An overwhelming majority of polled Democrats expressed that they want President Joe Biden to participate in a series of debates during the 2024 election campaign, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll.
Eight out of 10 (80%) of Democratic primary voters told pollsters that they'd like to see debates out of the Democratic National Committee, which includes 72% of those who said they plan on supporting President Biden. The poll consisted of 293 registered voters who said they will vote in Democratic primaries and caucuses.
However, almost immediately after Biden announced in April 2023 that he would seek re-election, the word that the Democrats would not sponsor any debates spread like wildfire. The Washington Post reported that the DNC said it would support Biden's re-election but that the president faced no serious opposition.
"As you know, no incumbent R [Republican] or D [Democrat] have done debates," Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told USA Today in an email.
If there were debates, they would undoubtedly need to include the only two candidates who are polling: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson.
Biden's polling numbers against the other Democratic candidates has slightly increased in recent weeks, with a small bump up to 62% favorability, according to RealClear Politics. Kennedy has dropped by more than four points since late May, down to 15.8%. Williamson dropped from 8% to 6.5% in the same time, leaving approximately 15.7% of Democrat voters undecided.
RFK Jr. recently visited the U.S.-Mexico border and referred to it as a "dystopian nightmare" that could have been prevented. The candidate posted a video from the Yuma, Arizona, border crossing to his Twitter account and stated, "You have to see it with your own eyes."
Weeks earlier, actor James Van Der Beek called out the Democratic Party and accused officials of being "back room" operators for not agreeing to host any debates.
"There's no debate, there's no democracy. No primary, no legitimate president," Van Der Beek said in a video posted to TikTok.
"How do we have a government, how do we have democracy if we're letting a small, little back room of people make all the important decisions for us?" he asked. "That's not a democracy, and it doesn't work. Because y'all have been wrong about a lot these last couple years in that back room. No debate, no democracy."
While the president's 46-point lead over RFK Jr. is wider than former President Donald Trump's 33-point gap between himself and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump faces a field of 10 opponents and still holds a 55% favorability rating as a candidate. That is only seven points lower than Biden's lead over just two challengers.
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