• Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Can Joe Biden still win? Here’s how the former incumbents fared

No president wants to give up the power and prestige that comes with the job after just one term, and Joe Biden is no exception. He is going ahead even though polls show a majority of Americans don’t want to see him run again.

We went back to see when modern presidents announced their decision to run for a second term, what their Gallup approval ratings were at the time, and how things turned out for them.

A theme: primary battles are a sign of whether a president will be re-elected. That’s good news for Biden, who appears to have shunned any significant challengers.


He was vice president when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1945, near the end of World War II. Truman decided to run for a full term, and he announced his candidacy on March 8, 1948. He had a 53% approval rating in a poll taken two months earlier. Truman was expected to lose the general election to Thomas Dewey, a Republican, but he won a narrow victory.

Truman announced on March 29, 1952 that he would not seek a full second term after losing in the New Hampshire primary to Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. His approval rating had dropped to 22% amid economic hardship and the Korean War.


Eisenhower, a Republican, had a 75% approval rating shortly before announcing his re-election campaign on February 29, 1956. He had suffered a heart attack months earlier at the age of 64, which had him wondering if he would show up.

As the former Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, Eisenhower convinced Americans that he was the right leader on the world stage. He defeated Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson.


Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, before he had a chance to run for a second term.


Johnson was vice president at the time of Kennedy’s death, and he soon ran for his first full term in 1964, winning a landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater. However, the Democrat’s popularity slipped a lot during the Vietnam War and domestic unrest.

It became clear that Johnson was in danger of losing his party’s 1968 nomination after Eugene McCarthy’s strong showing in the New Hampshire primary. Soon after, Johnson shocked the country by announcing on March 31, 1968, that he would not seek a second term. His approval rating was just 36% that month.


Nixon had a 50% approval rating when he announced his re-election campaign on January 7, 1972. The Watergate break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters occurred that summer, but the scandal did not not grown enough to drag it down.

Nixon, a Republican, defeated George McGovern, a Democrat, in a landslide. However, he would not complete his second term, resigning in 1974 after Watergate revelations caught up with him.

Gerald FORD

Ford, a Republican, became president when Nixon resigned and he announced he would run for a full term on July 8, 1975. He had a 52% approval rating the previous month.

He faced dissatisfaction with inflation and controversy over his decision to pardon Nixon, and he lost the election to Jimmy Carter, a Democrat.


Carter announced his re-election campaign on December 4, 1979. His approval rating had just reached 51%. However, the American people had grown weary of inflation, an energy crisis and the taking of hostages in Iran. Carter was hurt by an initial challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy, and he was eventually defeated by Ronald Reagan, a Republican.


Reagan announced his re-election bid on January 29, 1984. His approval rating was 52% that month. Despite concerns about his age – he was 73 and the oldest president in history at the time – Reagan easily beat Walter Mondale, a Democrat.


Bush’s popularity skyrocketed after the Gulf War, when US forces drove Iraq out of Kuwait. However, his approval rating had fallen to 65% by the time he announced his re-election campaign on October 11, 1991.

Pat Buchanan challenged Bush in the Republican primary. Although Bush won the nomination, his chance for a second term faded amid an economic downturn. He ultimately lost to Bill Clinton, a Democrat.


Clinton’s approval rating was 47% when he announced he would run for re-election on April 14, 1995. Democrats had suffered a midterm election in 1994, leading some to wonder whether Clinton would be a one-term president. But he bounced back with the help of a growing economy and he defeated Bob Dole, a Republican.


The September 11, 2001 attacks led Bush, a Republican, to invade Afghanistan, followed by another war in Iraq. A month after US forces entered Baghdad, Bush announced that he would run for office on May 16, 2003. His approval rating was 69% that month. He beat John Kerry, a Democrat.


Obama, a Democrat, had a 48% approval rating when he announced his re-election campaign on April 4, 2011. He struggled to convince Americans that the economy was improving after the financial meltdown and the ensuing recession, but he eventually defeated Mitt Romney, a Republican. .


Trump, a Republican, announced he would run for re-election on June 18, 2019. The previous month, his approval rating was 41%. He was first impeached at the end of the year, then the coronavirus pandemic crippled the economy. Joe Biden, a Democrat, defeated Trump, who tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

Joe Biden

Biden announced his re-election campaign on April 25. His approval rating was 40% the previous month. Biden would be 86 at the end of a second term, raising concerns that he may be too old to keep such a demanding job.

However, Biden has not attracted any significant primary challengers. The only Democrats in the running are Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Meanwhile, Trump leads in Republican primary polls as he seeks the party’s nomination, raising the potential for a rematch with Biden.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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