President Biden has officially announced his reelection campaign for president. In many ways this announcement has been expected all along, but in other ways it is unprecedented. Let’s talk about Joe Biden’s reelection bid by the numbers.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s averages Biden has a net -10 approval rating, which means more Americans disapprove of his performance as president than approve. While that’s not great news for him, his standing isn’t all that different from other presidents at this point in their tenures. It’s comparable to former Presidents Trump, Obama, Clinton and Reagan, though it’s well below where both Bush Sr. and Jr. stood.
When it comes to individual issues, Americans give Biden lower approval ratings on his handling of things like immigration, the economy and gun policy than they do his overall job performance. They rate him better on issues like national security and environmental policy.
As far as the economy is concerned, Biden is currently presiding over a 50-year low in unemployment, at 3.5 percent. He also presided over a multi-decade high in inflation, which has come down but is still at 5 percent.
Even with middling approval ratings, it’s usually expected that a first-term president will run for reelection. In fact, the last time a president chose not to was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. Nonetheless, prior to Biden’s announcement, a significant majority of Americans said they didn’t think he should make a second run, including 51 percent of Democrats. Of those people, half said his age was a major reason. Biden is already the oldest president in American history at 80. Were he to win reelection, he would be 86 at the conclusion of his second term.
So far, Biden has faced only marginal competition in the Democratic primary and it appears unlikely a mainstream challenger will emerge. That’s probably because there are advantages to running as an incumbent. Out of the 45 presidents prior to Biden, only 11 lost reelection, the most recent being Trump and before that George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Only time will tell how these numbers will fit into the overall equation for Biden in the 2024 presidential election. For now, the campaign begins in earnest for America’s first president from Delaware and second Catholic president ever.