Democrats Increasingly Believe Biden Should Run in 2024 — but if He Doesn’t, Harris Remains the Slight Favorite

28% of Democratic voters would support Harris in a Bidenless primary, down from 33% in December
September 28, 2022 at 6:00 am UTC

Democratic voters have become increasingly likely to say President Joe Biden should run for re-election in 2024 after his string of summer wins, but a new Morning Consult/Politico survey suggests if he doesn’t run, Vice President Kamala Harris is in the strongest early position for the party’s nomination, though there’s plenty of room for other candidates.

Harris Still Leads Potential Field in a Bidenless 2024 Primary

Share of Democratic voters who said they would vote for the following in a 2024 presidential primary if President Joe Biden does not run:
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Surveys conducted in 2021 and 2022 among at least 751 Democratic registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of up to +/-4 percentage points.

How a Bidenless 2024 primary might look

  • According to the Sept. 23-25 survey, 28% of Democratic voters said they would vote for Harris in a hypothetical Democratic presidential primary without Biden on the ballot, down from 33% in a December survey.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has backing from 13% of Democratic voters for a 2024 bid, topping the highest level of support he garnered among potential Democratic primary voters during the 2020 nominating contest after his victory in the Iowa caucuses. He’s the only name other than Harris to notch double-digit support, with a quarter of Democratic voters (24%) unsure.
  • Next on the list are New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, at 8% and 7%, respectively, both virtually unchanged from December. They’re followed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, whom 6% of Democrats said they’d support, up from 3% over that time frame.
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper received marginal support in the survey.

The state of 2024 for Democrats

At this point, Harris, who’s taken a prominent role in the Biden administration’s push back against Republican efforts to curtail abortion rights, garners a similar level of support that Biden had at the beginning of 2019.

While the Californian could enter the race as a front-runner, she wouldn’t be a prohibitive favorite, as the survey suggests a relatively open contest if the incumbent president opts not to seek a second term. Though many Democratic voters are undecided, the current leaders of a sans-Biden race don’t neatly align with the most progressive lane of the Democratic Party, which put up a fierce fight against Biden in 2020.

The whole exercise of testing a Bidenless field may well be for naught. None of the names tested have declared, and while Biden told CBS’ “60 Minutes” it is “much too early to make that kind of decision,” he and his allies have said he intends to run for re-election in 2024, which more Democratic voters are coming around to after a summertime slump in support.

Democrats Are Rallying Behind a Biden Re-Election Bid

Democratic voters were asked if they believe President Joe Biden should run for president in 2024
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Surveys conducted in 2021 and 2022 among at least 751 Democratic registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of up to +/-4 percentage points.

How Democrats feel about Biden ’24

  • Roughly 3 in 5 Democratic voters (59%) said Biden should run for re-election in 2024, up from a 51% low set in early July before Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, the president’s signature legislative achievement of the year.
  • Over the same time period, separate Morning Consult surveys have found the share of Democratic voters who said Biden has been keeping his promises rose — from 50% in a July 7-9 survey to 69% now. It came as the share of Democrats who said they’ve heard positive news about Biden increased by roughly the same number (44% to 64%), aligning with falling gas prices and the timeline of the party’s major policy victory.
  • On the other side of the aisle, 63% of Republican voters said former President Donald Trump should run in 2024. Among the GOP electorate, 46% said Trump should “definitely” run, greater than the 28% of Democratic voters who expressed such fervor for a Biden bid.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Sept. 23-25, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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