Campaign Report — What Biden’s State of the Union may tell us about 2024

President Biden
Greg Nash
President Biden returns to the White House in Washington, D.C., from Camp David on Monday, February 6, 2023.

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Polls: Low enthusiasm for Biden 2024 before SOTU

President Biden will deliver the 2023 State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday night, as several polls show a lack of enthusiasm for his potential 2024 reelection bid.

As our Amie Parnes and Hanna Trudo reported last month, Biden is expected to officially announce his candidacy in the coming months. Tonight’s speech may offer a preview of his campaign messaging. 

Pollsters have asked respondents of all affiliations, as well as Democrats and Democratic leaners specifically, whether they want Biden to run for reelection next year. Here’s what several recent polls found:

  • ABC News/Washington Post: 58 percent who lean Democratic would like the party to nominate someone else (Jan. 27-Feb. 1, margin of error +/- 5.5, according to an email from ABC News) 
  • AP-NORC: 78 percent of all affiliations do not want to see Biden run again, including 62 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Independents (Jan. 26-30, MOE +/- 4.2 for full sample, 6.5 for Democrats) 
  • Echelon Insights: 61 percent of all affiliations would not like to see Biden run again (Jan. 23-25, MOE +/- 3.9) 
  • NBC News: 32 percent of all voters comfortable or enthusiastic about Biden running, including 63 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of Independents(Jan. 20-24, MOE +/- 3.4 for full sample) 
  • Emerson College Polling: 58 percent of Democratic primary voters said Biden should be the nominee (Jan. 19-21, MOE +/- 3 for full sample) 
  • Marquette University Law School: 51 percent of Democrats or Independents leaning Democratic would not like to see Biden run again (Jan. 9-20, MOE +/- 6.1) 
  • Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll: 65 percent of all affiliations said Biden should not run (Jan. 18-19, no MOE provided
  • Economist/YouGov: 51 percent of all affiliations do not want Biden to run, including 27 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Independents(Jan. 14-17, MOE +/- 3.1 for full sample)  

Obstacles facing a Biden reelection bid include voters’ perceptions about the president’s age and the state of the economy. At least one of those issues will be a prominent theme of Biden’s SOTU address. 

What to expect tonight: White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said at a press conference Monday we can expect Biden to discuss economic progress in the context of “a real consistent vision” he’s had of a bottom-up economic strategy “from the campaign to the early days to ongoing.” Biden will also acknowledge work left to be done to lower costs and to show that “we can invest in our country, lower costs for families, and reduce the deficit all at the same time.” 

Economic concerns were top of mind for voters in 2022. In response to a question about polling on perceptions of Biden and whether the president played a role in Democrats’ midterm election successes, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that Democrats won on victories Biden secured. She said SOTU is an important moment “for the President to lay out how he sees the country moving forward and also to remind folks and lay out what he has done the last two years.” 

We can also expect Biden to reiterate interest in working across party lines, Deese said. The speech comes amid intense debate between parties over whether to tie spending cuts to a debt limit increase this year.  

Where to watch: The speech will be livestreamed here and is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET. Check out The Hill’s live blog here

Independent Sen. Angus King seeking reelection

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) confirmed he’s running for reelection, Politico reported.  King caucuses with Democrats, and his reelection bid may give the party some breathing room in what is expected to be a tough Senate election year

Vacationland-scape: Maine is one of five states with a split-party Senate delegation. When voters reelected Sen. Susan Collins (R) in 2020 while favoring Joe Biden (D) for president, it was the only state in the last two presidential election years to support a Senate and presidential candidate of different affiliations. The Cook Political Report calls Maine’s Senate race solid Democratic (for a King win), while Sabato’s Crystal Ball says King is likely to win reelection. 

King was first elected to the chamber in 2012 and reelected in 2018, the first year the state implemented ranked-choice voting for federal general elections. As King won 54 percent of the vote, the race didn’t go to ranked-choice tabulations. His Republican challenger took 35 percent of the vote, and the Democrat got 10 percent. 

In 2021, King changed his stance on filibuster reform and last year supported a related rules change for a voting rights bill, a major priority for Democrats, after the Republican minority blocked the bill. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), who recently switched from Democratic to independent, joined Republicans in defeating the rules change. 


Americans for Prosperity, a key group within Charles Koch’s Libertarian-leaning donor network, is looking for someone new to lead the GOP ticket in 2024 – a.k.a., not former President Trump.  

Americans for Prosperity CEO Emily Seidel, who also serves as senior advisor to the group’s super PAC, AFP Action, said in a memo to staff Sunday that “the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter. The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that.” 

Seidel also said there’s “a toxic situation in Washington, DC” and that the “Republican Party is nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles. And the American people are rejecting them.”  

The memo didn’t name Trump or any other candidates, and it didn’t detail concrete policy priorities. CNN noted that Koch and associated groups have supported some Trump policies, such as 2017 tax legislation, while opposing his trade and immigration policies. 

2022 activity: AFP Action spent $69 million in federal races in the 2022 cycle, according to Open Secrets data. Of that, $63 million supported Republicans. The group had some notable endorsement clashes with Trump.  

AFP Action supported Reps. Nancy Mace (S.C.) and Peter Meijer (Mich.) against Trump-backed challengers in Republican primaries. Meijer lost to John Gibbs, who then lost the general election. Mace won her primary and general. 

AFP Action’s only spending against a Republican in a federal race was $15,000 opposing Sarah Palin, who Trump endorsed for Alaska’s House seat. The group backed Nick Begich III (R). Democrat Mary Peltola beat them both in the ranked-choice election. 

Beyond federal races, AFP endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson for Arizona governor. She lost the primary to Kari Lake, who had Trump’s endorsement and who lost in November. 

There was some overlap, too; some of AFP Action’s highest expenditures were for Senate candidates Herschel Walker (Ga.) and Mehmet Oz (Penn.), whom Trump had endorsed. AFP didn’t endorse Walker or Oz until after they’d won their primaries, though. 

The group did not spend in Senate races in Arizona and New Hampshire – races thought to be competitive at one point but where Democrats won by healthy margins in November against political newcomers.  

Seidel’s memo said the group will be getting involved in more primaries at all levels of office in the 2024 cycle. 

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Campaign page for the latest news and coverage. See you Thursday. 

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