- President Joe Biden has won the backing of most major Democratic officials as he seeks reelection.
- But in a recent AP-NORC Center poll, 55% of Democratic voters said they didn’t want Biden to run.
- William Owen, a DNC member, told The New York Times he was puzzled by voter fixation on Biden’s age.
National Democratic leaders are virtually all lined up behind President Joe Biden’s 2024 reelection bid.
But Democratic voters are a different story.
While party voters lined up behind Biden in 2020 and are poised to do so again, they have some misgivings about the president, who is 80 years old and would be 82 at the start of a potential second term in 2025.
In an August survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 69% of Democrats indicated that Biden would be too old to be effective for another term. And while 55% of Democrats indicated that they didn’t want to see the president run again, 82% said they’d likely support him should he emerge as the 2024 nominee.
Still, the numbers show that Biden is struggling to rally his base around his campaign.
William Owen, a Democratic National Committee member from Tennessee, told The New York Times that he’s befuddled by the president’s continued inability to win over a large share of the party’s voters.
“I’m looking at all the polling, and I’m amazed that it has so little to do with reality,” Owen recently told the newspaper. “A big part of it is just pure ageism. The American people are prejudiced against old people.”
Owen, a former state lawmaker who represented a Knoxville-area district, told The Times that Democratic voters repeatedly ask him about the president’s health.
The Biden campaign, which has largely dismissed the age-related talk as an issue driven by news reports, insists that the president would have plenty of time to make an effective case for why he should be reelected next year.
“President Biden is delivering results, his agenda is popular with the American people and we are mobilizing our winning coalition of voters well ahead of next year’s general election,” campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz told The Times. “Next year’s election will be a stark choice between President Biden and the extreme, unpopular MAGA agenda.”
But Lt. Gov. Austin Davis of Pennsylvania has publicly said that making the election a referendum on Trump and Trumpism wouldn’t be sufficient in boosting Democratic voter enthusiasm ahead of what is predicted to be a close race. Davis, the first Black lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania history, said that the administration would have to be vigilant about promoting its policies and accomplishments in the lead-up to the election, especially with Black voters.
“Everyone is kind of exhausted by the fight between Biden and Trump,” Davis told The Times. “People really want to hear leaders talk about how they’re going to improve the lives of their families.”