By now you’ve probably read some of the chicken little analysis explaining why President Biden and Democrats are screwed for 2024. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t worry. There will be more of it to read – lots more. The doomsayers may be right. There are some worrisome polls 14 months out from the election. But some of it is just premature nail-biting. Consider some of the more balanced takes.
For example, from Harry Enten’s “Three reasons Biden’s problems appear to be overblown” at CNN Politics:
“But while Biden clearly has problems – no president with an approval rating hovering around 40% is in good shape – some of his issues appear to be overblown at this time. Here are three reasons why”:
1. Biden’s going to win the Democratic primary, unless something drastic happens.
2. The impeachment inquiry isn’t damaging Biden … yet.
3. Voters don’t like the state of the economy; it may not matter that much.
Stop me if you heard this one before: Biden is the president heading into an election, voters are unhappy with the state of the economy, and his party does much better in the elections than a lot of people thought.
That’s what happened in the 2022 midterms.
The inflation rate is lower now than it was then, but it’s on the uptick. Voters, both now and then, overwhelmingly disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy. They even say the economy matters more than any other issue, like they did in 2022.
What none of this data takes into account is that Americans almost always call the economy the top issue, according to Gallup.
….It’s not as if the economy is helping Biden. I’m just not sure it’s hurting him.
After all, there’s a reason why Democrats have consistently outperformed the 2020 presidential baseline in special elections this year.
If things were really that bad for Biden and the Democrats, they’d most likely be losing elections all over the country. That simply isn’t happening at this point.
Yes, keep in mind that commentators and voters sometimes get a little tipsy on culture war distractions. Nonetheless, fourteen months from now, a lot of the more sober swing voters may be thinking versions of “Sure, Biden is kinda old. But Trump is no spring chicken. My economic situation could be better. But the economy seems to be on a modest upswing. Is now really a good time to bet everything on a guy with all of Trump’s messy problems and let him run the world? My guess is no.” (could be a rant for a Democratic ad).
So place your bets on chicken little or Walter Mitty or something in between. But no matter who says what, no one really knows what is going to happen on election day, 2024.