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Analysis: A *majority* of voters don’t think Joe Biden will run again

Those numbers come courtesy of a new Wall Street Journal poll, which suggests the electorate has serious doubts as to whether Biden, who be 81 in two years, will seek another four years in office.
Asked whether he was planning to run again during an interview with ABC News in December, Biden responded this way: “Yes. But look, I’m a great respecter of fate — fate has intervened in my life many, many times. If I’m in the health I’m in now — I’m in good health — then, in fact, I would run again.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had done the same when asked about the prospect of a Biden reelection bid in November. “Yes, that’s his intention,” Psaki replied.

Which, of course, is FAR short of definitive. For example, I intend to finish my book by Labor Day. That is, without question, my intent. But it is not a guarantee that the book will be handed into my publisher on Labor Day.

Same goes for Biden. And Psaki, a veteran communicator who knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s telling the truth — it is Biden’s intent to run again right now — without foreclosing on the possibility that he ultimately decides against running.

In the past, Biden has talked about himself as a link between the older generation of Democrats and the younger one, which includes the likes of Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

“Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” Biden said on the campaign trail in March 2020. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.” (Among them were Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.)

Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, have repeatedly sought to raise questions about Biden’s age and health.

“We have a president representing our country at the most important time in history, who is physically and mentally challenged,” Trump said, without evidence, at a rally in South Carolina over the weekend.
In the midst of the chaotic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan last summer, Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee said that it had “created doubt not only in my mind, in the mind of many, many Americans, but also doubt in the minds of our allies” as to whether Biden was mentally equipped to do the job.
And, as the Wall Street Journal noted, former Iowa Rep. Greg Ganske, a physician, wrote in August 2021 that “it pains me greatly to see a decline in President Biden, and it worries me.”

Of course, the question of whether Biden should run for a second term is different than the question of whether he will. And, on that latter question, it’s worth noting that even Democrats are somewhat divided in the Wall Street Journal poll.

Four in 10 (41%) Democrats said they believed that Biden will run again, while 1 in 3 (32%) said they didn’t think he would ultimately seek a second term. Another 26% said they were unsure what he would do.

That level of uncertainty within the party suggests that Biden will have to say something definitive about his plans in the not-too-distant future.

What’s less clear is whether his party’s performance in the midterm election will have any bearing on Biden’s decision. The political winds — as well as history — suggest Democrats are in for a bruising fall campaign that could cost them control of the House and potentially the Senate.

If that scenario comes to pass, the second half of Biden’s first term will be far more contentious — and likely less productive from a legislative standpoint — than his first two years. Might that tip the scales for the President?

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