Most Democrats Want Biden to Run in 2024. But if He Doesn’t, Harris Looks Best-Positioned for the Nomination

31% of potential Democratic primary voters said they would support the VP if Biden decides to forgo re-election

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks at the Prince George’s County Brandywine Maintenance Facility on Monday in Brandywine, Md. While recent reporting suggests no real consensus on a potential Democratic 2024 nominee should President Joe Biden decide to forgo re-election, a new poll shows the Democratic base looks inclined to back Harris. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If President Joe Biden opts not to run for re-election in 2024, an early test of a hypothetical contest finds Vice President Kamala Harris as the earliest of favorites. Yet while a majority of Democrats want Biden to run again, most of the broader electorate disagrees, according to the latest Morning Consult/Politico survey.

Harris, Propelled by Black Voters, Leads Hypothetical Bidenless Primary

Potential Democratic primary voters were asked who they would support in a presidential primary if Biden does not run for president in 2024

Poll conducted Dec. 11-13, 2021, among 916 potential Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of +/-3%.

How a Bidenless field might look

  • In the hypothetical test, 31 percent of potential Democratic primary voters said they would support Harris, driven by 52 percent of Black potential primary voters and 43 percent of its youngest potential primary voters (those ages 18-34).
  • Harris’ initial standing tracks pretty closely to the support Biden had in advance of his April 2019 campaign launch, and throughout much of the year leading up to 2020, according to Morning Consult polling at the time.
  • Aside from Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is supported by 11 percent of potential Democratic primary voters, while another 8 percent each said they’d support Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

The context

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last month that it is Biden’s “intention” to seek re-election. But his public signaling has not repressed chatter of the possibility that the Democratic Party could face an open field, with the president’s currently diminished popularity and the fact that he would be 82 by the time of the 2025 inauguration among the reasons that some are eyeing other options.

Former President Donald Trump, who is set to turn 78 in three years, has also fueled chatter of another presidential bid next time around, and, at this point, has more backing for a 2024 bid than his successor – though the bulk of the electorate opposes both men running.

Voters’ views on 2024 bids from Biden and Trump

  • Roughly 2 in 5 voters (39 percent) said Trump should run for president in 2024, compared with 34 percent who said the same of Biden. The majority of voters oppose 2024 campaigns from Trump (56 percent) and Biden (58 percent). 
  • The share of Democrats who said Biden should “definitely” run again next time (35 percent) is less than the share of Republicans who said the same of Trump (49 percent), indicating less enthusiasm on the left for the party’s current standard bearer.
  • Independent voters are slightly more likely to be opposed to another Biden bid than a Trump 2024 campaign, 67 percent to 59 percent.

The latest survey was conducted Dec. 11-13, 2021, among 1,998 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult