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America 2023


This new poll is full of information suggesting that the vast majority of Americans are either unaware that the Republican party is now a fully authoritarian anti-democratic cult of personality, or approve of that development.

Some highlights:

There is no clear leader in a potential rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump, who is widely ahead in the GOP primary. And nearly half of registered voters (46%) say that any Republican presidential nominee would be a better choice than Biden in 2024. . . .

Views of Biden’s performance in office and on where the country stands are deeply negative in the new poll. His job approval rating stands at just 39%, and 58% say that his policies have made economic conditions in the US worse, up 8 points since last fall. Seventy percent say things in the country are going badly, a persistent negativity that has held for much of Biden’s time in office, and 51% say government should be doing more to solve the nation’s problems.

Perceptions of Biden personally are also broadly negative, with 58% saying they have an unfavorable impression of him. Fewer than half of Americans, 45%, say that Biden cares about people like them, with only 33% describing him as someone they’re proud to have as president. A smaller share of the public than ever now says that Biden inspires confidence (28%, down 7 percentage points from March) or that he has the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president (26%, down 6 points from March), with those declines driven largely by Democrats and independents. . .

A broad 67% majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now say it’s very or extremely likely that Biden will again be the party’s presidential nominee, up from 55% who felt that way in May. But 67% also say the party should nominate someone other than Biden – up from 54% in March, though still below the high of 75% who said they were seeking an alternative last summer.

That remains largely a show of discontent with Biden rather than support for any particular rival, with an 82% majority of those who’d prefer to see someone different saying that they don’t have any specific alternative in mind. Just 1%, respectively, name either of his two most prominent declared challengers, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. or Marianne Williamson. . . .

As of now, Republican and Republican-leaning voters are more deeply driven to vote in 2024 (71% extremely motivated) than Democratic-aligned voters (61% extremely motivated).

The unhappiness about Biden among Democrats seems largely driven by concerns about his age. Those concerns are legitimate of course, but Biden is going to be the Democratic candidate, and the alternative is going to be to vote for Donald Trump, so being concerned about Biden’s age seems pointless, pragmatically speaking. That poll after poll shows the public as a whole does not at this time lean one way or another in regard to that choice is just an extremely dispiriting development.

Here’s the evolution of the Savvy Takes on the emergence of Donald Trump as a force in American politics:

Stage One: It’s not actually happening. This is a publicity stunt that’s not going anywhere. (June 2015-January 2016).

Stage Two: OK he may get the GOP nomination but of course he can’t win the general election, don’t be ridiculous (January 2016-November 8 2016).

Stage Three: WTF?

Stage Four: Sure he seems like a total clown with strong authoritarian tendencies, but that’s really just a made for TV act, plus guardrails, our institutions etc. November 2016-summer/fall 2017. (“This is the day Donald Trump became president.”)

Stage Five: Yes this is a disaster, but the public will overwhelmingly reject him in 2020 now that it’s clear that Trump is what he’s always appeared to be. (Late 2017-summer 2020).

Stage Six: Wait, this election is going to be close?

Stage Seven: (Biden wins by 17 votes in four states). THE SYSTEM WORKS

Stage Eight: Of course Donald Trump is going to leave the White House without a fuss, don’t be absurd.

Etc.etc. etc.

So here we are, eight years later, and it’s still happening, and the overwhelming majority of the American public either hasn’t noticed it’s happening, or has, and approves.

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