President Joe Biden Can’t Dig Himself Out of the Hole He’s Dug for Himself

This was supposed to be the unimaginable.

After his 2020 election loss to now-President Joe Biden, after the January 6 incident and its following allegations, after all manner of legal troubles and four felony indictments, after years of surveys of Americans that show vast swathes of them dislike former President Donald Trump, and after feuds with several leading Republicans including Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley that haven’t healed, with seven months to go to Election day — polls consistently show Trump with a lead over Biden.

How did the president mess this up so terribly?

The latest poll by the Wall Street Journal shows Trump leading Biden by 2 to 8 points in each of the six main battleground states—North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia—and trailing behind the president only in Wisconsin, in which they are tied in a head-to-head battle.

In RealClearPolitics poll averages, the story is very similar. Trump leads President Biden by less than a point in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and by three points or more significantly in the five other big battlegrounds.

In states with a clear leader in the polls, Trump leads Biden 219-214 in the Electoral College.
If every lead is counted, no matter how thin the margin, Donald Trump wins by an uneven 312-226, the most substantial Electoral College margin since Barack Obama in 2012.

It isn’t over yet

This would also mean Trump will carry eight states where Democrats are defending a seat in the Senate in November while losing states where Republicans are defending only one. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer cannot be happy about that prospect.

While it’s too early for former President Trump to start celebrating.

The polling industry has struggled to consistently forecast elections as fewer Americans answer their phones or own landlines.

Many of Donald Trump’s leads are modest.

The Journal conducted the poll on March 17-24, and since then, the national election has been slightly more favorable toward Biden.

Significant numbers of voters, particularly independents, say they remain undecided.
It’s also notable that it is early enough for the campaigns—which typically kick into gear after Labor Day—to have an impact.

Democrats are likely to continue to hold onto their significant fundraising edge, which means they will have more funds for getting out the vote and for ads.

The Israel-Hamas war could be over by November, which would help heal cracks in Joe Biden’s voting base. Trump could be convicted in a trial between now and election day.

The race could also be utterly upended if Biden, 81, or Trump, who will be 78 in June, were to have a severe health issue.

But if you were working in one of the campaigns, I’d rather be where Trump is than Biden.

Trump wasn’t in a position this strong in either 2016 or 2020.

At this point in 2020, Biden led by four points in Michigan, three in Wisconsin, and two in Pennsylvania.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton led by 10 points in Wisconsin and Michigan, nine in Pennsylvania, and two in North Carolina—yet she lost all four states.

How much of Biden’s current position is his fault?

The president’s job approval rating is still hovering at just above 40%, far below where Trump’s was in 2020 while the nation was locked down in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only 28% of respondents told the Journal Biden has the physical and mental fitness to perform the job, consistent with other pollsters’ findings.

Voters are unsatisfied with the border, the global situation, and the economy and increasingly recall that Trump did a significantly better job.

Trump hasn’t changed his positions or done anything different — he just seems like a better alternative.

Democratic base is sagging

The president’s support is sagging badly among Hispanic and black voters, and younger people have tuned out.

So have those who consider themselves faithful. A February poll by Marquette found that President Biden trailed former President Donald Trump by 12 points among Catholics, 15 among Protestants, and 25 among churchgoers who attend weekly.

In Michigan, Emerson College found Trump to lead Biden by one to three points — depending on how many additional candidates are included — however, Democrat Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer would be five points ahead of Trump.

That is Joe’s fault.

However, Biden refuses to change his message or his course: The economy is good, and Trump is a threat to democracy and abortion.

The campaign tactics helped Democrats avoid what could have been a much greater loss in 2022, but they still lost the national popular vote in races in the House—and a repeat of that would have meant a second term for President Trump.

But after decades in politics, Biden is too set in his ways—and he won’t change them.