Deep, Deep Trouble for Biden in Harvard/Harris Poll

Not all news in the polling world is bad for Biden. 

But most of it is, as in the new Harvard-Harris poll released today. The top-line of the poll isn’t encouraging, but the “internals” of the poll are simply devastating. It’s pretty clear that if voters felt better about the alternatives to Biden the president would be toast in this election. 


Most interesting of all is the fact that voters are largely discounting Donald Trump’s legal troubles, with his poll numbers not budging much even were he to get convicted. Whether that is because people think the legal attacks are illegitimate or because they have been around so long that they have been factored in, voters don’t seem inclined to change their opinion about who they will vote for. 

It’s pretty clear why that is: most voters don’t think the country is on the right track, and they have no confidence that Biden is up to the job. They see him as old, mentally spent, focused on the wrong issues, and possibly corrupt. 

That’s a pretty toxic combination. Biden may be doing reasonably well in the average of polls, but man, I wouldn’t want to have these numbers if I were he. 

A majority of voters don’t think Biden is mentally fit for office, is way too old to do the job, and they also think the problem is getting worse. 

Opinions about this aren’t going to change for the better, either, because Biden isn’t going to get younger or more articulate. Reversing an impression this strong and more importantly enduring–he has been president 3 years, so you can’t “reintroduce” him–is an impossibility. Convincing people to vote for Biden requires convincing them that electing a mentally unfit president is a good idea. 


It’s not just that Biden’s mental state is getting worse, but close to a majority of voters think he is a bad president whose performance is getting worse. Only Democrats express any confidence in Biden as a group, and that is, I suspect, because voters think Biden’s issue foci are wrong. 

It’s a rare thing to have voters focus on something other than the economy, but nearly half the country think that Biden has failed on immigration–and his second-worst issue is leadership at home and abroad. Both of these rank higher than inflation as among Biden’s failures. 

Immigration and inflation are the top issues for people, so they see Biden as failing at these issues. Not good if you are a Biden fan. 

The immigration issue is just crushing Biden–which should be particularly troubling given that immigration is an issue on which Donald Trump has banked is political career essentially forever. When 3/4 of the country agree with Donald Trump on the biggest issue of the day, that suggests that come the election Biden will have a bad day. 

This gets us to attitudes about Trump, the most interesting one being the voters’ thoughts on his legal troubles. While there is no overwhelming consensus on the issue, clear majorities believe (rightly) that the Democrats are pursuing him for political reasons. 

Independents are split on the issue, but the majority (by 8 points) believe that Trump is being persecuted. 

Trump IS being persecuted, of course, so this is not a shocker. Whether you love or hate the guy, everybody knows that the Democrats are using every legal trick in the book to destroy him. The big difference is whether you approve or disapprove of that. 


Perhaps this is the most devastating result for Biden: 56% think that Trump will shake things up for the better. Unfortunately, they also think his rhetoric is getting worse, although the opinion on that is evenly split. It makes you wonder if Trump would be better off being a bit more measured in his rhetoric. 

Good luck with that. 

Trump’s lead in March has reduced a bit, although I have no explanation for why except that perceptions of the economy have slightly improved. He retains a significant lead in a 3-way race, and an even bigger one if Jill Stein and Cornell West are on the ballot. With the exception of Kennedy Jr., though, you would expect support for Stein and West to fade a bit in the closing days of the race. 

Perhaps not, though, as there is genuine discord among Democrats and even Biden’s base doubts his ability to govern. 

As always, you should exercise a lot of caution when reading the polls. They are better at giving you a sense of the “vibes” than of the eventual results, although a few numbers matter a lot. The biggest being perceptions about Biden’s age and mental acuity. 

Those matter so much because Biden can’t do anything to change them, while most other issues have at least some room to move. 

Biden can’t get any younger or more vital, and he clearly has serious mental acuity problems. None of those gaslighting monologues from sycophants will move the needle a micrometer when voters can see before their eyes that Biden is spent. 


Does this mean a Trump victory? Of course not. Especially given how important political machines have become in national elections, and how little confidence we can have in the system. Yet another example popped up this morning to give you the warm and fuzzies.

Oh joy. 



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