Biden Extends Sizeable Lead Over RFK Jr. Among Democratic Primary Voters

Survey trends suggest the president’s base is coalescing around his re-election bid
image portraying biden's approval rating among young voters
Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Tadi Martinez
September 06, 2023 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • A record-high 76% of potential Democratic primary voters say they’d vote for Joe Biden if the party’s presidential nominating contest were held in their state today.

  • A record-low 9% say they’d vote for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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A segment of Democratic voters may continue to harbor concerns about President Joe Biden’s re-election bid, but survey trends suggest he is growing stronger with the base.

Biden Posts His Biggest Lead Yet in the Democratic Primary Race

Share of potential Democratic primary voters who said they would vote for the following if a 2024 presidential nominating contest were held in their state today:
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Surveys conducted in 2023 among more than 800 registered voters each who said they plan to vote in the 2024 Democratic presidential primary or caucus in their state, with unweighted margins of error of +/-3 percentage points.

According to the latest Morning Consult tracking, 76% of potential Democratic primary voters said they’d vote for Biden if the party’s presidential nominating contest were held in their state today. That’s a record high so far this year and up from 70% in early April, a few weeks before he officially announced his plans to seek a second term.

While Biden faces no serious challengers for the Democratic presidential nomination, the presence of gadfly candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson have contributed to some unhelpful headlines for his re-election bid in recent months. But the survey also suggests those candidates may have already seen their own high-water marks.

Kennedy and Williamson posted respective shares of 9% and 3% — record lows for their campaigns so far — though both figures were within the margins of error for our surveys testing the race. Kennedy’s decline could be the latest sign that as Democratic voters hear more of his iconoclastic pitch, the less they think of him. As my colleague, U.S. Politics Analyst Eli Yokley, noted earlier this summer, Kennedy’s popularity is trending up with Republicans and down with Democrats.

What’s at stake for Biden

Morning Consult’s early tracking of the hypothetical general-election contest between Biden and former President Donald Trump has shown the race to be a jump ball, due in no small part to Biden’s weakness among younger voters, nonwhite voters and independents relative to 2020 exit data.

If Biden ends up facing Trump for a second time next year, his success will depend largely on whether he is able to replicate the anti-Trump coalition that has dealt Republicans decisive losses for the past three election cycles. A key part of that will be unifying the many different segments of the Democratic base that turned out for him in 2020.

Specific demographics at scale: Surveying thousands of consumers around the world every day powers our ability to examine and analyze perceptions and habits of more specific demographics at scale, like those featured here.

Why it matters: Leaders need a better understanding of their audiences when making key decisions. Our comprehensive approach to understanding audience profiles complements the “who” of demographics and the “what” of behavioral data with critical insights and analysis on the “why.”

While Morning Consult’s tracking of the Democratic primary picture brings good news for the Biden campaign, it also makes clear that there’s more work to do in unifying the party. And though he can likely count on a renomination for Trump to bring more voters back to his side, it would help his cause if he can make sure the voters who backed him in 2020 have something to vote for next year — and not just something to vote against.

A headshot photograph of Cameron Easley
Cameron Easley
Lead U.S. Politics Analyst

Cameron Easley is Morning Consult’s lead analyst for U.S. politics. Prior to moving into his current role, he led Morning Consult's editorial coverage of U.S. politics and elections from 2016 through 2022. Cameron joined Morning Consult from Roll Call, where he was managing editor. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Follow him on Twitter @cameron_easley. Interested in connecting with Cameron to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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