President Joe Biden showed his highest approval rating in a year in a new NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll, demonstrating that his State of the Union address may have helped bolster perceptions of his presidency.
Forty-six percent of respondents said they approved of Biden in the poll, and that number jumped to 49% when only registered voters were counted.
Looking at ratings by party, his approval with Democrats went from 85% to 88%, from 32% to 36% with independents, and even ticked up two points among Republicans from 13% to 15%.
While most of his base now seems to have found new faith in his 2024 candidacy, his numbers with independents and Republicans show that he is still lacking enough support to get re-elected at this point.
Still, it's an improvement from the 36% overall support Biden had in July 2022, his lowest showing in this liberal poll.
Biden is said to be preparing for a 2024 bid, but has hesitated longer than some thought he might, raising questions about whether he's having second thoughts about staying in office until he is 86 (if he lives that long).
Many Democrats have spoken anonymously to news outlets expressing concerns about Biden's 2024 chances and whether he has the mental aptitude to run or to stay in office that long.
His status as party leader has many figuring he's the best chance they've got to stay in power, however, even if he is or becomes a symbolic figurehead rather than an actual leader.
Previous surveys have seen a majority of voters saying they prefer another candidate rather than Biden atop the 2024 ticket, but this poll said that half think Biden is their best chance for a Democrat in the White House in 2024, while only 45% said they thought another candidate would be better.
On the other side of the aisle, 54% of Republican voters and Republican-leaning independents said they thought someone other than former President Donald Trump should be on the 2024 GOP ticket, while 42% said they thought Trump was the best candidate--up 7% from the previous poll.
The other obvious frontrunner on the GOP side is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but he lags behind Trump in many recent polls of GOP voters.
Looking at hypothetical matchups, the results are mixed. FiveThirtyEight poll averages show Trump beating Biden 48% to 44%, but that's closer than the generic ballot average of 48% Republican, 41% Democrat.
This far out from the 2024 presidential race, that number is extremely bad for Democrats, who are usually way ahead this far out even if a Republican eventually wins.
The last two elections showed that it is increasingly difficult to predict anything anymore as demographic changes and an increasingly flaky electorate take their toll.