By Eli Yokley
March 6, 2023 at 2:50 pm ET
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In the face of his first declared Democratic primary challenger in self-help author Marianne Williamson, President Joe Biden has slightly stronger base backing for renomination at this point in the campaign than former President Donald Trump had four years ago, according to a new Morning Consult survey.
Then-President Donald Trump was already a candidate for re-election at this point in the 2020 cycle, taking a different approach than Biden, who says he intends to run next year but has yet to make a formal announcement.
Biden’s waiting has sparked inevitable speculation about the 80-year-old’s true intent, but such chatter has been absent from the official voices of the Democratic Party, which is taking steps toward a coronation by opposing primary debates and recruiting potential challengers, such as Govs. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Gavin Newsom of California, to serve as Biden surrogates.
All of this gives Biden a similar platform that Trump enjoyed in the 2020 Republican nominating contest. And among the Democratic electorate, Biden’s 77% backing even slightly outpaces the 73% support Trump had among Republican voters in March 2019 amid chatter at the time about a potential primary challenge by then-Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
When it comes to Biden’s job performance, 82% of potential Democratic primary voters approve. It’s identical to the share of Republicans who approved of Trump’s job performance in the March 2019 survey, though GOP voters were more likely to strongly approve of Trump then than Democrats are to strongly approve of Biden now (50% versus 42%).
The latest Morning Consult survey was conducted March 3-5, 2023, among 829 voters who said they plan to vote in the 2024 Democratic presidential primary or caucus in their state, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Eli Yokley is a senior data reporter at Morning Consult covering politics and campaigns. @eyokley