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Frustration builds around Biden amid negative poll numbers 

Frustration that President Biden is trailing former President Trump in polls despite a growing economy is building at the White House.  

Biden’s approval ratings have been low for more than a year, but recent polls have found him trailing Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, in a head-to-head match-up and in key swing states.  

Biden saw his approval rating hit a new low of 34 percent in a Monmouth University poll released Monday. Days prior, a Wall Street Journal poll showed Biden at 37 percent approval rating. 

Trump is holding a 2 percent lead over Biden in The Hill/Decision Desk HQ national polling averages

Other polls have raised alarm bells for Biden with younger voters, who have been critical of his support for Israel.  

A New York Times/Siena poll on Tuesday showed just 33 percent of respondents approve of Biden’s Israel policy. The same poll found Trump leading Biden by 6 points among registered voters younger than 30.  

That’s a shocking result given Biden’s more than 20-point victory over Trump in the 2020 election, according to exit surveys.  

Some have suggested Biden 81, is having trouble convincing a key part of the Democratic base that it should have faith in his leadership after various disappointments, ranging from student loans to rising rents and mortgage prices. The Israel-Hamas war, a divisive issue in the Democratic Party and on college campuses, is hurting him further.

Sources told The Hill the president has gathered advisers, both internal White House aides and external personal confidants, for meetings to discuss Trump, the negative polling and how to effectively message the president’s accomplishments.  

One Biden ally said meetings have taken place because of “deep frustration” over polls but that it did not reflect a panic over the president’s prospects. 

“The meetings are intended to discuss messaging on his age and his accomplishments. There has been concern among his inner circle that the messaging has not been strong or consistent enough to break through with the public,” the Biden ally said. 

The Washington Post reported this week that Biden had called a meeting at the White House residence just before Thanksgiving where he sternly described his approval ratings as too low. The Post reported he argued his economic messaging, which has been focused on pushing the successes of “Bidenomics,” was faltering given low unemployment and a growing economy.  

White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in response, “The President and First Lady meet regularly with their senior team for updates and to review plans.”

It is in some ways easy to understand the frustrations of Biden allies to their predicament.  

The stock market is now roaring, with indexes closing at record levels after Trump predicted a slump from a Biden presidency. Unemployment is just 3.7 percent nationally, near historic lows. Inflation has also fallen, though fatigue at the rising prices from the pandemic era appears to be hampering a rise for Biden in polls.  

“Yes, it’s frustrating. I have heard many theories as to why the message is not connecting. None convince me or make me feel better,” said Ivan Zapien, a former Democratic National Committee official, adding though that he still thinks “Biden can win this election.” 

“The polls will tighten as they always do as we get closer to the election and people start weighing their options. But it’s going to be an ugly landing,” he said.

Someone in the Biden orbit also told The Hill part of the frustration is the disproportionate media focus on the polls that show Biden losing while ignoring polls that show him winning.

The White House has long argued the 2024 election will be a close one but that as voters begin to compare Biden with Trump, things will move in its favor. They’ve largely dismissed polls as being meaningless this far away from the election while noting pundits have previously counted out Biden only to see him rise to victory. 

Trump increasingly looks like he will be the GOP nominee. Already far ahead in polls, Trump this week saw the Colorado Supreme Court issue a surprise decision that would remove him from the primary ballot in that state.  

Many argue the decision could help Trump in the GOP primary, as it underlines arguments he has had that Democrats and institutions are working against him. Trump is set to appeal the decision, and his name will remain on the ballot if he does so by Jan. 4 under the Colorado decision.  

Biden’s campaign has worked hard to damage Trump, most recently jumping on his recent remarks about immigrants poisoning the blood of America as antisemitic and echoing Adolf Hitler.  

Once voters focus on the two choices at hand in 2024, a lot can change about polling, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told The Hill.

“I think the choices are going to be Donald Trump and Joe Biden and I think that will crystal people’s thinking, as the president often says — don’t compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative,” he said.

Other Democrats also expressed confidence in a Biden victory in 2024.

“The president will win in 2024 because the big picture will be the difference between a Republican who was president for four years and worked on exactly three things: a $3 trillion tax break that went mostly to millionaires and billionaires, getting an extremist Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade and trying to take away the Affordable Care Act and protection for people with preexisting conditions,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told The Hill. “Joe Biden will be out there making the case for who he fights for.”

One Democratic House aide said White House aides haven’t brought up the approval rating in conversations with the Hill. 

“Most of the conversations I see are the ones happening in public,” the aide said, adding that privately, Democrats know they have work to do to tout Biden’s accomplishments ahead of the election. 

Democratic senators, meanwhile, aligned with the Biden campaign in their response to reporters about Biden’s low polling numbers and expressed optimism going into 2024. 

“Of course, you’re going to be concerned about the polling numbers, but polls are known to be off, a lot. This is a year out,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said. “I’m sure he wishes they were better, but they are where they are, I don’t think they necessarily mean much right now though.” 

Warren said that while she’s confident Biden will beat Trump, she doesn’t know why the president is currently polling so poorly. 

“I don’t know, I’m not a pollster and I’m sure there are people who have their views on that,” she said. “Where I’m focused is November 2024, and when I think about the difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, I feel pretty good about the case we’ll make and the fight we’ll win.” 

Al Weaver contributed. 

Source: The Hill

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