Majority of Democratic Voters Think Biden Should be the Nominee in 2024
As President Biden passes the halfway point of his first term in office, an Emerson College Polling national survey finds 44% of voters approve of the job he is doing as President, while 48% disapprove of the job Biden is doing. Since the November Emerson national survey, Biden’s approval has recovered five percentage points, from 39% to 44%, and his disapproval has decreased four percentage points, from 52% to 48%. The president’s approval remains below his inaugural approval of 49% in the February 2021 Emerson poll.
Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said: “President Biden rebounded with independent voters this month: his 29% approval among independents in November increased to 38% in January. His approval also increased nine points among college graduates, of whom 42% approved of Biden in November, now 51% in January. Women voters shifted from 40% approval of Biden to 46%, while male voters increased from 37% to 42% approval.”
A majority of Democratic primary or caucus voters (58%) think President Biden should be the Democratic nominee in 2024, while 42% think it should be someone else. The share of Democratic voters who think Biden should be the nominee decreased six percentage points since the June Emerson poll, that found 64% support for Biden as the nominee, and 36% would rather it be someone else.
Kimball added, “Biden has solidified his support among minority voters in his party, 72% of Hispanic Democratic voters and 75% of Black Democratic voters think Biden should be the nominee in 2024, whereas 51% of White Democratic voters think someone else should be the Democratic nominee next year.”
In the 2024 Republican Primary, Donald Trump holds a 26-point advantage over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, leading 55% to 29%. Other candidates to receive support include Mike Pence at 6% and Nikki Haley at 3%. Since the November national poll, Trump’s support has held at 55% while DeSantis’s support increased by four percentage points, from 25% to 29%.
The January poll found a majority of Republican voters (55%) expect Trump to be the nominee, regardless of whom they support, while 35% expect DeSantis to be the nominee. Ten percent expect someone else to be the nominee.
Kimball said, “There is an age and educational divide within the Republican primary. Young Republican voters under 35 break for Trump over DeSantis, 73% to 13%, whereas college educated voters break for DeSantis over Trump 40% to 33%.”
Despite improving job approval, President Biden trails former President Trump in a hypothetical 2024 Presidential match-up, 41% to 44%. Ten percent would support someone else and 4% are undecided. Since the November national poll, Trump’s support has increased by three percentage points, from 41% to 44% and Biden’s support has decreased by four percentage points, from 45% to 41%. In a hypothetical match-up between Biden and DeSantis, Biden leads by less than a percentage point, 40% to 39%. Thirteen percent would support someone else and 9% are undecided. Since the November poll, DeSantis has held his support at 39% while Biden has lost three percentage points, from 43% to 40%.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy hold the same approval among voters: 32% approve of the job Schumer and McCarthy are doing respectively and 41% disapprove.
On the 2024 generic congressional ballot, 45% plan to support the Democratic candidate on the ballot while 42% plan to support the Republican candidate. Thirteen percent are undecided.
The economy remains the top issue for the plurality of US voters (43%), followed by healthcare (13%), immigration (11%), “threats to democracy” (10%), and crime (7%). Since November, the share of voters who identify the economy as the top issue facing the US has decreased by three percentage points, from 46% to 43%, whereas healthcare increased by seven percentage points, from 6% to 13%.
Voters were asked the question of which they find more important in a job: higher wages with low job security or high job security with lower wages. A majority of voters (54%) find a high job security with lower wages to be more important in a job, whereas 46% find high wages with low job security to be more important. This differs from the question’s original results in 1946, which found individuals prefer security over higher wages 73% to 23%.
Kimball noted: “Regionally, voters’ perception of the most important issue facing the nation varies. Voters in the South are most concerned about the economy, as 50% of voters rate it as the top issue facing the nation, compared to 33% of those in the Northeast, 45% of those in the Midwest, and 39% of those in the West. Voters in the Northeast are more concerned than those in the rest of the nation about ‘threats to democracy’ at 16%, compared to 8% of those in the South and Midwest.”
Voters are split regarding which state should hold the first presidential primary or caucus in the country: 27% support Iowa’s status as first, 23% South Carolina, 23% New Hampshire, and 12% Nevada. Since November, Iowa’s support has increased two percentage points, from 25% to 27%, South Carolina increased by five points, from 18% to 23%, New Hampshire increased by two points, from 21% to 23%, and Nevada has lost five points of support, from 17% to 12%.
The Emerson College Polling survey of US voters was conducted January 19-21, 2023. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=1,015, with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, party affiliation, 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 and an online panel.
- British Institute of Public Opinion (1946). BIPO Survey # 128, January, 1946, Question 2 [31082708.00001]. British Institute of Public Opinion. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.