Survey shows that despite concerns about the president’s age, progressive candidates considered as possible replacements would underperform

The politicians considered to replace US President Joe Biden (Democratic Party) in the race for the White House would not be able to beat Republican Donald Trump in the current political scenario. The information is from a survey by think tank Data for Progress, held on Friday (June 28, 2024), 1 day after the 1st debate of the White House election race.

Data for Progress tested the performance of eight candidates and Biden himself in a direct race with Trump. While the president had 45% of voting intentions, the former president had 48%. The replacement with the best performance is Vice President Kamala Harris, who also appeared with 45%.

Pressure from the public, the press and members of the Democratic Party itself for Biden to leave the race grew after the US chief executive showed weakness during the debate on Thursday (June 27). In this context, Democratic alternatives began to circulate.

The result is a technical tie, as it is within the margin of error, which is 3 percentage points either way. The survey was conducted on June 28, 2024, with 1,011 US voters, across the entire United States. Read the full survey (PDF – 305 kB).

The other names tested were:

  • Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States;
  • Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation;
  • Cory Booker, senador;
  • Gavin Newsom, Governor of California;
  • Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan;
  • Amy Klobuchar, Senator;
  • Josh Shapiro, Governor of Pennsylvania;
  • J.B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois.

As the image below shows, Biden and Harris recorded the best results, with minimal variation in relation to the other candidates. In all scenarios, however, there is a technical tie with Trump.

Of the voters surveyed, 47% said they watched the debate live, while 23% saw excerpts online and 10% read about it. Another 21% of voters surveyed neither watched nor read about the debate.

Among those who watched or read about the debate, 32% said they approved of Biden’s performance, compared with 51% who said they approved of Trump’s performance. When asked who won the debate, among voters who watched or read about it, 30% said the president won, while 62% said his opponent won.

Among voters’ biggest concerns about the US chief executive is his age: 67% of voters surveyed consider Biden too old to be president. Among those surveyed, there are also those who consider Donald Trump too old to be president (34%).

When asked which candidate characteristics they find most concerning, 53% of voters said they are most concerned about Biden’s age and physical and mental health. Meanwhile, 42% said they are most concerned about Trump’s criminal charges and threats to democracy.

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