There’s little appetite for a 2020 rematch in the coming presidential election, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, as majorities of registered voters within each party say they’d rather see someone new nominated in 2024.
About 6 in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they want their party to nominate someone other than former President Donald Trump in 2024 (62%), while a similar 59% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they’d like to see someone other than President Joe Biden at the top of their ticket in the next presidential election. When pressed, though, a majority of Republican-aligned voters who say they’d like someone other than Trump to win the nomination indicate they would ultimately vote for him if he did emerge as the nominee. An even larger majority of Democratic-aligned voters with a similar opposition to Biden as their party’s nominee say they would vote for him in a general election if he won their party’s primary.
Support for another Trump bid for the presidency among Republican-aligned voters has declined across three CNN polls on the topic this year. In January, the poll found a near-even split: 50% said they hoped Trump would be the nominee and 49% wanted someone else. By July, 44% wanted Trump to be the party’s nominee, and now, 38% say the same.
The steepest drops in support for a Trump bid came among older Republican-aligned voters (from 55% of Republicans and Republican-leaners 65 or older supporting a Trump bid in January to 37% in support of one now), White voters with college degrees (from 31% backing Trump in January to 16% now) and those who describe themselves as very conservative (from 65% behind a Trump bid then to 42% now).
Among those who want someone other than Trump to be the nominee, 47% have a specific alternate candidate in mind, including 38% who singled out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. No other potential nominee was named by more than 1%. The survey also finds DeSantis’ favorability among Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters overall outpacing the former president’s ratings: 74% view DeSantis favorably and 7% unfavorably, while 63% have a favorable view of Trump and 28% an unfavorable one.
Despite tepid support for Trump to win the nomination, the survey finds the former president would likely enjoy majority backing among Republican-aligned voters in the general election if he did emerge as the party’s candidate. About two-thirds of those who want someone else to be the nominee also say they would definitely (36%) or probably (30%) vote for Trump if he did become the party’s nominee. In total, roughly 8 in 10 Republican-aligned voters either want Trump to be the nominee (38%) or say they would likely vote for him if he won the party’s nod(41%).
About half of Republican-aligned voters (52%) say that Trump has had a good effect on the Republican Party, down from 69% who felt that way in March 2021. A third (33%) say he’s had a bad effect, and 15% that he hasn’t made much difference.
Slightly increased appetite for Biden as the nominee run since the summer
The share of Democratic-aligned voters who would like to see Biden as their party’s nominee has rebounded somewhat from the low point it reached in CNN’s polling this summer, when just 25% said they wanted Biden to be the nominee. Still, fewer now say that they’d like Biden to be the nominee (40%) than felt that way in January (45%).
Compared with January, there’s been a steeper increase in support for nominating someone other than Biden among Democratic-aligned voters of color (from 43% to 53%) than among White voters (from 57% to 63%) and among independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (from 60% to 77%) than self-identified Democrats (from 48% to 53%). Younger Democratic-aligned voters are also notably less supportive of a Biden-led presidential ticket than are older voters (74% of those younger than 35 would like to see someone else at the top of the ticket compared with just 43% of those age 65 or older).
Among Democrats who say they’d like someone else as the party’s nominee, nearly three-quarters (72%) say they have no one specific in mind. Among those who do name another candidate, 5% mention Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 4% California Gov. Gavin Newsom, 4% Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 3% Vice President Kamala Harris and 2% Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Biden’s favorability among his partisans outpaces favorable views of two other Democrats who are possible contenders for the presidential nomination: Harris and Newsom. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters, 83% have a favorable view of Biden, and 11% an unfavorable one. Harris scores a 66% favorability rating, with 14% holding an unfavorable view, and Newsom a 45% favorable rating with 9% unfavorable and 46% with no opinion of him.
Even those Democrats who are not fully on board with a Biden run for a second term still largely say they would back him if he did become the party’s nominee. Among the 59% of Democratic-aligned voters who would prefer another nominee, about half, 51%, say they would definitely vote for Biden if he became the nominee and another 28% say they would probably back him. All told, 86% of Democrats either support Biden for the nomination or say they would likely vote for him in the general election if he were the nominee.
A narrow majority of Democratic-aligned voters, 53%, see Biden as having had a good effect on the Democratic Party, while 9% say he’s had a bad effect and 38% say that he hasn’t made much difference.
More broadly, though, the poll suggests a Biden bid for a second term might begin on shaky ground. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the president does not deserve reelection (62%), while only 37% say he does. Republicans and Republican leaners are near universal in their view that he should not be reelected (94% say he does not deserve a second term). Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 70% say the president does deserve a second term, 28% that he does not. Biden’s sharpest critics within the party are again the youngest members of his party: Only 56% of those younger than 35 who align with the Democratic Party say Biden deserves a second term, compared with 80% among those age 50 or older who are Democrats or Democratic-leaners.
At the same time, the poll finds multiple measures of Biden’s popularity improving. Overall favorable views of the president stand at 42% favorable to 52% unfavorable. It’s a negative rating, but a shift toward the positive since this summer when only 36% held a favorable view. Findings from the same poll released earlier this week showed an uptick in Biden’s approval rating, from 41% just before the election to 46% now. Beyond those two measures, nearly two-thirds of adults say they see Biden’s views and policies as generally mainstream (63%) rather than too extreme (37%), about the same as in a CNN poll in late summer 2021.
Trump has seen no such shift in his favorability rating. Just 31% in the new poll rate him positively, the smallest share to do so since before he was elected president, while 60% hold an unfavorable view. And a broad majority say they see Trump’s views and policies as too extreme – 68% say so, including 45% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents – while only 32% see the former president as generally mainstream.
This CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS on December 1 through 7 among a random national sample of 1,208 adults drawn from a probability-based panel. Surveys were either conducted online or by telephone with a live interviewer. Results among the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 points; it is larger for subgroups.