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Biden’s visit to UAW picket line not influenced by Trump’s, White House says

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s decision to join striking United Auto Workers in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday was not influenced by former president Donald Trump’s planned visit Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “Absolutely not,” Jean-Pierre said when asked at the press briefing Monday. “This decision to visit the picket line was based on his own desire. This is what the president wanted — to stand with autoworkers. That’s what you’re going to see the president do tomorrow.” Jean-Pierre said Biden is visiting the picket line at the invitation of UAW President Shawn Fain and stands with autoworkers, though she did not get into details of the ongoing negotiations between the union and automakers. The UAW, which represents about 146,000 workers across Ford , General Motors and Stellantis, has historically supported Democrats and endorsed Biden in 2020, but it is the only major union that has yet to endorse the president for reelection.

President Joe Biden’s job approval rating is 19 points underwater, his ratings for handling the economy and immigration are at career lows. A record number of Americans say they’ve become worse off under his presidency, three-quarters say he’s too old for another term and Donald Trump is looking better in retrospect — all severe challenges for Biden in his reelection campaign ahead. Forty-four percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they’ve gotten worse off financially under Biden’s presidency, the most for any president in ABC/Post polls since 1986. Just 37% approve of his job performance, while 56% disapprove. Still fewer approve of Biden’s performance on the economy, 30%. On handling immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, Biden’s rating is even lower, with 23% approval. In terms of intensity of sentiment, 20% strongly approve of his work overall, while 45% strongly disapprove. And the 74% who say he’s too old for a second term is up 6 percentage points since May. Views that Trump is too old also are up, but to 50% in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates

Such is down-on-Biden sentiment that if a government shutdown occurs at month’s end, 40% say they’d chiefly blame him and the Democrats in Congress, versus 33% who’d pin it on the Republicans in Congress — even given the GOP infighting behind the budget impasse. See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

Trump Trump, for his part, has improved in retrospect. When he reluctantly left office in January 2021, 38% approved of his work as president, essentially the same as Biden’s rating now. But currently, looking back, 48% say they approve of Trump’s performance when he was in office — matching his peak as president. Essentially as many — 49% — now disapprove, down from 60% when he left the White House. Comparison with Biden may be a factor. Among the 56% of Americans who disapprove of Biden’s work in office, a wide 75% say that, looking back, they approve of Trump. It’s also notable that Trump has an even split in his retrospective job approval rating even as most Americans continue to reject his assertion that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Sixty percent of Americans instead say Biden legitimately won, and an additional 12% have no opinion; 29% think Biden did not win legitimately. Election These views play into early-stage election preferences. A remarkable 62% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say the party should pick someone other than Biden as its nominee in 2024; just a third back Biden. Desire for a different candidate is at a numerical high, but also consistent with past results (56 to 58%) the past year. Who, if not Biden, is an open question. In an open-ended question, 8% express a preference for Kamala Harris, 8% for Bernie Sanders and 7% for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with other mentions in the low single digits. Just “someone else” comes in at 20%. Trump has far broader intraparty support; 54% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favor him for the GOP nomination, again similar to previous results, and well ahead of his opposition. Ron DeSantis has 15% support, compared with 25% (using a slightly different question approach) in May. All others are in single digits.

Head-to-head in a hypothetical November 2024 matchup, Trump has 51% support while Biden has 42% — numerically up 3 points for Trump and down 2 points for Biden from an ABC/Post poll in February, shifts that are not statistically significant. There’s even less change from the most recent ABC/Post poll in May, which had the race at 49-42% (again with a different, but comparable, question wording). Still, with Trump inching over 50% — and other polls showing a closer contest — a close look is warranted. Factors A variety of factors may be at play. Biden’s poor performance ratings, the extent of economic discontent, the immigration crisis and doubts about his age clearly are relevant. All have been the subject of extensive recent news coverage, focusing public discourse on negatives for the president. Trump, meanwhile, has used his criminal indictments to bolster his base through claims of political persecution and enjoys positive coverage of his GOP frontrunner status. Question order can be a factor. As is customary for ABC/Post polls at this still-early stage of an election cycle, this survey asked first about Biden and Trump’s performance, economic sentiment and a handful of other issues (Ukraine aid, abortion and a government shutdown) before candidate preferences. That’s because these questions are more germane than candidate support in an election so far off. Since many results are negative toward Biden, it follows that he’s lagging in 2024 support. Nonetheless, those sentiments are real, have been consistently negative in recent surveys and clearly mark Biden’s challenges ahead.


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