Why Less Engaged Voters Are Biden’s Biggest Problem

Higher turnout is not necessarily positive for Democrats. Credit…Adria Malcolm for The New York Times

If you’re looking to reconcile the surprisingly strong Democratic showing in the midterm elections with President Biden’s weakness in the polls today, consider the political attitudes of two groups of respondents from New York Times/Siena College polls over the last year.

First, let’s consider the 2,775 respondents from Group A:

  • It’s relatively old: 31 percent are 65 or older; 9 percent are under 30.

  • It’s split politically: 33 percent identify as Republicans compared with 31 percent who consider themselves Democrats.

  • About 72 percent are white. Black and Hispanic respondents are at 9 percent each.

  • It’s relatively well educated: 41 percent have a college degree.

Next, let’s look at the 1,534 respondents from Group B:

  • It’s relatively young: 26 percent are 18 to 29; 17 percent are 65 or older.

  • It’s relatively Democratic: 26 percent identify as Democrats, compared with 19 percent who identify as Republicans.

  • Only 54 percent are white; 13 percent are Black and 19 percent are Hispanic.

  • Just 28 percent have a college degree.

Mr. Biden probably won Group B by a comfortable margin in the 2020 presidential election, whether based on fancy statistical models or based on what those respondents told us themselves.

But it’s actually Group B that backs Donald J. Trump in Times/Siena polling over the last year. Mr. Trump leads Mr. Biden, 41-39, among Group B respondents, while Group A backs Mr. Biden, 47-43.

OK, now the reveal:

“Group A” is people who voted in the 2022 midterm elections.

“Group B” is people who did notvote in the 2022 midterms.

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