“The Democrats have something to worry about. » Sitting in a trendy cafe in Detroit (Michigan) filled with independent workers and students typing on their laptops, Lexis Zeidan does not hide her anger. This American of Palestinian origin cannot digest Joe Biden’s unconditional support for Israel, while the human toll is inexorably increasing in the Gaza Strip.
In 2024, the year of the next legislative and presidential elections across the Atlantic, she promises to remember this when she goes to the polls. “With this war, we saw to what extent the United States had sacrificed the Palestinians on the altar of politics. These are not the values that we defend,” explains the thirty-year-old, wearing a hat decorated with the Palestinian flag. Statements that should worry Joe Biden. Because if the 200,000 Arab voters turn away from the Democrats in Michigan, a pivotal state (“swing state”) where very close votes can tip the race for the White House, the outgoing President may well not see himself reappointed .
Another worrying signal for “old Joe”: his approval rating within his own electorate is at its lowest level since his victory in 2020. Due to his management of the war in the Middle East, he has fallen by eleven points in October 2023, to settle at 75%. This trend is partly explained by the disaffection of young people, a key constituency for Democrats, who have become more critical of Israel in recent years.
Certainly, “there is a lot of time left before November 2024, and many events can still influence the situation,” adds Tristan Cabello, political scientist at Johns Hopkins University (Washington). However, if the conflict persists, young progressives could choose to abstain from the elections. The major challenge for Joe Biden therefore lies in mobilizing his electorate, particularly in the pivotal states.”
But the Middle East is not the President’s only concern. His main obstacle is his age: 80 years old. The country has never had such an old “commander-in-chief”. Many, including in his party, believe he should pass the baton to a new generation. Its falls or its beginnings, exploited by the Republicans on social networks, also confirm them in this opinion. For several months, his White House team has had him board the presidential plane Air Force One through an entrance closer to the ground, thus avoiding the longer and potentially dangerous boarding staircase.
This disenchantment is all the more frustrating for Joe Biden as he has recorded undeniable legislative victories, despite a narrow majority in the Senate: record investments in the fight against climate change, infrastructure modernization law, reduction in the price of certain drugs for seniors… Added to this is a very low unemployment rate (3.8%).
Shayna Duncan voted for Joe Biden in 2020, but says she is undecided for 2024 because of current inflation, fueled by the war in Ukraine. Employed in the automobile industry, this mother in Pennsylvania had to find two other jobs to support herself. “Everything costs more: childcare, groceries, gas… We hear that the economy is doing well, but not for me. I can’t put money aside,” she confides. According to a report from LendingClub, a financial company, 62% of Americans are in this situation.
A new challenger
“Democrats spend a lot of time demonizing Trump, but at least when he was in power, the cost of living wasn’t as high,” squeaks Reggie Acevedo, a taxi driver met outside. from Detroit. An independent voter, not affiliated with a party, he plans to vote either for Donald Trump, if he is nominated by the Republican Party at the end of the primaries, or for Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. Nephew of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, this conspiratorial Democrat, who campaigned as an independent, garnering 22% support against Joe Biden and Donald Trump, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
These national opinion polls put the President and the billionaire neck and neck despite the 91 indictments against the latter in various cases. Political scientist Tristan Cabello, however, recalls that they “do not reflect the reality of American elections which are played out state by state”. While noting the increase in the number of undecided people. “Historically, this segment of the electorate often decides in the last week of the campaign,” he explains. The year promises to be long.
8%. It’s the inflation rate record reached in 2022 in the United States.