Black, Hispanic, and Young Voters Drift Away from Biden's Coalition
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Black, Hispanic, and Young Voters Drift Away from Biden’s Coalition

President Joe Biden is entering the election year with concerning weaknesses among crucial elements of the Democratic base. Donald Trump is currently leading among Hispanic voters and young people, while one in five Black voters expresses the intention to support a third-party candidate in the upcoming November election.

According to a recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, Biden’s struggle to consolidate support within key segments of the coalition that propelled him to victory in 2020 has resulted in a narrow trailing position against Trump, the likely Republican nominee, with a margin of 39% to 37%.

Additionally, 17% of respondents indicated support for an unnamed third-party candidate.

When respondents were provided with the names of seven specific candidates, Trump’s lead extended to 3 percentage points at 37% to 34%, with independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. emerging as the top choice among third-party candidates, securing 10% support.

These findings highlight the considerable political challenge that President Biden faces this year as he endeavors to secure a second term in office.

Michelle Derr, 55, Democrat who intends to support Biden, said, “I think he’s done reasonably sound job, but it’s not been ‘wow’ administration.”

small-business owner from suburb of Washington, D.C., named Alexandria, Virginia, was one of the respondents. “For me, it’s disappointing that we have two old white guys in this race again. I want to look forward to the future.”

Biden’s current backing among Black voters has seen a significant drop, now standing at 63%, a sharp decline from the 87% he secured in 2020, as reported by the Roper Center. His support among Hispanic voters is also slipping, trailing by 5 percentage points at 39%-34%. In contrast, in the previous election, Biden dominated this demographic with a 2-to-1 advantage, leading 65%-32% against Trump.

Among voters under 35, a group that largely disagrees with the GOP on issues like abortion access and climate change, Trump has taken the lead with 37% compared to Biden’s 33%. This is a shift from the overwhelming support that younger voters gave Biden in 2020.

A potential silver lining for the president is that much of the support he needs to regain has moved towards third-party candidates rather than shifting to his likely opponent. Approximately 20% of Hispanic and Black voters, along with 21% of young voters, express their intention to back someone outside the main contenders.

Trump’s support among Black voters remains at 12%, the same percentage as in 2020. David Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center, notes that while Trump hasn’t increased support among Black voters, he has narrowed the gap due to third-party voters coming from Biden’s support in this demographic.

The survey, conducted among 1,000 likely voters via landline and cellphone from Tuesday through Friday, carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

There is potentially positive news for Biden in the form of improving perceptions of the economy. The survey reveals that 29% now believe the economy is in recovery, marking an 8-percentage point increase since late October and the highest level since August 2021.

Despite these economic improvements, the sunnier outlook has yet to translate into higher support for the president. Biden faces the challenge of not only increasing overall support but also boosting voter enthusiasm to ensure turnout in the upcoming November elections.

In terms of enthusiasm, 44% of Trump supporters rate their commitment as a perfect “10” on the thermometer, while only 18% of Biden supporters describe themselves at the highest level of enthusiasm.

Despite Trump’s legal challenges, including two federal and two state court trials, his political support appears unscathed. Legal issues range from attempting to overturn a legitimate election to mishandling sensitive documents after leaving the White House in 2021.

Although he’s appealing decisions to be removed from primary ballots in Colorado and Maine based on a constitutional bar for officeholders involved in insurrection, these legal troubles have yet to impact his political standing.

Kamala Harris’s Popularity is Lower Among Younger and Black Voters

On the Democratic side, Biden is not encountering any significant challenge for the nomination. According to the polls, 74% of likely Democratic primary voters are supporting him. Marianne Williamson, an inspirational author, has the backing of 9%, while Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips has 2% support. Fifteen percent of voters remain undecided.

The president’s challenges become apparent in November, as his coalition faces erosion in the general election.

To address these issues, the Biden team has deployed Vice President Kamala Harris, a natural emissary, to university campuses, including some historically Black colleges.

Harris, the first Black and Asian-American to serve as vice president and at 59, a generation younger than the 81-year-old Biden, faces difficulties within the Democratic base, as reflected in lower job approval ratings.

Among Black voters, her approval is at 56%, compared to Biden’s 68%. Additionally, she lags behind Biden among voters younger than 35, with approval at 27% compared to Biden’s 32%.

Overall, Biden’s job approval rating stands at 39% approve and 58% disapprove, with 43% strongly disapproving and 13% strongly approving.

Harris’ job approval rating is 33% approve and 57% disapprove, with 40% strongly disapproving and 7% strongly approving.

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With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.