by Ben Whedon
The latest Harvard/Harris survey has delivered a strong mix of bad news to President Joe Biden, with much of the public appearing to disagree with him on key policy issues, expressing concerns about his age and fitness and raising skepticism about the Justice Department’s handling of former President Donald Trump’s criminal indictment.
Public perception on the issues appears to be a winning recipe for a Trump victory in 2024. The former president is seeking to reclaim the Oval Office, and the 2024 election could be a rematch of the 2020 contest.
If the presidential election were held today, Trump would emerge as the clear favorite, with 45 percent opting for the Republican compared to 39 percent who sided with the incumbent. Fifteen percent were unsure how they would vote, according to the survey.
Conducted June 14-15, the survey questioned 2,090 registered voters.
On the issues
Biden earned a 43 percent approval rating in the June survey, compared to a 53 percent disapproval. A breakdown of approval by issues, however, suggests the public sees his record more negatively.
Biden approval on the economy is at 39 percent, at 35 percent on immigration, 37 percent on crime and violence and 36 percent on inflation. He scored slightly better on job stimulation (44 percent), fighting terrorism (43 percent), foreign affairs (40 percent), administering the government (42 percent), and reacting to coronavirus (49 percent).
Those surveyed appeared to have a more conservative view on how the country should be run, expressing support for cutting taxes (83 percent), strengthening parental rights (82 percent), encouraging charter schools (74 percent), and restricting access to transgender treatments and surgeries to those over the age of 18 (78 percent).
Respondents were more split on a six-week abortion ban, with 53 percent opposing a measure in their state. However, 64 percent opposed abortion up until birth.
Collectively, 64 percent of respondents indicated they would want to live in a state “that had legislation to cut taxes, encourage public charter schools, not allow gender surgery for kids under 18, and restricted most abortions after six weeks.”
On age and fitness
Biden has long faced questions as to his physical health and mental fitness for office. At 80, he is the oldest serving president in U.S. history. His penchant for repeating major gaffes and telling unproven stories have generated speculation that he may be suffering from cognitive decline, though staffers insist he is fully informed and engaged on issues.
Still, numerous public falls have also brought his physical health into question.
Survey respondents increasingly question his mental acuity, with 59 percent expressing doubts. That figure increased from 57 percent in May. Moreover, 66 percent say Biden is “showing he is too old” to serve in office. That figure remains largely unchanged from the 65 percent who said the same last month.
On evenhanded justice
Trump and Biden each face allegations of mishandling classified material.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to oversee each case, though thus far only Trump’s has resulted in an indictment. Moreover, voters also appear concerned the FBI is not investigating the Biden bribery allegations with sufficient rigor.
While a plurality (44 percent) say Trump is likely guilty of mishandling classified materials, a total of 56 percent say he is either innocent (30 percent), or possibly guilty but should never have been indicted (26 percent).
Fifty-seven percent expressed the belief Trump will ultimately be acquitted.
A large number of respondents were concerned about the government’s handling of the Trump case in light of similar allegations against prominent Democrats.
Seventy-two percent believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mishandled classified materials on her private email server while in that Cabinet post, while 69 percent believe she obstructed justice.
Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed also said Biden mishandled classified materials related to the discovery of documents at the Penn Biden Center, in Washington, D.C., and in his Delaware home.
At the same time, a majority of respondents believed the Justice Department conducted a politically motivated case against to affect the 2024 election, in which Trump is the clear GOP front runner.
Fifty-five percent said the case was politically motived, while 56 percent said the indictment was “an interference by the Department of Justice in the 2024 elections.”
On his own alleged malfeasance
A majority the poll’s respondents believe Biden took a $5 million bribe while vice president.
He also faces allegations that he and his son each received $5 million from Ukrainian gas firm Burisma in exchange for Biden pressuring the government of then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the firm.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents said he did it.
In addition, 66 percent of respondents doubt Biden’s claim to have never discussed his son’s business dealings with him.
A majority (55 percent) also believe the FBI is not really investigating the allegations against him outlined in a form known as an FD-1023 that documents confidential human source material.
While lawmakers have been permitted to view the document in a secure setting, the unclassified form remains hidden from the public, over which voters have expressed frustrations. Eighty-three percent want the form made public.
Pollster John McLaughlin, during a Monday appearance on the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, said the polling results suggesting “there’s real momentum to win the general election over Joe Biden” due to “buyer’s remorse.”
“And so you’ve got Trump up,” he continued. “You know, he’s up six points in the in Harvard Harris poll. … You have a tie in the Yahoo News poll. .., ABC Washington Post had Trump ahead.
“And the Rasmussen Reports. That is the only one on the Real Clear Politics average that does likely voters. They have Trump ahead of Biden 45-39.”
The RealClearPolitics polling average currently shows Biden with a 0.1 percent lead over Trump.
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