Five Numbers to Watch Ahead of Biden’s Re-Election Announcement
President Biden is expected to announce the launch of his re-election campaign this week via video. Biden faces no serious challenge in the primaries, so all eyes will focus on the general election race in the fall of 2024.
Although the election is more than a year and half out—and any number of social, economic, or geopolitical developments could occur to alter the political landscape—here are 5 key indicators to monitor to assess Biden’s position as the incumbent:
35 percent. According to Gallup tracking, just over one third of political independents approve of the job Biden is doing as president—down from 61 percent approval at the start of his tenure. With nearly 9 in 10 Democrats approving of the president, and less than 5 percent of Republicans, the opinions of the all-critical independent bloc will matter tremendously in 2024. This is not good territory for Biden and he needs to improve with independents to avoid a loss.
5 percent. The overall inflation rate in the most recent data is 5 percent—marking a continued and welcome decline from the 7 to 9 percent highs in the past year. But concerns about inflation outrank nearly every issue in American life today for voters. If price pressures for basic goods and services continue to hamper family budgets, expect voters to take it out on the incumbent regardless of how chaotic Republicans may be on the matter.
236,000. Total nonfarm employment rose by 236,000 last month, marking a continued good run of job creation under Biden with a stable unemployment rate of 3.5 percent for most of the past year. However, as economists and other analysts debate the potential for a “hard landing” from combined efforts to wring inflation out of the economy through higher interest rates and possible spending cuts, keep an eye on overall employment figures—and in key battleground states in the upper Midwest and Southwest, in particular.
$1 billion. Then-candidate Joe Biden raised more than $1 billion in his successful 2020 run against Trump. With the cost of campaigns escalating year after year, Biden will need to raise at least this much, and probably more, to be competitive against a highly energized and well-funded opposition candidate in Trump again or someone else.
80. President Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history at 80 years. He is more than twice as old as the median American at 38 years. Nearly 7 in 10 voters say that Biden is “too old for another term” according to recent data from Yahoo News/YouGov. Watch to see how Biden fairs on the trail and if the age issue becomes a liability for the incumbent or sparks some reassurance in voters about a steady hand.
Presidential elections are an interminable and unnecessarily drawn-out process in the United States. As the nonstop political attacks and discussions of political minutiae start to mount, try to stay focused on the bigger picture and how this will shape things by September-October of next year. It will help keep you sane—and still knowledgeable about the elections.