Americans aren’t excited about the prospect of another matchup between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
An NBC News poll released this week found 70% of U.S. adults don’t think Biden should run and 60% said they don’t think Trump should. When asked what emotion best described the prospect of a Biden-Trump rematch, a 44% plurality of registered voters told Yahoo News/YouGov pollsters “exhaustion.”
The year 2020 is one few would like to relive, but at least in presidential politics, the rematch feels like it’s becoming more of an inevitability. The only candidates to challenge Biden for the Democratic nomination are author and perennial candidate Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine activist and the nephew of John F. Kennedy. Despite Americans’ exhausted outlook, there are not at the moment any competitive alternatives.
At 80 years old, Biden is the oldest sitting president and 48% of those who don’t want him to run again told pollsters for NBC News age was a major reason why. When it comes to his age, Biden said voters can judge themselves “whether I have it or don’t have it.”
“With regard to age, I can’t even say I guess how old I am, I can’t even say the number. It doesn’t register with me,” he told reporters Wednesday at a Rose Garden press conference.
Trump’s current Republican opponents are former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramswamy, radio host and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder and Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, who formally kicked off his campaign at a rally Wednesday in Bentonville.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are also considering bids.
Trump and his allies have focused their intra-party attacks on DeSantis, his next closest rival. New TV ads from the Trump campaign and MAGA Inc., a Trump-aligned super PAC, criticize the Florida governor for being disloyal and “just another politician.”
The FiveThirtyEight primary poll average shows Trump with 51% support and DeSantis with 24%. No other current or potential Republican candidate is close to cracking double digits. While Trump leads DeSantis, a Wall Street Journal poll found DeSantis is stronger against Biden in a general election matchup.
Trump took a swipe at Biden in a video message after his announcement, saying, “You could take the five worst presidents in American history and put them together and they would not have done the damage Joe Biden has done to our nation in just a few short years.”
If Biden and Trump face each other again, many voters won’t be excited, but that doesn’t mean some of them won’t grudgingly make it out to vote. CNN’s 2020 exit poll found 68% of Biden voters said their vote was a vote against his opponent, while 53% of Trump voters said their vote was a vote for their candidate. If Trump’s on the ballot again, many voters will turn out for and against him.
The last time a losing presidential candidate attempted a rematch was Democrat Adlai Stevenson, who took on Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 and lost both times. Stevenson lost by an even larger margin the second time.