President Joe Biden received a startling anti-endorsement from a former Obama administration official on Sunday following the release of polling data that suggests he is currently losing to former President Donald Trump in five out of six key battleground state matchups.
David Axelrod, who served as chief strategist for both of former President Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaigns (in which Biden was Obama’s vice presidential running mate) and as an adviser for Obama in the White House, penned several posts on X examining data from a New York Times/Siena College poll that was published over the weekend.
His conclusion from the numbers: Biden should drop out of the 2024 presidential race.
While Axelrod recognized that it’s “very late to change horses” just one year out from Election Day 2024 and that “a lot will happen in the next year that no one can predict,” he suggested that the poll’s findings made it clear that Biden’s age will harm his chances in what will likely be a very close race with Trump.
Although Biden has defied conventional wisdom before, Axelrod said, the latest polling data should send “tremors of doubt thru the party — not ‘bed-wetting,’ but legitimate concern.”
“The greatest concern is that his biggest liability is the one thing he can’t change. Among all the unpredictables there is one thing that is sure: the age arrow only points in one direction,” Axelrod said.
While there “also is risk associated with changing course” for Democrats, there is “a lot of leadership talent in the Democratic Party, poised to emerge” as viable presidential candidates, the former Obama administration official said.
Axelrod expressed admiration for the current president, saying:
[Biden] is justly proud of his accomplishments. Trump is a dangerous, unhinged demagogue whose brazen disdain for the rules, norms, laws and institutions or democracy should be disqualifying. But the stakes of miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore.
“Only @JoeBiden can make this decision,” Axelrod added. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?”
The New York Times/Siena College poll demonstrated that Biden was losing to Trump in five states — Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan — while just barely beating Trump in Wisconsin. Biden narrowly won all six states in his successful presidential run against Trump in 2020.
The poll did have some positive points for Biden — he fared extremely well against Trump on the issue of abortion, for example, which is set to be a top-tier issue in the 2024 race, as Trump’s Supreme Court appointments were instrumental in the unpopular dismantling of abortion rights in the U.S.
Notably, the poll also showed that, if Trump is convicted in any of the criminal indictment trials he’s scheduled to face next year, Biden would win all six states that were surveyed by exceptional margins. That portion of the poll also suggests that Trump’s incendiary and bigoted statements could harm him once the 2024 presidential election season begins.
It’s clear, however, that a majority of Americans want neither Biden nor Trump to be president. In fact, numbers from an Economist/YouGov survey published last week show that 61 percent of Americans don’t want Biden to run again, while 58 percent said the same about Trump.
Between the two candidates, Biden fares just slightly better nationally in that poll, attaining 39 percent support versus Trump’s 38 percent — well within the margin of error, making the race a statistical tie at the moment. Eight percent of respondents indicated that they’d vote for someone else if those were the two major parties’ nominees, while 4 percent said they weren’t sure who they would vote for and 11 percent said they wouldn’t vote at all, given Biden and Trump as the main options.
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