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Biden kicks off reelection bid amid obstacles including low poll numbers, inflation and rival Trump

Biden has huge lead on his primary challengers, but polling averages show him trailing Trump in a hypothetical 2024 matchup by about 2 percentage points.

Published: June 18, 2023 12:15am

President Biden on Saturday kicked off his 2024 reelection bid in Pennsylvania to a warm, union-backed response in a voter-friendly state that will likely be more challenging to replicate in other states amid persistent inflation, questions about his age and a possible rematch with GOP rival Donald Trump. 

"I’m looking forward to this campaign,” Biden said at the Philadelphia Convention Center to cries of “four more years.”

“We’ve got a record to run on," he continued. 

To be sure, Biden as president led the U.S. out of the final stages of the pandemic without the economy crashing and the labor market largely holding steady. 

On Saturday, he also highlighted the climate, tax and health care package signed into law last year that cut the cost of prescription drugs and lowered insurance premiums – pocketbook issues that advisers, according to the Associated Press, say will be the centerpiece of his argument for another term.

However, the COVID-19-related emergency spending that Trump, then Biden signed into law also contributed to record-high inflation, which has declined but still remains at about 4%, roughly double the objective of 2%.

Inflation is one of the major concerns for 2024 voters, particularly young voters. According to a recent survey conducted by Tufts University, 41% of voters in the 18-29 demographic said inflation and gas prices were among their top concerns.

In Biden's roughly first 18 months in the White House, Republicans and their supporters have sought to erode the president's favorability among voters with attacks and congressional hearings including ones on whether he had influence as vice president over son Hunter Biden's questionable overseas business deals.

However, he also faces questions and concerns within his own party.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released in April found less than half of Democrats – 47% – say they want him to run again.

Biden staffers say the 80-year-old president remains sharp on policy issues and has the stamina for another four years, despite his long-standing and frequent public gaffes.

However, roughly two months ago, Biden's job approval rating hit a record low, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll that also showed 68% of Americans say he's too old for another term as president.

On Saturday, Biden, a former Delaware senator, also returned to the state in which was born and which he won in 2020 over incumbent Republican Trump – 50-48.8%

Winning the swing state has become critical for a modern day U.S. presidential nominee, and next year will be no different.

Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 over Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, 48.8-47.6%, a margin considered the narrowest in U.S. presidential elections.

Despite Trump having a double-digit lead on a large GOP presidential field, polling shows a hypothetical matchup between him and Biden appears close, with Election Day still far off in November 2024. 

The most recent polls average show Trump leading Biden 45-43.2%.

Biden has only two official, well known challengers in the Democratic primary, environment lawyer and Kennedy family scion  Robert Kennedy Jr. and author Marianna Williamson. 

Biden holds a roughly 46-point lead over Kennedy, his closest challenge, with Williamson polling in single digits, according to another, recent RCP polls average

On Saturday, amid a crowd filled with members of the influential AFL-CIO labor union, Biden referred to himself as the country's most "pro-union president."

"There are a lot of politicians in this country who can't say the word 'union,'" said Biden, whose long political career has relied upon such support. "You know I’m not one of them. I'm proud to say the word. I'm proud to be the most pro-union president in American history."

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