Can President Biden, like some past presidents with low approval ratings, turn things around and win the 2024 election?
After securing a decisive victory in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 3, President Joe Biden has turned his focus to the 2024 presidential race. Yet he confronts a slew of tough challenges, including record-low approval ratings, an unresolved border issue, and a substantial affordability crisis in the country, which suggest that he has a bigger hill to climb.
Only Jimmy Carter performed worse among prior presidents in the Gallup polling era, with an average of 37.4 percent in his third year.
While some presidents have experienced significant improvements in their fourth year, securing a second term, the question remains whether President Biden can improve his lackluster approval ratings and emerge victorious in the 2024 race.
Numerous polls have also shown that President Biden trails former President Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup.
According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, the president trails the Republican front-runner in five of the six key battleground states. The results show President Biden losing to Donald Trump by 0.2 to 7.2 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. In Pennsylvania, he maintains a lead of 0.3 percentage points.
However, some Democrats are confident about President Biden’s chances of winning the 2024 election, disregarding these surveys. They say the “red wave” predicted by polls in the 2022 midterm elections never materialized.
Similarly, despite pessimistic polls, they point out that Democrats exceeded expectations in November 2023 in several races across the country. In the traditionally Republican stronghold of Ohio, for example, the state’s young Democratic voters played a significant role in voting to protect the right to abortion and approve the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.
Affordability Crisis Looms Over Biden
Although President Biden faces challenges in boosting his approval ratings, economic indicators remain healthy, leaving many perplexed. The jobless rate remains low, the economy is growing strong, and major stock indexes—Dow Jones and S&P 500—have recently hit record highs.
The U.S. economy added 353,000 new jobs in January, nearly doubling economists’ forecasts and reflecting a solid labor market.
“The last guy had the worst jobs record since the Great Depression,” President Biden said on Feb. 3 in a post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. “Our record is a little different.”
Yet many Americans are still unhappy, which shows the stark disparity between macroeconomic data and the financial realities experienced by individuals and households.
The annual inflation rate has significantly dropped since June 2022, but prices for many basic goods are still roughly 20 percent higher than when President Biden took office. As mortgage rates and housing costs remain high, an increasing number of young Americans are abandoning their dream of homeownership.
Austin Clauhs, 28, a resident of Charleston, South Carolina, is one of them.
“If you’re my age, in your 20s, it’s hard to buy a house, obviously,” he told The Epoch Times.
Mr. Clauhs says his parents have opposing political views. His mother, a Democrat from New Jersey, strongly opposes the former president, while his father, a Republican from North Carolina, supports President Trump. Mr. Clauhs finds himself in the middle.
Nonetheless, he thinks he will likely vote for President Biden in November.
“I don’t really want to vote the other way,” he said, describing himself as “moderate.”
Steve Traher, a 69-year-old Democrat from Boston, criticized President Biden for not giving sufficient attention to the most pressing issues facing the nation.
“Yes, inflation may be coming down, but people can’t afford the rent; they can’t afford living,” Mr. Traher told The Epoch Times.
The critical issues currently affecting Americans include immigration, the border crisis, and affordability, he noted.
“President Biden and the Democratic Party in general are looking at abortion as their ticket to winning. I’m sorry, but it’s not,” Mr. Traher said.
Primary Puts Black Voter Enthusiasm to Test
Following his decisive victory in South Carolina, President Biden issued a statement recalling how the state breathed new life into his campaign in 2020 and propelled him toward the path of winning the presidency.
“Now, in 2024, the people of South Carolina have spoken again, and I have no doubt that you have set us on the path to winning the presidency again—and making Donald Trump a loser—again,” President Biden said.
In his recent trips to South Carolina over the past month, President Biden made a concerted effort to connect with black voters. These efforts seem to have borne fruit, as there is a clear surge in enthusiasm among black voters in the South Carolina primary, according to the Biden campaign.
Black voters accounted for about 76 percent of the early vote, marking a significant jump from 56 percent in the 2020 primary electorate, according to Michael Tyler, Biden–Harris 2024 communications director.
“Black voters turned out in South Carolina because they understand that Joe Biden has kept his promises,” Mr. Tyler told CNN on Feb. 3.
Border Bill Standoff
However, unexpected news from Washington dimmed President Biden’s South Carolina victory. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced on Feb. 3 his intention to move forward with a standalone bill for Israel funding, thus distancing himself from the Senate’s bipartisan bill that will link border security measures to aid for Ukraine and Israel.
The White House called Mr. Johnson’s move a “cynical political maneuver.”
“We strongly oppose this ploy,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement in response, noting that it fails to secure the border, offer support to Ukraine, and provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians.
“House Republicans should instead work in a bipartisan way, like the administration and Senate are doing, on these pressing national security issues.”
The president last week vowed to use expanded authority to shut down the southern border should Congress approve the bipartisan bill anticipated from the Senate. He blamed House Republicans for blocking the deal.
But Mr. Johnson warned that any border deal permitting even a single illegal crossing would be a “non-starter.”
Illegal immigration has eclipsed inflation as the country’s most pressing issue. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there have been more than 8.5 million illegal crossings nationwide since President Biden took office.
Recent polls reveal that President Biden has the lowest approval rating on the issue of immigration. Some pundits blame the president for delaying the problem for too long. They caution that if this issue persists without resolution, it may present a considerable challenge for the president in the upcoming election.
Billionaire Elon Musk, with more than 170 million followers on his social media platform X, has recently begun sharing his thoughts on the border crisis, criticizing the incumbent president.
In one of his posts, he said, “Biden’s strategy is very simple: 1. Get as many illegals in the country as possible. 2. Legalize them to create a permanent majority—a one-party state.
“That is why they are encouraging so much illegal immigration. Simple, yet effective.”
Mr. Musk also commented on the effect of rising illegal immigration on housing costs, stating in another post, “If you’re wondering why housing is so expensive, this is a major contributor.”