Young voters could deliver the fatal blow to Biden’s campaign

If you’re the sort of political observer who lives and dies by ex-Bill Clinton campaign boss James Carville’s admonition that “the economy, stupid” is the key to winning elections, you might be under the impression that this was a good week for President Joe Biden.

According to the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 199,000 new positions over the last month, making the total number of new jobs added since Mr Biden took office in 2021 north of 14 million, with an unemployment rate under two per cent for nearly two full years.

The once sky-high rate of inflation that plagued Mr Biden’s second year in office has dropped to just a third of what it was last year, and nearly four years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US has achieved a better rate of growth with a lower inflation rate than any other developed economy.

You might also think Mr Biden has things on the right track if you saw a recent CNN poll showing that more than a supermajority of American adults — 73 per cent — agree that the federal government should orchestrate policies meant to slash in half America’s greenhouse gas production over the next seven years.

And with climate concerns being a major issue for the multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition that powered Mr Biden’s 2020 election win over former president Donald Trump, it might lead one to believe that the 46th president is on course for a strong re-election bid.

Unfortunately for Mr Biden, his 2024 campaign is flying into what looks to be hurricane-force headwinds, as detailed by an Emerson College poll released on Friday.

The survey found that voters under 30 years of age are turning away from the 81-year-old president, with 76 per cent of younger voters complaining that their parents had more or better economic opportunities than their generation does.

According to the survey, Mr Trump holds a four-point lead over the man who defeated him in 2020, with 47 per cent support to Mr Biden’s 43 per cent. Another nine per cent of voters surveyed said they are still undecided at this point.

The results get worse for the 46th president when GOP favourite and professed spoiler Robert F Kennedy Jr’s independent bid is included in the survey, along with third-party candidates Cornel West and Jill Stein.

Mr Kennedy, the scion of the famed Democratic dynasty who is better known these days as a contrarian, anti-vaccine crackpot and conspiracy theorist, pulls in seven per cent of support under those circumstances, with Mr West and Ms Stein each garnering one per cent.

With those other candidates in the mix, Mr Trump’s support drops to 43 per cent in that hypothetical five-way race, but Mr Biden takes even more of a hit, dropping to 39 per cent, with 12 per cent of voters undecided.

But a look at the polling data shows even more trouble ahead for the incumbent president. According to the Emerson survey results, voters under 30 years of age — a bloc that overwhelmingly rejected Mr Trump in 2020 — are far more amenable to voting for the indicted alleged felon who has said he would be a “dictator” on his first day in office.

A whopping 40 per cent of young voters are in Mr Trump’s corner, according to Emerson, while only five per cent more — 45 per cent —say they’d vote to re-elect Mr Biden. A full 16 per cent remain undecided between the two.

Even more shocking is the breakdown in results with voters between ages 25 and 29, with 44 per cent supporting Mr Trump and 42 per cent supporting Mr Biden. The incumbent fares better with younger voters under 25, 48 per cent of whom support him compared to Mr Trump’s 25 per cent.

People in and around the White House and Mr Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware-based campaign maintain that the president’s dismal polling is a function of the time remaining before next year’s general election. They frequently point to past polling in previous re-election races, including former president Barack Obama’s successful 2012 bid against now-Senator Mitt Romney.

But Mr Obama, a once-in-a-generation political talent, wasn’t facing a former president looking to reclaim the White House for a revenge-filled rampage.

And he wasn’t running for re-election in an environment dominated by social media, where virality and vibes often outweigh dispassionate recitations of the facts.

Add to that the fact that younger voters are sharply breaking with Mr Biden over his support for Israel, plus the news that White House negotiators are currently in talks to enact some form of restrictions on asylum at the US-Mexico border in exchange for funding Ukraine’s defence against Russia, and you have a recipe for a Generation Z backlash that will doom those younger voters to another for years of Mr Trump.