A new poll has placed former President Donald Trump as the favorite to win the 2024 U.S. election, slightly edging Democratic incumbent Joe Biden.
A national Emerson College Poll found that if the two men were to go head-to-head in 2024, Trump would be slightly favored with 47 percent against Biden's 46 percent.
Biden has split job approval among registered voters, the poll found. It said that around 47 percent disapprove and 46 percent approve of the work he is doing as president. The other 7 percent were undecided.
Of the Democrats polled, 60 percent said they would see Biden as the 2024 presidential nominee, while 39 percent said they would rather it be someone else.
Of the Republican voters polled, 67 percent said they would vote for Trump in a hypothetical GOP primary with seven other candidates, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (the only candidate to reach double-digit support at 10 percent when the former president is in the race) , former Vice President Mike Pence, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former South Carolina Governor and ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
When placed head-to-head in a hypothetical 2024 presidential race, Biden is favorite to win against all of the other Republican challengers, including DeSantis.
With regards to the 2022 midterms, the poll found that 71 percent of Democrats and 69 of Republicans said they were very likely to vote in the contest.
When Emerson last conducted the poll in February, Biden's approval rating was 49 percent while disapproval was at 39 percent, with 12 percent on the fence.
Many moderate Republicans switched allegiances in last year's election and backed Joe Biden because they could not abide four more years of Donald Trump.
These voters, who swung from backing Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020, helped make the difference for Biden in places where the margins were close — often, the suburbs.
So today, about eight months into Biden's presidency, how do these voters view him?
In a pair of virtual focus groups NPR observed last week, featuring more than a dozen such voters from key states, a picture emerged of disappointment with Biden — but no regrets that they helped send Trump packing after one term.
Handling of Afghanistan hurt Biden's credibility Let's start with the disappointment.
Polls show Biden's public approval ratings have taken a hit in recent months. The voters in these focus groups reflected that slide.
They were worried about the spread of the delta variant and how COVID-19 continues to hurt the economy. They were wary of Democrats' big spending plans on infrastructure and other programs, alarmed by the troubles they see along the Texas border, and were very disturbed by the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"What happened in Afghanistan, to me, was the worst thing that's happened since Saigon." That reference to the 1975 U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam came from Paul, who lives in central Pennsylvania. (We agreed to identify focus group participants by first name only.)
He didn't buy Biden's explanation that Trump set the exit in motion by committing to a withdrawal of troops in a deal with the Taliban last year.
"He didn't have to stick to the timeframe Trump set up," Paul asserted, "but he kept sticking to it and sticking to it, and a lot of people died and a lot of people were left behind. So I think that was squarely on him."
Still, perhaps unlike the pandemic and the economy, Afghanistan may fade from the news over time and, as such, may not affect long-term impressions of Biden as much.
And on the coronavirus, the focus group participants — all vaccinated — mostly gave Biden solid marks. It's clear he benefits from comparisons to his predecessor on that.
"He's definitely been better than Trump on handling COVID," said Xaveria from the Atlanta area. But she also said the fact that the delta variant is creating such problems means you still can't feel really great about how the current administration is doing regarding the pandemic.