More bad news for Biden: Is it ‘rosy retrospection’ or just fact?

MORE BAD NEWS FOR BIDEN: IS IT ‘ROSY RETROSPECTION’ OR JUST FACT? The 2024 presidential election is extraordinary in a lot of ways, but especially in this one: Voters can judge the presidential job performance of both major candidates. It has only happened once before, in 1892, when former President Grover Cleveland ran against incumbent President Benjamin Harrison. (Cleveland won and became the only U.S. president, so far, to serve two nonconsecutive terms.)

This extraordinary situation — because both men have served as president, voters can compare the job each did — is at the heart of new polling from the Wall Street Journal. And the news is far better for the former president, Donald Trump, than the sitting president, Joe Biden.

The poll covered seven closely contested states considered critical to the 2024 election: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In two-way matchups, the survey found Trump leading Biden in six of those states. Trump is up by 5 points in Arizona, 1 point in Georgia, 3 points in Michigan, 6 points in North Carolina, 4 points in Nevada, and 3 points in Pennsylvania. In the seventh state, Wisconsin, the two candidates are tied.

The numbers are consistent with the findings of other swing-state polls, and they undercut some of the recent wishful commentary about a Biden comeback. But the most interesting part of the Wall Street Journal poll came from these two questions: One, do you approve or disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president? And two, do you approve or disapprove of the job Trump did as president?

Biden’s results were terrible — 38% job approval versus 60% disapproval. Trump’s were far better — 51% job approval versus 47% disapproval. Now remember, those are just the results from the seven swing states combined. But still, those are the states that will likely determine who wins in November, and Trump is doing much better than Biden.

The results are ominous for the current president. First, they might show that voters simply think Trump did a better job than Biden, and most voters would of course choose the man who did the better job. Second, they might show that Trump voters are experiencing what is sometimes called the “rosy retrospection” effect — that is, they think that everything was better in the past. Or third, perhaps on some key issues, such as the economy, immigration, and international affairs, things really were better when Trump was president, and a vote for Trump over Biden would be a fact-based decision.

Any way you look at it, it’s terrible news for Biden. Last November, I posted a very simple formula on X. “Trump has the simplest campaign pitch in the world,” I wrote. “1) Things were good when I was president. 2) Everything went to hell when Joe Biden became president. 3) Elect me and I’ll make things good again. That’s the whole campaign.”

Indeed it is. And short of suddenly becoming a great president, there might be little Biden can do about it.

For a deeper dive into many of the topics covered in the Daily Memo, please listen to my podcast, The Byron York Show — available on Radio America and the Ricochet Audio Network and everywhere else podcasts can be found.

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