Although the US presidential election is still more than two years away, opinion polling centers are already competing in providing polls that report on the popularity of potential candidates for the 47th president of the United States. Weakening support for the incumbent US President Joe Biden encourages more and more Americans to focus on the political future of their country. Consequently, it is worth taking a look at the list of politicians who may run in 2024 presidential primaries on both sides of the political fence.
Currently, Democrat Joe Biden sits in the White House. Almost from the beginning of his presidency, his support among the American public is dropping dramatically. In January 2022, the incumbent president’s approval rating reached a new record low. According to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll, only 33% of Americans support Joe Biden, USA Today reports.[i] This is the lowest approval rating during his presidency. The poll, conducted between January 7 and 10, 2022, indicated that 33% of surveyed adults approve of Biden’s job performance, while 53% do not. Ten percent expressed no opinion. It is worth comparing these results with the approval of the previous Democratic President – Barack Obama. In the corresponding moment, i.e., a year into his first term in the office, his job approval rating reached 51%.[ii] Thus, it is not surprising that Americans are beginning to wonder who might take over after Joe Biden’s term ends. Since there are a number of potential candidates, it is worth taking a look at the polls that show the early contenders from both political parties.
The most frequently mentioned candidate in the upcoming 2024 Democratic Party presidential primaries among the Democratic Party voters is the incumbent president. According to a McLaughlin & Associates poll[iii] conducted between January 13 and 18, 2022, Joe Biden has the support of 25% of the declared Democratic Party voters. This is the highest score of all, but it remains far a strong support. The second highest score in the same poll was achieved, quite unexpectedly, by Michelle Obama (17%), while the third one by Kamala Harris (8%). Marginal support for other Democratic politicians, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, or Stacey Abrams, as well as 13% of undecided voters show that the Democratic electorate cannot pick a front-runner. The political leadership crisis in the Democratic Party seems to be severe.
The situation on the other side of the political fence is certainly much livelier. The degree of support for the leading politicians of the Republican Party in view of the upcoming 2024 presidential election was yet again assessed by McLaughlin & Associates. The survey,[iv] conducted between January 13 and 18, 2022, shows clear support of the Republican electorate for the former President Donald Trump. His approval rating reached 53% among the surveyed Republican Party voters. Such result suggests that Trump may be serious about fighting for the Party’s nomination again, prior to the 2024 presidential election. The second highest score was achieved by Ron DeSantis, who is gaining popularity. The Governor of Florida has the approval rating of 13% among the Republicans, but other polls suggest his support could be as high as 19%.[v] In the McLaughlin & Associates poll, third place and 9% support belongs to former Vice President Mike Pence. About 8% of Republican voters remain undecided. The poll listed also Nikki Haley, Larry Hogan, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, and Tim Scott, however, none of these politicians surpassed the 5% threshold of support of the Republican electorate.
Looking at the first approval polls for potential candidates in the 2024 presidential primaries, it is important to note a crisis in the leadership of the Democratic Party. Among the politicians who publicly declared their intention to run in the presidential primaries, Joe Biden achieved the highest score. However, the support of 25% of his own electorate and 33% of all voters does not translate into his clear leadership in the Democratic Party. Rather, these statistics suggest that the Democratic electorate currently lacks an undisputed leader who could successfully fight for the White House in the fall of 2024. Moreover, there are clear worldview divisions among the Party members. Despite the fact that the core of the Party is center-left (this group is represented by Joe Biden), the voice of some extreme left-wing politicians is also being heard in the Party. They include, for instance, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the leader of the socialist branch of the Democratic Party – Bernie Sanders, who, despite declaring his withdrawal from the fight for the nomination in 2024, still has double-digit support in some polls. A representative of the center-right wing – Joe Manchin, has also contributed to the divisions in the party. His actions are effectively blocking legislative proposals of his party colleagues in the Senate. The Democratic Party is still looking for a leader and its own identity, which may effectively limit their chances in the upcoming election.
On the other hand, in the Republican Party, there is a clear indication of Donald Trump as the leader and the Party’s frontrunner for the presidential primaries. Currently, Trump has the highest support among the Republican voters, which can be seen not only in the polls, but also at rallies held by the former president. At the recent rally in Texas, Trump said that he contemplates running in 2024 and declared that he would also consider pardoning those charged in connection with the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol if he wins the White House again. The 2020 “stolen election” rhetoric is the key aspect that builds Donald Trump’s political support among Republican voters. An NPR/Ipsos poll[vi] shows that 64% of Americans believe that American democracy is “in crisis and at risk of failing.” This position is clearly voiced by Republicans – two-thirds of GOP voters agree with the claim that “voter fraud helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election.” Radical rhetoric is thus what drives Donald Trump’s popularity among Republicans. The strong standing of the former US president goes hand in hand with the increasing importance of Ron DeSantis, likewise radical in his actions related to the fight against COVID-19, with whom Trump maintains a close relationship. Members of the Party already speculate about combining the two major candidates of the Republican Party into a single team that would win the support of the majority of voters. In such a case, Trump would run for president and DeSantis for vice president. The Republican Party is growing stronger ahead of both the 2022 and 2024 elections.
Jan Hernik is a journalist and publicist who gained experience in Polish independent Internet media broadcasts. In his career, he participated in the creation of projects related to domestic policy and geopolitics. Hernik has an experience in working as a TV presenter and editor of a news portal. At the Warsaw Institute, he is the editor-in-chief and expert in the field of the United States.
Hernik is a graduate of the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw. He specializes in the theory of religion, race and ethnicity for political choice in the U.S presidential elections. His research interests also include the colonial era of the United States, the right to bear arms and the American liberal thought.
This article was written as part of the statutory activities of the Polish think tank Warsaw Institute. If you appreciate the content prepared by our partner, we appeal to you for financial support for this non-profit organisation.
[ii]https://news.gallup.com/poll/116479/barack-obama-presidential-job-approval.aspx (accessed February 1, 2022)
[iii]https://mclaughlinonline.com/pols/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/National-Release-January-2022.pdf (accessed February 1, 2022)
[iv]https://mclaughlinonline.com/pols/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/National-Release-January-2022.pdf (accessed February 1, 2022)
[vi]https://www.npr.org/2022/01/03/1069764164/american-democracy-poll-jan-6?t=1642496007978 (accessed February 2, 2022)