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A Majority of Voters Backing Biden Are Mostly Motivated by Stopping Trump — Poll

Only 27 percent of voters who plan to vote for Biden in the 2024 election say they genuinely like him as a candidate.

President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up at the conclusion of a campaign rally at Girard College on May 29, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Newly published polling data demonstrates a problem for President Joe Biden as he attempts to win reelection to the White House: Most voters who back him are only doing so in order to prevent his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, from serving another term.

The CBS News/YouGov poll released this week shows that most voters have already made up their minds on who they’re going to vote for, with 93 percent of Biden supporters saying they definitely or probably won’t change their preference and 96 percent of Trump backers saying the same. That leaves little room for courting would-be voters for both candidates, making voter turnout a critical part of their strategies.

Trump’s supporters are generally enthusiastic about the far right candidate, with 52 percent of those planning to vote for him saying it’s because they genuinely like him. While that means that close to one in two Trump voters aren’t necessarily thrilled with voting for him, the news is worse for Biden, as only 27 percent of his backers say they plan to vote for him because they like him.

About one in five Biden voters (19 percent) say they’re supporting him simply because he’s the likely Democratic nominee for president. Meanwhile, a whopping 54 percent of Biden’s voters say they’re supporting him merely because they want to oppose Trump.

This lack of voter enthusiasm could prove to be a problem for Biden, making it difficult to motivate large groups of voters in the bloc of support he benefited from in his 2020 win over Trump.

Some polling data has suggested that negative news for Trump, including his conviction in the Manhattan-based trial regarding his illegal hush money payments, may benefit Biden. Indeed, in an aggregate of polling data compiled by FiveThirtyEight, Trump’s average lead over Biden in the polls is currently around 1 point, whereas it was 1.7 points the day the verdict was read, suggesting a slight shift is happening — albeit one within the margin of error.

But the fact that Trump still appears to be ahead in the polls demonstrates the need for Biden to make this election about more than about keeping Trump out of office, several Democratic strategists have said.

“The president has got to go out there and tell people, ‘I know you’re suffering, but we’re making progress, and we will continue to make progress if I have a second term,’” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon told The Hill in an interview about the issues facing Biden. “They haven’t made much progress on this [messaging] and the clock is ticking.”

“Until they admit inflation is a serious problem and that they needed to do more, it doesn’t matter what they say…The average voter will call bullshit,” another strategist told the publication.

Polling elsewhere shows that Biden would attain better numbers if he tried to appeal to younger voters, as he did in 2020. Many of these voters are upset with the Biden administration over its continued material support for Israel’s genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza, which has displaced nearly 2 million and killed more than 37,000 Palestinians so far. In an NBC News poll from late last year, 70 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 said they disapproved of Biden’s handling of Israel’s war on Palestinians.

More recent polling also indicates that young voters are not excited about taking part in the election this fall. Among 18-29 year olds surveyed in an Economist/YouGov poll last week, only 23 percent said they were “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting, the lowest rate among all age groups in the poll. More than half of those in that age bracket (56 percent) said they were not too enthusiastic or enthusiastic at all about voting, the highest rate among all age groups.

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