Californians have little appetite for a rematch of the 2020 presidential race, according to a new poll from the UC Berkeley Institute for Government Studies, with a large majority of state voters expecting neither President Biden nor former President Trump to run again. in two years.
The poll, co-sponsored by The Times, found that about 6 in 10 respondents are against Biden attempting a second term in 2024, a surprising reluctance in a solidly Democratic state that he he won handily. Another Trump campaign would be even less popular, with more than 70% opposed.
Vice President Kamala Harris, widely considered Biden’s representative chosen successor to lead the party, he’s also struggling to find traction in California, his home state, lagging behind Gov. Gavin Newsom and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont as voters’ choice for president if Biden doesn’t run. But no candidate emerges as the consensus favorite for the Democratic nomination in this early gauge of possible 2024 contenders.
“While many California Democrats are unconvinced that Biden should run again, the absence of a clear Democratic alternative may allow [him] more room to avoid a serious primary challenge if he decides to seek re-election,” said Eric Schickler, co-director of the Institute for Government Studies.
The findings come at a time when Democrats are increasingly voicing concerns about the upcoming presidential campaign.
Biden, 79, has consistently said he intends to run but has already made history as the oldest president. Republicans frequently call attention to his age, questioning his fitness for the job. He will be 82 years old on Inauguration Day 2025.
“The age factor should be on the minds of many voters,” said Mark DiCamillo, who co-directs the institute.
Only 3 in 10 California voters in the survey said they supported another Biden candidacy, while 61% opposed it, about the same proportion of votes he won in the state in 2020. Among respondents who voted for him two years ago years, almost half said they were opposed to its reintroduction. And among voters with favorable views of Biden’s current job performance, nearly 30% said they wouldn’t like to see him run in 2024.
There is also no loud clamor in California for Harris, 57, the state’s former US senator, to take up the mantle of the Democratic Party. the vice president approval ratings have scored, even in their home state.
Her allies see an opportunity for Harris to break out of the polls doldrums by leading the management efforts to preserve the right to abortion. Still, voters eligible to participate in the Democratic presidential primary in California — those registered as Democrats or with no party preference — ranked her third on a list of possible candidates for the Democratic nomination if Biden is not on the ballot in two years; 1 in 10 had Harris as her first choice.
“You would think that the acting vice president would be a natural alternative [to Biden], especially one from our own state,” DiCamillo said. “That doesn’t show up in this survey.”
Harris follows fellow Californian Newsom, 54, and Sanders, 80, the two-time presidential candidate who won the state’s Democratic primary in 2020. Newsom and Sanders ranked as the top choice of 13% of those polled.
Newsom makes more headway when taking into account respondents’ second-choice candidates. A quarter of California Democratic and No Party Preference voters cited Newsom as their first or second choice, while 18% said Sanders and Harris were in their top two.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, where Newsom and Harris built their political careers, Newsom has an 8-point lead over Harris as voters’ first or second choice.
Newsom has repeatedly said he does not plan to run for president in 2024. Still, speculation abounds that he may have ambitions for the White House while staying in the national spotlight. The mocks the red state Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas with television and newspaper ads, posts comments on Trump’s conservative social network, and criticizes his own party for its meek response to the abortion rights rollback.
“He’s filling a void,” DiCamillo said. “It shows you that there is room and space for another voice to appear within the Democratic Party.”
Although only a quarter of California voters in the survey said they want to see Trump, 76, run again in two years, the former president remains the strong favorite among Republicans in the state. Two-thirds of registered Republican voters said they back another Trump ticket, compared with 7% of Democrats and 21% of voters who are not aligned with a party.
However, unlike the Democratic side, there is a clearer consensus for an alternative Republican candidate. DeSantis, 43, would be the first choice for 27% of registered California Republicans surveyed, even if Trump were to run as well. Support for DeSantis rises to 53% with Trump off the ballot. The next closest contender, former Vice President Mike Pence, got just 9% in a hypothetical primary without Trump.
With so much time before Election Day in 2024, the positions of potential candidates on both sides are bound to change. For DiCamillo, the most important takeaway is that Californians want to avoid repeating 2020, and they feel strongly about it.
“When you ask about Biden, 41% strongly oppose him running. When you go to Trump, he is 65%,” DiCamillo said. “That is an incredibly large number of voters who say they disapprove or strongly oppose his candidacy.”
Overall, Biden receives a mixed assessment from California voters, who are evenly split at 48% approval and 48% disapproval. The appraisal, which remained relatively steady in February and April Institute for Government Studies polls, remains low for a Democratic president in staunchly blue California, but tops Biden’s national approval ratings, which hover around 40%, according to Average of recent FiveThirtyEight polls.
Nearly three-quarters of Democrats in the latest Berkeley Institute poll gave Biden positive ratings, but he is underwater with voters with no party preference, 51% of whom disapprove of his job performance. California Republicans are almost uniformly bitter at Biden, with 92% giving him a low rating.
the UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies Survey surveyed 9,254 registered California voters from August 9-15. The survey was administered online in English and Spanish. The estimated global sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points. Among Democratic primary voters, the estimated sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 points, and among Republican primary voters, it is plus or minus 3 points.
This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.