President Joe Biden’s approval sank to a new low, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found, two weeks after the president announced his reelection campaign.
Biden’s approval rating dipped to 36 percent, down from February and just below his previous low in 2022. A significantly higher percentage of people — 56 percent — disapprove of the job the president has done so far, and the majority of the Democrats surveyed (58 percent) said they would rather Democrats pick someone else to be the presidential nominee.
Allowing for the fact that it was a single poll, the polling seemingly offered a number of reasons for Biden and his supporters to be nervous heading into the 2024 presidential election, though there were warning signs for former President Donald Trump as well.
For Biden, part of the issue is the president’s age and acuity. Twenty-six percent said Biden, who is 80, is too old for another term, and an additional 43 percent said both Biden and Trump, who is 76, are too old. Only 28 percent said that neither is too old for another four years in the White House.
When asked if Biden “has the mental sharpness it takes to serve effectively as president,” only 32 percent said they believe he does, while 63 percent said they do not. Of those who said he does not, 94 percent were Republicans, 69 percent were independents and 21 percent were Democrats.
Biden has repeatedly pushed back against criticism of his age. “I feel good,” he said at a Rose Garden press conference late last month. “And I feel excited about the prospects, and I think we’re on the verge of really turning the corner in a way we haven’t in a long time.”
The poll also showed Biden lagging behind Trump, the current front-runner to be the GOP nominee, in a head-to-head match-up. If Biden and Trump were the candidates, 38 percent said they would definitely or probably vote for the president, compared to 44 percent who would definitely or probably back Trump.
And Biden fell behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a head-to-head matchup, nabbing 37 percent to DeSantis’ 42 percent. DeSantis has not yet entered the presidential race, though he is widely expected to.
One specific issue where voters prefer Trump to Biden: the economy. When pitted against his 2020 presidential rival on handling the economy, Trump boasted higher approval than Biden, with 54 percent saying they viewed his handling of the economy more favorably, and just 36 percent saying Biden has done the better job.
Trump came out on top when pitted against other Republican presidential hopefuls. But the poll also heralded some bad news for the former president, who is currently facing down felony charges and multiple on-going investigations.
Fifty-six percent said Trump should face criminal charges related to investigations into whether he tried to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election, including 90 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents and 16 percent of Republicans.
Fifty-four percent said he should face charges over his handling of classified documents, including 86 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans; and 54 percent said he should be charged for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, including 91 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents and 16 percent of Republicans.
The poll, which was conducted by phone from April 28 to May 3, included responses from 1,006 adults across the country, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Of those adults, 900 were registered voters, 396 said they leaned Democratic and 438 said they leaned Republican.