Biden approval rating climbs as Trump sees falling support, poll finds

President Joe Biden’s approval rating is the highest it has been in almost a year while former President Donald Trump is falling in the estimation of Republicans, a poll has found.

The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll was conducted last week following Mr Biden’s State of the Union address and included more than 1,300 people.

Mr Trump has announced that he will campaign for the Republican nomination in 2024 as has former South Carolina governor and Trump administration UN ambassador Nikki Haley, but Mr Trump’s fiercest rival for the nomination is considered to be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who hasn’t announced a campaign but is reported to be preparing for one.

The poll shows that a majority of potential GOP primary voters would prefer someone other than Mr Trump as their nominee. Mr DeSantis is stronger with Republicans with college degrees, with higher salaries, and who live in cities and their suburbs, while Mr Trump does better among blue-collar and rural voters.

Mr Biden, 80, is expected to run for re-election, even as Politico reports of seeping doubt among some Democrats. Mr Biden is the oldest person to ever be president.

Inflation and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan have hurt his approval rating – he was at 36 per cent in July 2022. He’s now at 46 per cent approval among the 1,300 respondents and at 49 per cent among the 1,200 registered voters who took part.

While Mr Biden is strong with Democrats, he still struggles with independents – only 36 per cent of whom say they approve of his job performance.

Democrats have in recent months appeared to be unsure if Mr Biden is their best bet at a win in 2024, with many polls showing that voters think that he’s too old, but without a clear alternative.

Shortly before the midterms in November, 54 per cent of Democrats and independents leaning towards voting for the party said that they would be better off with another candidate. That number is now 50 per cent, and 45 per cent think another person would be better.

The major changes in those numbers stem from shifting attitudes among white people without college degrees, people making less than $50,000, those under the age of 45, and women in suburbs or smaller cities – all groups important for the Democrats to win after Mr Trump gained support from them in 2016 but who aided Mr Biden in 2020.

Some possible reasons behind this change are the Democrats doing well in the midterms, Mr Biden’s well-received State of the Union address, and the customary rallying behind a nominee among those likely to support a Democratic candidate, NPR notes.

Among Democrats and independents leaning left, 83 per cent have a favourable view of Mr Biden, while 13 per cent have an unfavourable view – far above the figures of other possible candidates such as Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, or Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. This is partly due to many being less aware of other candidates as many say they’re unsure what they think about them.

On the other side of the aisle, Mr Trump is struggling to turn the GOP primary into a coronation.

Republicans and right-leaning independents think by a margin of 54 to 42 per cent that the party would be better off with another name at the top of the ticket. But that’s an improvement for Mr Trump – in November, 35 per cent said he was the best chance at winning the White House even as the number of people saying they would be stronger with someone else stayed the same.

Among Republicans and right-leaning independents, 68 per cent have a favourable view and 25 per cent have an unfavourable view. Seven per cent are unsure.

For Mr DeSantis, those numbers are 66 per cent favourable, 11 per cent unfavourable, and 23 per cent unsure.

For Ms Haley, 41 per cent approve, 12 per cent do not, and 46 per cent are unsure.

For another possible candidate in 2024, former Vice President Mike Pence, 51 per cent hold a favourable view, 30 per cent an unfavourable view, and 19 per cent remain unsure.