It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in the Swamp when things began to get interesting. Just after noon EDT, an ABC News/Washington Post poll made landfall, and the swamp creatures began to scurry as the eye of the storm settled over the nation’s capital. The top line – as they say in the poll business – shows former President Donald Trump up by ten points* in a head-to-head matchup with Joe Biden. While this headline may have shocked those at the Democratic National Headquarters, more alarming news is found in the crosstabs.
ABC Poll Cliff Notes
Mr. Biden’s net approval rating crested at 37% with troubling demographics: Only 32% of men approved of Biden, 32% of whites, and 35% of Hispanics. The bad news for Biden doesn’t stop there, as ABC News reported: “A record number of Americans say they’ve become worse off under his presidency, three-quarters say he’s too old for another term, and Donald Trump is looking better in retrospect – all severe challenges for Biden in his reelection campaign ahead.”
Conversely, when asked about Donald Trump’s term in office, the former president registered a net approval rating of 48%. Mr. Trump’s demographics are quite revealing as well. Whites approved of his performance 52%, and – wait for it – Hispanics by 45%. That’s 10% more Hispanics who chose Trump over Biden. In the non-white category, the current president came out ahead, but only 3% separated them – 42% for Biden and 39% for Trump.
Just 30% of survey participants approved of Mr. Biden’s handling of the economy, but worse still, only 23% agree with his handling of immigration at the US–Mexican border. Regarding goods and services, the Biden Administration’s numbers were downright dismal: a net positive of 12% for gas and energy and down into the single digits (8%) for those who describe food prices as good.
Sixty percent of those surveyed believe that Joe Biden legitimately won the presidency in 2020, but another net 29% feel he did not. Regarding America’s most recent foreign military entanglement, the poll shows Americans think the US is doing too much regarding Ukraine.
Regarding Mr. Trump’s numerous indictments, 53% said he’s being held accountable under the law like anyone else, while 40% feel he’s been “unfairly victimized” by his political opponents. And only 30% approved of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Lastly, 74% agree that Joe Biden is too old to be re-elected; 50% said the same about Trump.
Why the ABC Poll Is Making Headlines
It’s just another poll, some might say with a yawn. It’s too early for a national survey to be accurate, others may contend. But if one looks at this survey’s timing and demographics, a few nuggets of information come to light. First, the poll’s sponsors are likely seeking bottom-line information about the current president. While there’s still time (but no time to waste), they want to know if Biden should be given the heave-ho in favor of someone who would be a more formidable challenger to Trump.
Second, Biden may have been on the top lines, but this poll is all about Donald Trump. The real question is who can beat the former president, and if Biden can’t do it, then the Democrats had better get busy vetting other prospects.
Finally, it’s crucial to look at the sample. Just over 1,000 likely voters responded to the survey. Partisan divisions are said to be “25-25-42%, Democrats-Republicans-independents,” according to ABC. However, a closer look at the crosstabs shows that 75% of respondents voted for Joe Biden in 2020, and 3% voted for Trump. This slant is confirmed by the leftist-weighted socio-cultural answers regarding abortion and the Trump indictment, among others. The poll is also conducted by two organizations with solid, left-leaning bona fides. It alerts the Democratic Party that if its goal is to defeat Donald Trump, Joe Biden may not be the man to do it.
*ABC News reported a nine-point spread in the Trump-Biden matchup, 51-42