Biden Competitive in Potential 2024 General Elections Match-ups, but Age Could Present an Issue
The first Florida Emerson College Polling survey of 2024 finds 53% of voters disapprove of the job President Joe Biden is doing in office, while 40% approve. By contrast, 51% of voters approve of the job Governor Ron DeSantis is doing as Governor, while 42% disapprove.
In a hypothetical 2024 Republican Primary, former President Donald Trump leads Governor DeSantis by three points, 47% to 44%. No other candidate surpasses four percent. Among announced candidates, Trump, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy, Trump’s support increases to 79%, Haley to 16%, and Ramaswamy holds 6%. A majority, 69%, of DeSantis voters move to Trump if the primary were to remain between three announced candidates, while 20% would move to Haley.
Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said: “Nearly one year out from the Florida Presidential Primary, DeSantis and Trump are in a two-way race for the Republican nomination, statistically even with one another. While 90% of Republican voters approve of DeSantis, that does not translate into a firewall of support over the former President for the nomination in their home state.”
Similar to the 2020 Democratic primary where Joe Biden received 62% of the vote, 61% of Democrats think Joe Biden should be the nominee come 2024, while 39% think it should be someone else. When presented with a list of potential 2024 candidates, Biden holds 41% support, followed by Vice President Kamala Harris at 14%, Senator Bernie Sanders at 11%, and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at 8%. Fifteen percent think the nominee should be someone else.
Kimball noted, “While a majority of all Democratic racial demographics think Biden should be the nominee in 2024, Biden’s support as the nominee is strongest among Black voters at 71%, followed by Hispanic voters at 64%, and White voters at 53%.”
In a potential 2024 presidential matchup between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Biden and Trump both hold 44% of the vote, while 9% support someone else and 3% are undecided. Between Biden and DeSantis, DeSantis leads 46% to 43%; 7% support someone else and 4% are undecided.
Florida voters were asked if they think the age of Joe Biden and Donald Trump respectively would help them be effective presidents, or if their age would be an obstacle to being an effective president. A majority of Florida voters, 56%, think Biden’s age of 82 would be an obstacle to being an effective president, 13% think it would help him be an effective president, while 31% think it would not matter that much.
Half (50%) of Florida voters think Trump’s age would not matter that much, while a third (33%) think it would be an obstacle to him being an effective president, and 18% think it would help him be an effective president.
“Age could be a hurdle for President Biden’s re-election effort as a majority of voters in Florida, 56%, and in New Hampshire, 57%, think Biden’s age would present an obstacle to being an effective president. In a Florida presidential general election, voters who find Biden’s age to be an obstacle break for Trump over Biden 66% to 18%, and for DeSantis 73% to 17%,” Kimball noted.
A majority (55%) of voters strongly (39%) or somewhat (16%) approve of the way Governor DeSantis is handling education and public schools as Governor, while 41% somewhat (9%) or strongly (32%) disapprove of the Governor’s handling of education.
“DeSantis has a potential problem with independent voters. Over half, 51%, of independents disapprove of the job DeSantis is doing as Governor. Driving these voters’ disapproval of DeSantis is independent women, 61% of whom disapprove of DeSantis. Also among independent voters 50% disapprove of DeSantis handling of education, 43% approve,” Kimball said.
The economy is the top issue to 26% of Florida voters, followed by housing affordability (14%), ‘threats to democracy’ (13%), immigration (12%), education (9%), healthcare (7%), abortion access (6%), and crime (5%).
Kimball noted, “While a plurality of Republican and independent voters find the economy to be the top issue at 30% and 27%, they differ on the other issues of importance. Twenty-three percent (23%) of Republicans find immigration to be their most important issue facing the state, whereas independent voters are more concerned with threats to democracy at 16%, and education and housing affordability, both at 13% respectively. The top issue for Democrats was housing affordability at 21% followed by the economy at 20%.”
The Emerson College Polling survey of Florida voters was conducted March 13-15, 2023. The sample of registered voters, n=1,153, has a margin of error (MOE), of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race and ethnicity, party registration, and region based on 2024 registration modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, SMS text-to-web of cell phones, voter registration list of emails, and an online panel.