A new poll that shows President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump virtually tied in a 2024 rematch shocked mainstream media hosts over the long weekend.
The Wall Street Journal poll, released Saturday, found that in a head-to-head matchup, Trump and Biden are split evenly at 46 percent support. That result, ABC News host George Stephanopoulos said on Sunday, is "kind of shocking" in light of the indictments against Trump.
MSNBC's Alex Witt was similarly incredulous, saying Saturday that after Trump's "mugshot and four criminal indictments, you would think President Biden would have a significant advantage, but apparently not."
New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker in an interview agreed with Witt, saying that according to "the old rules of politics," Trump "would of course have no possible viability as a candidate."
"But we're in a different era, and this is a different kind of candidate," Baker said. "The indictments … have actually seemed to embolden his base."
In a follow-up poll, released Monday, the Journal found that more voters "see Trump rather than Biden as having a record of accomplishments as president," say "Trump has a vision for the future," and describe Trump as "mentally up to the presidency."
The Journal's polls are not the only ones with bad news for Biden. Schoen Cooperman Research on Saturday released a poll with results strikingly similar to the Journal's.
"A plurality or outright majority disapprove of Biden's performance" on almost every issue, including inflation, jobs and the economy, immigration, gun violence, and health care, the poll found.
The race is close "not purely because of the strength of Trump's candidacy," pollsters Douglas Schoen and Carly Cooperman wrote, "but, rather, because of Biden's weaknesses."
The Atlantic's Ronald Brownstein on Saturday published a nearly 2,000-word piece to explain why "Biden just can't shake Trump in the polls."
Former Bernie Sanders pollster Ben Tulchin told Brownstein that "inflation exacerbates some of Biden's longest-standing electoral problems," including the president’s struggles to connect with younger voters and Latinos.
A Times poll released Tuesday found that Biden is underperforming among nonwhite voters. "These tallies might still be the worst for a Democratic leader among Black and Hispanic voters" since 1984, Times pollster Nate Cohn wrote.