven in ten voters age 18-34 disapprove of Mr Biden’s response.
His approval rating is now at 40 per cent — the lowest recorded by NBC at any point during Mr Biden’s presidency. This poll also marks the first time Mr Biden has trailed Mr Trump in an NBC survey.
A massive generational divide in the US has grown in recent weeks amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Older generations have largely favoured the status quo in Washington, where politicians have lined up in defence of Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere. Younger Americans have split widely in favour of the US calling for a ceasefire in the region, and largely oppose the recent campaign of Israel’s military which has caused a steep civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip.
For Mr Biden, 80, the situation is all the more desperate given already-present concerns regarding his ability to lead the US effectively at an advanced age. His support in his own party is already viewed as tenuous given polling suggesting that most of his party’s voters would prefer him to step aside; a cratering of enthusiasm and support among his party’s younger members could be a serious problem for his re-election efforts going forward.
NBC’s poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters across the country between 10-14 November. The margin of error was 3.1 percentage points.
The White House has sought to tread a line amid the bloody conflict and express condemnations of both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, but while his team has been praised by the centre-right he has failed to win over his own party’s activist base.
He remains the wide favourite to win the Democratic primary, given that his national party has expressed no intention of hosting debates. But a general election remains in uncomfortably murky territory, and a growing number of Democrats are beginning to sound the alarm about what a critical loss to Donald Trump would mean for the country were it to occur next year. Extensive reporting suggests that Mr Trump hopes to weaponise the Justice Department against his political enemies including Joe Biden and the Biden family, and pursue a radical right-wing political agenda.
Mr Biden and other prominent Democrats continue to insist that the president remains the best candidate to defeat Mr Trump in 2024, and shrug off any suggestion that he will step aside. In response to these latest numbers, many such as former HUD Secretary Julián Castro opined that the president had time to turn his chances around.
Bad news for Biden all around.
-All-time low approval for him in an @NBCNews poll (40)
-Trailing Trump for first time in the poll (46-48).
-His approval rating among 18-34 yr olds plummeted from 46% to 31% btwn Sept and Nov
-Silver lining: 11 months left to turn things around. https://t.co/0XBsjIYVLg
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) November 19, 2023