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A political statistician suggested on Monday that the Democratic Party should consider finding a new candidate to run for the White House in 2024 if President Joe Biden fails to run a “normal campaign,” becoming the latest analyst to cite concerns about his chances of winning a second term.
Nate Silver, founder and former editor-in-chief of the data-focused outlet FiveThirtyEight, expressed doubt in his Substack newsletter about Biden’s ability to win another term in Washington D.C., noting the president’s approval ratings continue to sink to their lowest numbers ever.
But convincing Biden to pass the torch to a fresh candidate or go all in on a re-election campaign could get complicated either way, according to Silver — whose presidential election forecasts earned him recognition over the past two decades.
“Democrats would be taking a huge risk by replacing Biden — but they’re also taking a huge risk by nominating him,” Silver wrote.
“If Biden can’t keep up with the schedule of a typical sitting president running for re-election, or is prone to making errors when he does, voters and the media are going to notice that and Biden will wear his 80+ years like an albatross around his neck,” he later added.
Silver launched FiveThirtyEight, a data aggregation and blog site named for the number of presidential electors in the Electoral College, in 2008. He then accurately predicted the outcome of 49 out of 50 states in the presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain.
He later sold the site that would eventually become part of the Disney umbrella. He continued to run stats until his contract expired earlier this year, and left the data-driven media outlet as broader layoffs at Disney impacted ABC News.
But Silver has remained in the game and has previously raised concerns about Biden’s political future, suggesting the president should have announced he would not seek re-election earlier this year.
“If the choices are Biden running a reasonably normal campaign or a Mystery Democrat doing the same thing, I think it’s close,” Silver said. “But if it’s Biden running a Rose Garden campaign versus a different Democrat running a normal one, I’ll take my chances on the alternative, and Biden can join James K. Polk on the list of historically well-regarded presidents who didn’t seek a second term.”
Democrats have been in panic mode as former President Donald Trump — the leading Republican contender for the 2024 primary — recently outperformed Biden in vital swing states.
Last week, Trump led Biden 46% to 44.6% in the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average, with the four most recent polls factored in by RCP all giving Trump the edge.
The former president’s 1.4-point lead is his highest over Biden since late September, when he was ahead by an average of 1.6 points. Trump has either led or been tied with Biden in the RCP average of national polls for nearly two straight months as the president struggles with low approval ratings and multiple global and national crises.
A New York Times/Siena poll released earlier this week caught the attention of some Democrats who expressed concern about how well the former Republican president performed against Biden in critical battleground states. According to the poll, Trump led Biden in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
Connecticut Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Trump’s polling lead in the battleground states after numerous federal-and-state-level charges were levied against the former president left him “mystified, perplexed, bewildered and, frankly, a bit angry that people can give [Trump] credibility.”
Former Obama adviser and Democratic strategist David Axelrod appeared to lack optimism about a Biden re-election campaign.
“The stakes of miscalculation here are too dramatic to ignore,” Axelrod wrote on X. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?”
But Biden and his campaign reportedly dismissed the polls from left-wing outlets.
Zach Jewell contributed to this report.