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If Biden doesn't run in 2024, Democrats want Kamala Harris or Hillary Clinton to run instead

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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Could Hillary Clinton make a political comeback as the 2024 Democratic nominee for president? Apparently, nearly one in five Democratic voters would line up to support her in the event that President Joe Biden does not seek re-election.

Those results come from a new new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll of reported by The Hill on Monday that is full of bad news for the president.

Among registered voters surveyed, a 55% majority say they have "doubts" that Biden is mentally fit to serve as president. A greater 62% majority think that the 79-year-old chief executive is showing he is "too old" to be president.

Those who identified as Democrats were more supportive of the president — only 33% said he was too old and 78% think he is fit to serve. Nevertheless, were the Democratic primary for the 2024 presidential election held today, Biden would only earn support from a third of Democratic voters surveyed. Biden held just a 34% plurality of support among 10 prospective candidates, including former rivals Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Ouch.

There's no way to sugar-coat these poll results. Only a third of voters say the country is on the "right track" and the vast majority (63%) think the economy is "weak" under Biden. The president's approval rating is drowning underwater at 39%, and he gets failing grades on his handling of inflation, immigration, foreign affairs, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Inflation is either the first or second biggest concern for 53% of survey respondents. A total of 76% of voters say they've been impacted by inflation, with most saying they're hardest hit when they buy groceries or gas.

Given Biden's age and his poor performance rating, it's conceivable that he declines to seek a second term in three years. If he doesn't run, the Democratic nomination would be wide open, though 28% of Democrats say they want Vice President Kamala Harris to be the party's standard-bearer. Hillary Clinton comes in second-place with 15% support, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 9%, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at 8%. Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) make up the "also ran" category of a hypothetical 2024 field.

Over on the Republican side, former President Donald Trump remains the clear favorite for the 2024 nomination. Trump would win 59% of GOP primary voters in a hypothetical 2024 campaign, with the runner-up former Vice President Mike Pence claiming 11% support and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 10%.

If he declines to run again, DeSantis leads the imaginary GOP field with 28% support, followed by Pence at 24%, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 10%.

While Trump has not yet announced a comeback presidential campaign, he's strongly suggested he intends to run for the White House again. In March, he told a group of Republican donors in New Orleans, "I feel obligated that we have to really look strongly at doing it again. We are looking at it very, very strongly. We have to do it. We have to do it."

Trump wins the hypothetical 2024 rematch with Biden 47% to 41%, according to the poll. In a face-off against Harris, Trump wins by a larger margin, 49% to 38%.

The future is uncertain, and no serious predictions for the 2024 campaign can begin at least until the 2022 midterm elections have passed. But the message Americans are sending to Biden is clear: They don't like how things are going and want better leadership.

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