Democrats are reeling from a new Wall Street Journal poll released Sept. 2 that shows Donald Trump and Joe Biden in a virtual dead heat should a 2024 presidential match-up occur. The astonishment was evident on ABC’s self-described “pre-eminent” Sunday-morning political discussion program, This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
As former and current Democratic operatives gathered around the table, chewing the fat on national television about the upcoming presidential race, host Stephanopoulos couldn’t contain himself. “It is kind of shocking in a way,” he stammered, “that despite all the baggage Donald Trump carries, he’s tied with Joe Biden right now.”
But the real question is: Why is this so outrageous?
The RealClear Politics average has the two men only 0.7% apart. A YouGov poll shows Trump up one point, Morning Consult has Biden up one point, Emerson has Trump up two, and Messenger has Biden up one. Essentially, another race between the establishment party heavyweights looks like a seesaw.
Biden Seems Trapped by Poll
There’s more to worry about for Democrats regarding the WSJ survey. When Green Party candidate Cornel West is added to the mix, Trump predictably is strengthened. Again, this is nothing new. Three polls conducted in August with the trio – two by Emerson and one by WSJ – show Trump beating Biden by five points, one point, and one point, respectively. West’s radical left credentials are so solid, his support can come from only one place: Joe Biden.
And this before the No Labels party begins to take another bite of the Biden apple when it chooses a moderate candidate. Washington whispers tag Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as the most likely to head that ticket. It isn’t difficult to see why politicos appear unified that a Manchin candidacy will hurt Biden and thus help Trump at the ballot box.
So, with West on the far left and a potential Manchin tacking center, the current president would face attacks on two flanks. Unless the Never-Trumpers on the right can find a candidate to go up against the former president, he will be in a more favorable position going head-to-head against Biden.
The WSJ poll does reveal an opening for someone to fill: Some 17% of respondents claim to be undecided. That number could be reduced should Trump find a wingman acceptable to the ambivalent crowd. As for Biden, there’s no talk of replacing current running mate and VP Kamala Harris, so he won’t get a bump there.
The newspaper survey, conducted jointly by Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio and Democratic pollster Michael Bocian, also foreshadows a lackluster Republican primary race. The numbers disclose Gov. Ron DeSantis has 13%, which is a fallback by the Florida governor of 11% from when The Journal ran a springtime poll.
Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley exceeded expectations at the GOP debate, but WSJ reported, “[T]hose impressions so far haven’t turned into significant ballot support.” Meanwhile, “Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who has cast himself as an affable warrior for conservative causes, has made little headway after three months of campaigning, drawing 2% support.”
Of course, these are early days, and the race is still volatile, especially when one considers all the legal troubles closing in on Trump during the primaries that are likely to extend into the general election season. But – any way you turn this political Rubik’s Cube – it’s shaping up to be a Biden v. Trump rematch. Considering his man is being threatened from both the right and left, it’s no wonder Stephanopoulos is rendered shocked and stammering.
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