There’s a whiff of “LBJ vs. McCarthy” to this poll, in the sense that badly underperforming in New Hampshire is a strong hint to a failed president that he’s better off not seeking reelection.
Granted, the 2020 New Hampshire primary was Biden’s single worst showing of the election and that didn’t stop him from winning the presidency. He landed in fifth place in that race with just 8.4 percent, taking roughly a third as many votes as winner Bernie Sanders and second-place Buttigieg. Granite State Democrats don’t like Sleepy Joe for whatever reason, although they did like him enough to turn out for him on Election Day 2020 against Trump.
And of course, New Hampshire is a very white state, unrepresentative of the national Democratic electorate. Buttigieg did brisk business there and in Iowa, another heavily white state, in 2020 and then fell off a cliff once the primaries moved south. Biden underperforming up north doesn’t mean he’s vulnerable in a national primary.
Still, comparing candidate Joe Biden in 2020 to President Joe Biden in 2024 is apples and oranges as a successful president would be leading this survey by a prohibitive margin. The fact that Biden can’t do better than 16 percent against his own transportation secretary is another warning to the White House that the party is ready for change. Two weeks ago, a NYT poll of national Democratic voters found just 26 percent want to see Biden renominated. In today’s New Hampshire poll, that share is only slightly higher.
Overall New Hampshire voters split 20/74(!) on whether he should run again. That 23-point drop among Dems between June and July is astounding but it lines up with liberal rage over the end of Roe. Increasingly the Dobbs ruling appears to have triggered a “dam break” on the left in voicing frustrations about Biden that they’d bottled up as his job approval declined over the past year. Scapegoating him for the end of constitutional abortion rights is silly as a matter of logic but understandable inasmuch as Dobbs is an exclamation point among Dems for the feeling that things have gotten worse in America under Biden rather than better.
Here’s the 2024 split in New Hampshire. If you think these numbers are discouraging for President Joe, check out how Vice President Kamala does:
When NH Dems were asked who their second choice is, Cory Booker was the surprise leader at 14 percent followed by Buttigieg at 13. Harris was the second choice of just four percent, giving her a combined first choice/second choice haul of 10 percent while Biden was the second choice of just two percent. This isn’t a Trump/DeSantis situation, in other words, in which each guy is the second choice of the other guy’s fan base. New Hampshire Democrats want little to do with either of their party’s candidates who were on the ballot in 2020.
This same poll finds Biden rocking a -71 net favorable rating among New Hampshire independents, meanwhile. A solid political rule of thumb: If you’re 70 points underwater among a swing constituency in a swing state, you should carefully consider retirement.
No Democrat in Washington will dare say publicly that Joe should ride off into the sunset, not wanting to weaken him in case he insists on moving ahead with one last run and ends up facing Trump. But potential replacements are quietly maneuvering behind the scenes just in case. Harris and Gavin Newsom are reaching out to rich liberal donors in order to feel them out ahead of the next election cycle. And Elizabeth Warren recently decided to publicly call out a member of the Biden administration for not doing more to ease Americans’ suffering during hard times. Guess which member.
In a letter obtained first by CNN, the Massachusetts Democrat, along with California Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla, urges Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to use his vast powers to protect consumers by cracking down on the airline industry. The lawmakers want the Transportation Department to “aggressively” use its authority to hold airlines accountable for surging prices, mounting cancellations and growing delays…
Warren and Padilla urged the Transportation Department to hold airlines accountable for canceling flights, “whether due to their own poor operations and staffing practices or through intentional schemes to offer flights they know they can’t staff in order to later cancel the least-profitable flights.” They note that 41% of flights are delayed for reasons within airlines’ control and called on the agency to issue a rule that imposes fines on airlines for the delays they cause.
“Consistently delaying flights for reasons within an airline’s control is an unfair and deceptive practice,” the joint letter states.
Who’s Alex Padilla again? Oh, right: He replaced Kamala Harris in the Senate thanks to an appointment from — ta da — Gavin Newsom. Now here he is hassling 2024 hopeful Buttigieg along with another 2024 hopeful, Warren.
Speaking of Newsom, I was surprised to see him finish first by a comfortable margin in Turning Point USA’s straw poll of which Democrat would be toughest to beat in 2024. Newsom more than doubled up the second-place finisher, Michelle Obama, with 30.3 percent. Biden took a mere 4.4 percent. I’m not sure I agree that the governor of the country’s most liberal state, which distinguished itself by the length of its lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, is more formidable than an incumbent president who got the most votes in American history in 2020. But it’s a testament to how badly the past year (and advanced age) have damaged Biden that so many righties seem to think so and a testament to their grudging respect for Newsom as a capable warrior for his own side. I think some Republicans appreciate a “he fights” attitude in the opposition even when it’s at their own expense.