Per Olaf Odegaard
Commentator at VG. Former foreign journalist and correspondent for VG in the USA. He writes mostly about international affairs.
A year before the US presidential election, Joe Biden’s chances of winning appear bleak. Donald Trump can win the election because of voter discontent and pessimism.
The polls should ring alarm bells in the Democratic Party. For Biden, this is especially troubling Trump is ahead in a number of swing states that Democrats won three years ago.
The coalition that ensured Biden’s election victory in 2020 is on the verge of collapse. He lost many voters under 30 and Hispanic voters. The fact that a majority of women still prefer Biden doesn’t help much when the vast majority of men want Trump.
There are twelve months until the elections. Polls at this point only give an indication. A lot can change. But there is no doubt that Biden is struggling.
Presidential elections are practically decided in a few states where there is a significant tie between Democrats and Republicans. A poll conducted by The New York Times in cooperation with Siena College shows that Trump leads, partly clearly, in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Michigan.
These are the states that Biden must win to obtain a majority in the Electoral College. If not, he may face the same thing that Hillary Clinton faced in 2016. She received nearly three million more votes than Trump, but he won nonetheless because he had a majority of voters.
The biggest problem Biden faces is that more than three in four Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll. Not surprisingly, almost all Republicans hold this view. What’s worse is that a majority of Democrats believe the same thing.
Voters consider the economy to be the most important issue in the election campaign. It will be no less important in 2024 after a period of high price increases and economic uncertainty.
It does not seem that the economic performance that the United States is currently achieving is better than that of Europe to help Biden. A majority of voters say they have more confidence in Trump than Biden when it comes to economic policy.
ABC poll shows voters are deeply dissatisfied with both potential presidential candidates. 33% have a positive impression of Biden and only 29% like Trump. Many will still reluctantly vote for one of these two on Election Day.
The problem for Biden is that many Democratic voters are disappointed. They don’t think Biden performed as expected. It’s also his age. More than 70 percent said they thought an 80-year-old was too old to be president. Far fewer see Trump, 77, being around the same age as a problem.
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