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Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks on the state of the US economy on September 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Why Democrats Face Concerns Over Biden’s Polling

The political spotlight shifts to Nevada this week as the state hosts both Democratic and Republican nominating contests. While former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley suffered a setback in the nonbinding GOP primary, President Joe Biden secured an easy win in the Democratic primary. However, former President Donald Trump is anticipated to breeze through the GOP caucuses on Thursday.

Despite Nevada’s history of closely contested general elections, recent polls from the Silver State show Trump leading Biden. This trend reflects a broader nationwide pattern, with Biden trailing consistently—a situation unprecedented for a likely Democratic presidential nominee since 2004.

Recent polls, including those by NBC News, CNN/SSRS, and Reuters/Ipsos, consistently show Trump with a 4- or 5-point lead among registered voters. Even when considering occasional findings favoring Biden, such as a Quinnipiac University poll, Trump maintains a steady lead over the past six months. If these trends persist, Biden could face challenges across states representing over 270 Electoral College votes, enough to lose in a general election.

This marks a departure from previous election cycles, where Biden consistently led Trump. Notably, Biden never trailed Trump in any national poll during the 2020 campaign. In contrast, Trump briefly led in the 2016 average, and George W. Bush was the last Republican incumbent to maintain a consistent lead over his Democratic opponent in 2004.

Biden’s struggles stem from his low popularity among the general electorate, reflected in his stagnant approval ratings hovering around 40% for over two years—the lowest for any elected president at this point in their term. As Election Day approaches, Biden’s poor approval ratings could have significant implications for the outcome, especially considering historical correlations between current and election-time ratings.

While lesser-known candidates typically see fluctuations in popularity leading up to the general election, Trump’s enduring name recognition poses a challenge for Biden to sway voters through attack ads. Additionally, recent Gallup polling indicates a decline in Democratic identification among adults, further complicating Biden’s prospects.

While Biden remains within striking distance of Trump in the polls, his persistent unpopularity raises concerns for Democrats. With nearly nine months until the fall election, Trump’s legal challenges and Biden’s ongoing struggles underscore the uncertainty surrounding the race. Nonetheless, the historical precedent suggests that incumbents trailing at this stage face an uphill battle, highlighting the uphill battle for Biden’s campaign.

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