The call for a fresh Democratic candidate in the upcoming 2024 presidential elections is intensifying as confidence in the current administration’s leadership wanes, particularly due to concerns regarding the president’s age.
A recent survey conducted by The New York Times and Siena College disclosed startling statistics: 71% of those surveyed expressed doubts about the president’s age affecting his leadership capabilities, a sentiment echoed by 54% of those who voted for him in 2020. This unease is rooted in observations of his physical health and speech patterns.
The dilemma for the party lies in identifying a strong alternative candidate. The current governor of California, viewed by many as a potential successor, is facing his own popularity issues.
A poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Government Studies, in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, indicated a significant dip in the governor’s approval ratings, with a disapproval rating of 49% among polled California voters.
His approval has slipped to 44%, a drop of 11 percentage points since February, a contrast to the president’s approval and disapproval ratings standing at 43% and 54% respectively, according to an Economist/YouGov poll.
Mike DiCamillo, the Berkeley poll’s director, commented to the Los Angeles Times on the governor’s evolving public image as he steps onto the national stage.
Though Governor Gavin Newsom has publicly backed the president, there are whispers of his own presidential ambitions for 2024. Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania recently suggested that Newsom might be running an undeclared campaign.
Newsom, 56, has been actively bolstering his profile on a national level. He’s taken stances on various issues, from critiquing conservative policies using billboards in traditionally red states to engaging with international figures, including leaders from countries with questionable environmental records.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Newsom’s popularity has waned across all voter demographics, with Democratic disapproval doubling from 12% in February to 25%.
Despite his political missteps, such as flouting his own strict COVID-19 restrictions, experts like Republican strategist Rob Stutzman believe the decline in his popularity may be attributed more to pressing state issues like the economy, crime rates, and homelessness.
Data from the Center Square suggests that while national violent crime rates are on a downward trend, California has seen an increase under Newsom’s governance.
The state also faces a homelessness crisis, with over 170,000 individuals living on the streets despite significant state expenditure to address the issue, as reported by CNN.
Economically, California’s unemployment rate ranks near the bottom nationally, with Newsom’s state at 49th place as of July.
Stutzman expressed to the New York Daily News his surprise not at the decline of Newsom’s popularity, but at the steepness of the fall, highlighting a significant shift among Democratic voters.