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EDITORIAL: Democrats fret as the bad news mounts for Biden

A week is an eternity in politics, let alone a year. Yet that hasn’t stopped Democrats from entering panic mode over a new poll showing widespread voter dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden.

The New York Times on Sunday revealed the results of a survey it conducted with Siena College of six battleground states — including Nevada — in the 2024 presidential election. The numbers were stunning, to say the least.

The findings show Mr. Biden losing to Donald Trump in five of the states — Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada — by at least four points. The president faces a 10-point deficit in Nevada. In Wisconsin, Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump by 2 points.

Mr. Biden carried all six states in 2020.

Of particular note, the survey found that “the multiracial and multigenerational coalition that elected Mr. Biden is fraying,” according to the Times. “Demographic groups that backed Mr. Biden by landslide margins in 2020 are now far more closely contested, as two-thirds of the electorate sees the country moving in the wrong direction.”

In fact, the “more diverse the swing state, the farther Mr. Biden was behind, and he led only in the whitest of the six.”

Mr. Trump has huge negatives and remains unliked among a significant portion of the electorate. But Mr. Biden, the poll showed, is also “deeply — and similarly — unpopular.”

The explanation for this appears to be rooted primarily in the James Carville adage, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Voters across all income levels, the survey found, “felt that Mr. Biden’s policies had hurt them personally, while they credited Mr. Trump’s policies for helping them.” By a 59-37 margin, voters trusted Mr. Trump as a better steward of the economy than Mr. Biden.

The president’s age — he turns 81 this month — is also a major concern. Seventy-one percent of respondents said Mr. Biden was too old to be an effective leader, “an opinion shared across every demographic and geographic group in the poll.”

There’s plenty of time for the president to make up ground, of course. Democrats bucked similar doomsday predictions in the 2022 midterms and did better than expected, in large part thanks to their emphasis on abortion. Perhaps a similar scenario plays out in the coming year.

Yet the game plan guiding Democrats over the past two years has been that a visibly declining president who presided over 9 percent inflation, $5 a gallon gasoline, an explosion in the national debt and chaos on the border would waltz to re-election as long as the GOP nominee was the baggage-laden Mr. Trump. As the Times poll reveals, that strategy could be more wishful thinking than political reality.

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