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Biden’s debate debacle makes bad situation for Democrats much worse

President Joe Biden’s historically bad debate performance on Thursday night made an already-difficult situation for Democrats in November for Democrats even worse.

Biden came into the debate already trailing former President Donald J. Trump and under enormous pressure to do well, given the dire situation Democrats were facing on the ground in the swing states.

President Biden had to enter the debate prepared to convince voters that he is not too old to be president, that he can get things done, and that voters are are better off than they were four years ago when his opponent, Donald Trump, was President.

He failed on all three counts. Going into the debate, no Democrats were talking about replacing Biden at the Democratic convention and whether or not that was on the table. Before the candidates stopped talking, the debate among Democrats had shifted from ‘can Biden win?’ to ‘Can he still be their nominee?’

California Governor Gavin Newsom publicly pledged loyalty to Joe Biden and brushed aside suggestions that he could replace Biden on the ticket. Even Vice President Kamala Harris admitted that Joe had a “slow start.”

Most national polls before the televised debate already showed Donald Trump leading in the popular vote.

A New York Times/Sierra poll that has just been released has Trump up 48% to 44% over Biden. Trump is winning with men 52% to 40%. Biden has the edge with women 48% to 43%. White voters prefer Trump 54% to 40%. Black voters prefer Biden 65% to 26%; but if Trump gets 1 out of 4 Black voters it would be the best performance for a Republican in decades. Hispanics prefer Biden 52% to 38%. Other minorities prefer Biden 51% to 31%.

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70% of the respondents in that poll responded that they thought that Joe Biden was “too old” to be President.

In 2020, the swing states were: Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, and North Carolina. Trump won six of those states in 2016 and was elected President. In 2020 Biden won six and took the presidency for the Democrats.

The loss of Georgia in 2020 was a bitter shock for the Trump camp and holding onto Georgia has been a key priority of the Biden campaign. The last 26 polls done in Georgia have it going to Trump. November of last year was the most recent time in which a credible poll indicated Biden was ahead in the Peach State. The latest poll in Georgia has Trump with a 6-point lead over Biden – and that was before Trump thrashed Biden in Atlanta on national TV in the first of a planned two presidential debates.

Democrats have invested a lot of time and money into turning North Carolina blue. They were disappointed in 2020 that Trump held the state but were optimistic that the Tarheel State would become a safe Democrat state moving forward. An East Carolina U poll that has just been released has Trump leading Biden 48 to 43%. The last 21 credible polls show Trump winning North Carolina. The Biden camp is so wedded to the idea that they can take North Carolina that President Biden held his first campaign event – post debate in Raleigh, North Carolina on Thursday. At this point, based on the polling, Democrats may want to consider pulling resources out of North Carolina and deploy them elsewhere – where the situation on the ground is less grim for them.

Arizona is much like Georgia. Biden won it by a ridiculously narrow margin in 2020, but all the recent polling has it leaning for Trump. In fact, you have to go back over a year to find a public poll in Arizona where Biden was beating Trump. The latest poll, by Dynata, has Trump with a 6-point lead in Arizona.

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Nevada was won by Biden in 2020 and Clinton in 2016. Biden is stronger here than in other swing states. A poll in May had the race tied. The most recent poll, done by the Nevada AARP, has Trump beating Biden 48 to 45 in Nevada. Trump has won 19 of the last 20 polls done in Nevada. You have to go back to 2023 to find a poll showing Biden winning Nevada.

The most bitterly contested battleground state of any election is Pennsylvania. Trump beat Clinton there in 2016; but lost it to Biden in 2020. The latest poll in Pennsylvania, by Emerson, has Trump with a narrow two-point lead in Pennsylvania 47 to 45 percent. Trump was leading in the last eight polls in Pennsylvania. You have to go back to mid-April to find a credible poll where Biden was tied with Trump there.

The race had recently narrowed in Wisconsin where Trump had been leading in April. The latest polling has the race tied. A Marquette Law School poll has Wisconsin voters tied at 50:50 in a poll with no third-party candidates. With third-party options the same poll has Trump winning 40 percent to 37 percent. 6 of the last 10 polls in Wisconsin have Trump winning. Just one has Biden. The Marquette poll and two others had the state tied prior to the debate.

Michigan is a true tossup where almost every poll either shows it tied or within the margin of error. Trump has a 1 point lead in the latest poll performed by Emerson. Biden has to lock down Michigan for him to have any hope of securing the Whitehouse.

The Trump campaign is intent on widening the playing field and they are looking at some states that have been reliably blue in past elections.

Virginia has been safely ensconced as a blue state for twenty years and Biden won it handily in 2020. There was a Fox News poll done earlier this month showing the race in Virginia tied at 48 to 48. This confirms the findings of a previous poll performed there in mid-May by Roanoke College. The previous poll in Virginia, also done by Roanoke, back in February had Biden leading Trump 47 to 43. The Trump camp is so confident that they can win Virginia that Trump’s first event after winning the debate is there.

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Minnesota has voted for every Democratic nominee for President in the last 50 years, but Democrats could potentially lose it in November. The last poll done in Minnesota has it tied 45 to 45. This was an Emerson poll from last week. Most political prognosticators have moved Minnesota and Virginia from lean Democrat to toss-up status as a result of the recent poor polling there – again, all of these polls were before voters watched Biden meltdown on stage in Atlanta on Thursday night.

There is even polling in Maine indicating that it might even be in play for Republicans.

This analysis is based on polling – all of which occurred before anybody saw what happened on the debate stage. It is virtually a given that Trump will have a post-debate bounce in the polls once new polls question voters about the race after the debates were held. The question now is how big is that Trump bounce and does it last going forward.

Biden needed to win the debate – instead he lost it in epic fashion. Now if he is going to save his political career, he has to convince Democrats that he is still competent to be their nominee.

“Folks, I don’t walk as easy as I used to. I don’t speak as smoothly as I used to. I don’t debate as well as I used to,” Biden said at a campaign rally in Raleigh. “I know how to do this job. I know how to get things done. And I know what millions of Americans know: When you get knocked down, you get back up.”

Democrats, especially Democrats running for Congress and Senate with Biden at the top of the ticket, just saw the leader of their party get knocked down hard. They have to decide in a very short time if Biden is their nominee or do they ask the 81-year-old President to step down and open up the Democratic national convention for nominees from the floor.

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