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Opinion Columnists

This Side of the Story

Dissatisfaction with Biden grows as Donald Trump's popularity holds steady

Latest polling data raises eyebrows as Biden confronts challenges in battleground states



Watch Nidhi Razdan: Will it be Biden vs Trump in US Presidential elections?
Video Credit: Gulf News

With less than a year remaining until the US Presidential election, President Joe Biden is intensifying his public criticism of Donald Trump. Last week, Biden stated that part of his motivation for seeking a second term is to prevent Trump’s return to the White House.

“If Trump weren’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running. But we cannot let him win,” Mr. Biden emphasised. These comments come at a time when several polls indicate a dead heat between the two in a hypothetical runoff if the election were held today, with some polls showing Mr. Trump surpassing Mr. Biden in the numbers.

Some analysts suggest, ironically, that Biden may be the reason for Trump’s potential comeback.

Polling data compiled in the last week of November from 11 sources by FiveThirtyEight reported that 39.1% of voters had a favourable opinion of Biden, while 42.1% favoured Trump. Similarly, Joe Biden’s unfavourable ratings are at 54.7%, compared to Donald Trump’s 53.2%.

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The 81-year-old incumbent is also facing the lowest approval ratings at this stage of his presidency compared to as many as 12 of his predecessors spanning the last 80 years.

Age is a key factor working against Biden at the moment (he will be 82 if elected), coupled with dissatisfaction over the state of the economy and his handling of the Israel-Gaza war, particularly among voters between the ages of 18 and 34, causing concern within the Democratic Party.

Furthermore, a recent New York Times/Siena poll showed Biden trailing Trump in five out of six battleground states. Trump’s popularity remains high despite facing a series of criminal cases, with a trial scheduled for next year.

Trump 2.0?

Despite all this, Trump has not ruled out abusing power if he returns to the White House. During a recent Fox News event, when asked about abusing power, Trump replied, “Except for day one, I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

For this reason, President Biden and his campaign team have openly named and called out Trump in recent weeks, highlighting the contrast between the two and warning people about the potential dangers and instability of having him back as Commander in Chief.

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Some analysts suggest, ironically, that Biden may be the reason for Trump’s potential comeback

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Many in the Democratic Party believe this strategy could help Biden ward off much of the criticism he faces on other issues, essentially reminding people why Trump was considered the bad guy.

In a recent NPR interview, Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, stated that party volunteers are working to convince voters who are not normally Democratic supporters about the risks of having Trump back in the White House.

However, Donald Trump won’t be easy to dismiss. He has played up Mr. Biden’s age, suggesting that the President would not “make it physically” through the campaign, and that his mental state was even worse than his physical one.

Nevertheless, there is a significant caveat: 11 months is not just a long time but an eternity in politics, so President Biden’s low poll numbers could very well change. President Obama went through a similar experience.

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In the end, Americans have to decide whether they want to bring back a leader who was deeply divisive, controversial, and even dangerous. They may have survived Trump once, but it’s hard to predict the havoc he might wreak in a second term.

Nidhi Razdan
Nidhi Razdan is an award-winning journalist. She has extensively reported on politics and diplomacy.
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