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Biden's Negative Momentum Among Key Demographics Spells Trouble for Reelection

If Biden is the Democratic Party's candidate, the incumbency does not work to his advantage, and he faces significant headwinds.

Photo: Tim Evanson, Flickr
  • President Biden shows significant vulnerability in five critical demographic groups based on the TIPP Presidential Leadership Index
  • Our analysis categorizes 21 vulnerable demographic groups into three levels of negative momentum: significant, considerable, and moderate

One year before the 2024 election, President Biden faces challenges among several demographic groups. Using our TIPP Presidential Leadership Index, we identify 21 demographic segments where Biden is vulnerable. Our analysis reveals that his greatest vulnerability lies in the Midwest, among individuals aged 18-24, moderates, households with incomes under $30K, and households in the $50K-$75K bracket.

Presidential Leadership Index

Two decades ago, TIPP developed the Presidential Leadership Index, an innovative metric considering favorability, job approval, and Presidential Leadership.

We compute the favorability component based on the survey question, "Overall, is your opinion of the President generally favorable, generally unfavorable, or are you not familiar enough to say one way or the other?"

The basis for the index's job approval component is the question: "In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as President, or are you not familiar enough to say one way or the other?"

The question, "How would you describe the leadership that Joe Biden is providing for the country?" forms the basis for the leadership component.

The Presidential Leadership Index is the average of its three components. For the index and its components, a reading above 50.0 signals optimism, and below 50.0 indicates pessimism.

Negative Momentum

We define negative momentum as follows. First, for each demographic, we compute four averages of the Presidential Leadership Index:

  • 34-month average for Biden's presidency (February 2021 to November 2023)
  • 12-month average (Dec 2023 to November 2023)
  • 6-month average (June 2023 to November 2023)
  • 3-month average (September 2023 to November 2023)

Negative momentum is defined as a decrease in the three-month average compared to the 34-month average.

To ensure a clear indication of negative momentum and to err on the conservative side, we want to see gradual degradation over the period—a stair-step pattern where the 34-month average is greater than the 12-month average, the 12-month average is greater than the six-month average, and the six-month average is greater than the three-month average.

Take, for example, Biden’s overall approval:

  • 48.7 = 34-month average for Biden's presidency (February 2021 to November 2023)
  • 45.1 = 12-month average (Dec 2023 to November 2023)
  • 42.2 = 6-month average (June 2023 to November 2023)
  • 42.1 = 3-month average (September 2023 to November 2023)

Notice that the data follows a staircase pattern. The 12-month average of 45.1 is less than the 34-month long-term average of 48.7. Furthermore, the most recent six-month average of 42.2 is lower than the 12-month average of 45.1, indicating that Americans viewed Biden’s leadership less favorably in the past six months than in the past 12 months. Additionally, his recent three-month average of 42.1 falls slightly below the six-month average of 42.2.

We compute negative momentum as the percentage decline from the 34-month long-term average of 48.7 to his most recent three-month average of 42.1, representing a 13.6% decline.

We performed the analysis for 36 demographic groups. Twenty-one of the 36 followed the staircase pattern. The chart below shows the 21 groups sorted from high to low by negative momentum score. (Please note that if you don’t see a group you may be interested in among the 21, it is because it failed the staircase pattern.)

Based on the negative momentum scores, we grouped the demographic categories into three groups:

  • Significant negative momentum (score 20% or more)
  • Considerable negative momentum (score in the 15% to 20% range)
  • Moderate negative momentum (score in the 10% to 15% bracket)

Significant Negative Momentum

President Biden faces significant negative momentum among five groups:

  • Midwest region
  • Age 18-24 group
  • Moderates
  • $50K-$75K households
  • Under $30K households

With the negative momentum in the Midwest, Biden will face a tough battle in the critical Midwestern battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin. We recently highlighted the younger age group in our editorial: 18-24-Year-Olds Could Swing 2024 To Trump. Biden shifted to the far left ideologically to appease the progressive wing of his party, which comes at a cost with moderates. Middle-income ($50K-$75K) and low-income (under $30K) Americans have faced a 17% Bidenflation amid Biden's promotion of Bidenomics and the misnomer Inflation Reduction Act.

Considerable Negative Momentum

President Biden faces considerable negative momentum among the following 11 demographic groups. They all follow the staircase pattern; the negative momentum score between 15% to 20%.

  • White men
  • Married women
  • Non-investors
  • Rural
  • Female
  • White
  • West
  • Single women
  • Ind./Other
  • Black
  • Some College

Moderate Negative Momentum

President Biden faces moderate negative momentum among the following five demographic groups. They follow the staircase pattern; the negative momentum score is 10% to 15%. The five groups are:

  • Suburban
  • Age 45-64
  • $30K-$50K households
  • White women
  • Age 65+

State Of The Race

In the I&I/TIPP Poll, Biden led by two points within the poll’s margin of error, as noted in the RealClearPolitics dashboard below. Notice that November 10 is a turning point. In ten polls conducted since November 10, Trump consistently leads Biden.

If Biden is the Democratic party's candidate, the incumbency does not work to his advantage, and he faces significant headwinds. As we recently noted, while Democrats hold an edge on the abortion issue, other issues and concerns like immigration, inflation, and foreign policy are likely to erode that advantage.

Our performance in 2020 for accuracy as rated by Washington Post:

Source: Washington Post
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