President Biden is reportedly set to announce his reelection campaign early next week, but many Americans express exhaustion over the prospect of a 2024 rematch between Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. The survey of 1,530 U.S. adults, conducted from April 14 to 17, found that 38% chose exhaustion out of eight emotions when considering another Biden-Trump campaign. Among registered voters, the number was even higher at 44%. No other sentiment managed to break the 30% mark among all Americans.
A Biden-Trump rematch would be the first general election for president since 1892 to feature the incumbent and his defeated predecessor competing as major-party nominees. Moreover, it would be the first White House race in U.S. history in which one candidate is facing indictment and possible criminal prosecution for conspiring to overturn his prior loss. Such factors naturally trigger fatigue and anxiety among voters.
However, voters are not as pessimistic about a Biden-Trump sequel as they were a few months ago. In December, a nearly a third of them (32%) told Yahoo News and YouGov that “if Joe Biden and Donald Trump run against each other for president again in 2024,” the result would be either “the worst thing that could happen” (15%) or “mostly bad” (17%); only 23% said it would be “mostly good” (11%) or “the best thing that could happen” (12%). Now, a negative view accounts for 29%, while 26% express a positive view. About 3 in 10 continue to say it’s “a mix of good and bad.” Positive views have increased since December among both Republicans (33%, up from 30%) and Democrats (24%, up from 17%).
In contrast, Republicans express hope (+20), excitement (+10), and pride (+5) at higher rates than Democrats. Much of the liberal aversion to another Biden-Trump contest likely reflects the former president’s staggering unpopularity among Democrats, with a full 68% of them expressing “very unfavourable” opinions of him. Yet Democrats’ overall negativity also underscores their unease about Biden. While they overwhelmingly approve (80%) of his performance in office, anxiety about Biden’s status as the oldest president in U.S. history—80 years old—seems to dampen confidence in his candidacy.
Republicans are more likely to see a rematch positively than negatively, while Democrats are more likely to see a rematch negatively than positively. Exhaustion, for example, is more prevalent among Democrats (44%) than Republicans (26%) by an 18 percentage-point margin, and fear (+12 for Democrats), sadness (+15), and anger (+9) are more common on the left as well.
Asked in June 2020 how concerned they were “about Joe Biden’s health and mental acuity,” just 28% of Democrats said they were either somewhat (10%) or very concerned (18%); the other 72% said they were either slightly (28%) or not at all concerned (44%). Over two and a half years later, however, the combined percentage of somewhat or very concerned Democrats has risen to about 40%, while the combined percentage who were slightly or not at all concerned has fallen by the same amount, to about 60%, according to a late February Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Overall, nearly 7 in 10 voters (68%) said in February that Biden would be “too old for another term,” with more Democrats agreeing (48%) than disagreeing (34%).
Despite Biden’s approval rating remaining below 50% among all Americans, it is now at its highest level (44%) since September 2021 (up from about 40% for much of 2022). His approval rating on the economy (at 40%) is now 4 points higher than it was in early February, while his approval rating on inflation (36%) increased by 5 points over the same period. And he performs three or four points better on each of those measures among registered voters.
Biden’s approval numbers are still lower than the White House would like them to be, but current trend lines favor the president over his recently indicted predecessor. In a general election matchup, Biden now leads Trump by a four-point margin (46% to 42%) among registered voters, up from a two-point lead the previous month.
In conclusion, Americans express exhaustion over the prospect of a 2024 rematch between Biden and Trump, but they are not as pessimistic as they were a few months ago. While some Republicans hope for a rematch, some Democrats feel anxious about Biden’s age and health. Biden’s approval rating on the economy and inflation has improved, and he enjoys a four-point lead over Trump in a general election matchup among registered voters.