Partisans vs. the Rule of Law

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a meeting with his science and technology advisers at the White House on April 4, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.)


Biden is running for reelection. Duh. And he’s a stronger incumbent than his poll numbers suggest. Right now, he’s got a 10-point deficit—43 percent approve of the job he is doing and 53 percent don’t. That’s a tick better than he was doing on the eve of the 2022 midterms. And it’s catastrophically worse than he was doing in the few months after his inauguration, when 54 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved. 

Why do I think he’s stronger than he looks? Check out those head-to-head polling numbers with Trump and DeSantis. Sure, conventional wisdom is that DeSantis is a stronger challenger than Trump. I agree with that. Yet the polls don’t entirely bear that out. 

If that were obviously true, we’d expect to see two important things: 

1) In polling between Biden and DeSantis, we should see lower numbers for both because DeSantis is less well known, leaving more people undecided. We do see that—barely. Take the most recent Echelon Poll. Biden 47-Trump 44 and then Biden 45-DeSantis 42. The number of undecided respondents rose by only 4 percentage points when DeSantis was introduced.

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