Washington, January 1: US President Joe Biden is at risk of losing the young Black-Hispanic vote bank in his run to retain the presidency in 2024 over his faltering stance on the Israel war in Gaza as one in five Black voters say they will support a 3rd party candidate and Palestinians express disappointment for his not halting the conflict.
Biden's failure to consolidate his victorious 2020 support from Black and Hispanic voters has left him narrowly trailing his predecessor Donald Trump in many states, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, revealed. An alarming weakness has crept in among stalwarts of the Democratic base, with Trump leading among Hispanic voters and young people. One in 5 Black voters now says they'll support a third-party candidate in November. The odds are that the candidate is Robert Kennedy Jr, grandnephew of John F. Kennedy. US Presidential Election 2024: Blow to President Joe Biden As Poll Shows Donald Trump in Lead, Reveals Survey.
So the votes aren't going to Trump, but going away from Biden, increasing the gap with Trump. In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, Biden's failure to consolidate support in key parts of the coalition that elected him in 2020 has left him narrowly trailing Trump, the likely Republican nominee, 39 per cent to 37 per cent, while 17 per cent support an unnamed third-party candidate.
When seven candidates are specified by name, Trump's lead inches up to 3 percentage points, 37 per cent-34 per cent, with independent Kennedy Jr. at the top of the third-party candidates at 10 per cent. The findings underscore the formidable political task the President faces this year to win a second term, media reports said. "I think he's done a reasonably sound job, but it's not been a 'wow' administration," said Michelle Derr, 55, a Democrat who plans to vote for Biden. 'Baseless Political Stunt', Says US President Joe Biden After House Approves Impeachment Inquiry Against Him.
The small-business owner from Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb just outside Washington, was among those surveyed. "For me, it's disappointing that we have two old white guys in this race again. I want to look forward to the future."
Biden now claims the support of just 63 per cent of Black voters, a sharp decline from the 87 per cent he carried in 2020, according to the Roper Center. He trails among Hispanic voters by 5 percentage points, 39 per cent-34 per cent; in 2020, he had swamped Trump among that demographic group 2 to 1, 65 per cent -32 per cent.
And among voters under 35, a generation largely at odds with the GOP on issues such as abortion access and climate change, Trump now leads 37 per cent-33 per cent. Younger voters overwhelmingly backed Biden in 2020.
The possible good news for the President is that much of the support he needs to rebuild has drifted to third-party candidates, not into the camp of his likely opponent. Twenty per cent of Hispanic and Black voters, and 21 per cent of young voters, now say they'll back someone other than the two main contenders.
Trump has the support of 12 per cent of Black voters, precisely the percentage he received in 2020. "Although Trump hasn't grown support among Black voters, he has closed the deficit because third-party voters come off of Biden's support among Blacks," said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk's Political Research Center. "A young voter or a person of color voting 'third party' is a vote away from President Biden, and a vote away from President Biden is a vote for Donald Trump."
There is more potentially good news for Biden: Views of the economy are brightening. Now 29 per cent say the economy is in recovery, a jump of 8 percentage points since the survey in late October. In the wake of positive reports on employment, inflation and the stock market, that's the highest level since August 2021.
Biden's running mate in 2020, and Vice President Kamala Harris' standing now lags among Black voters, young ones. On the Democratic side, Biden faces no significant challenge for the nomination. In the poll, 74 per cent of likely Democratic primary voters support him. Nine per cent back inspirational author Marianne Williamson and 2 per cent Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips; 15 per cent are undecided.
The President's problems loom in November, with the erosion of his coalition in the general election. The Biden team has dispatched Vice President Harris as a natural emissary to university campuses, including some historically Black colleges. She is the first Black and Asian-American to serve as Vice P:resident, and at age 59, she is a generation younger than Biden, who is 81.
Harris's connection to very wealthy families in New York (Steve Jobs' wife and oil billionaire Paul Getty's family), has drawn donations to the party as also swinging the young Black and Hispanic voters in Biden's favour in 2020. But the demographics are now fast changing.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 01, 2024 11:59 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).