Over half of Dems say Biden should drop out after debate, poll finds


More than half of Democrats say President Joe Biden should end his reelection campaign because of his catastrophic debate performance, though he remains tied with former President Donald Trump, according to a Washington Post/ABC News/Ipsos poll released Thursday.

Fifty-six percent of Democrats and 67 percent of all Americans believe Biden should withdraw “given his performance in the debate,” the poll found. Both Biden and Trump receive 46 percent support among all registered voters, nearly unchanged from the last edition of the poll in April. And a record-high 85 percent of Americans say Biden is too old for a second term — up from April, along with a new high of 60 percent saying the same of Trump.

The latest findings come as Biden and his campaign, plunged into crisis after the June debate, are pressed to make the empirical case that the president can still win against Trump. Biden has insisted he is staying in the race — making his case on the campaign trail, through media appearances and in a letter to Hill Democrats — but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of Democratic lawmakers and donors calling on him to step aside.

While Biden’s approval rating is unchanged and his personal favorability is better than Trump’s, there are plenty of data points in the survey unlikely to assuage panicked elected Democrats, whose support for the president is teetering.

Fifty percent of Americans said they think less favorably of Biden because of the debate, and there’s damage to his perceived mental and physical fitness: Trump has opened a 30-percentage point lead over Biden on mental sharpness and a 31-percentage point lead on physical health, both up from April.

Biden still benefits from over a third of Americans saying he is more honest and trustworthy, better represents their personal values and better understands their problems compared with Trump. But even those traditionally strong figures for Biden are lower than they were four years ago.

Biden’s coalition is also fractured over the future of the race if he steps aside. Seventy percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they’d be satisfied if Vice President Kamala Harris became the nominee, including 85 percent of Black Democrats. But only 29 percent named her as the ideal replacement in an open-ended question, a plurality. Harris still has a wide lead over the next highest contender, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who polled at 7 percent.

The Washington Post/ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted online July 5-9, surveying 2,431 American adults with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.



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