Democratic insiders are casting doubt on whether Joe Biden will run for re-election in 2024.
From inflation and party infighting to the Afghanistan withdrawal and Covid fatigue, a series of challenges have combined to drag Mr Biden’s approval rating to its lowest level since his January inauguration.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s aggregated poll, Mr Biden has a disapproval rate of 51.5 per cent, while just 42.9 per cent approve of his efforts as president.
Mr Biden, who would be 81 on election day 2024, has publicly insisted he will seek a second term in office.
But an aide who worked on the 2020 campaign told The Hill the rationale for his victory may no longer hold.
“Electability was the No. 1 issue in the last election – it was why Joe Biden won the primary. There’s going to be a contingent out there that believes that, ‘Oh, it’s Trump again this time around, we have to have Biden again.’
“But if Biden’s approval rating stays where it is, if we have a rough midterm cycle, if he can’t deliver on his entire agenda – is he still considered the most electable candidate?”
Most Democrats were unwilling to go on the record to speak about Mr Biden’s re-election chances.
But this week, aides for Kamala Harris told CNN that the Vice President had become frustrated at the lack of clarity in her role and that the White House was not doing enough to prepare for the 2024 election cycle .
Privately, many lawmakers doubt that Ms Harris would be more likely to defeat Donald Trump, should the former president run again.
Speaking anonymously, another former Biden campaign aide told The Hill: “He has told people privately that he plans to run. We’ll be ready for that. And his disregard for the chattering class is well-known.”
Another Democratic operative, Joel Payne, said the party base would not look favourably on anyone who tried to challenge Mr Biden for the nomination.
“I cannot imagine many, if any of the would-be 2024 Democratic contenders wanting to get out over the skis,” Mr Payne told The Hill.
“The politics of the Democratic Party, which runs through the heart of Black America, would not be kind to somebody being perceived to cut the line ahead of the president or vice president.”
Mr Biden appears undeterred by the low poll numbers and disquiet over his re-election chances, visiting several states this week to promote his $1 trillion infrastructure bill which he signed last week after managing to get bipartisan backing on Capitol Hill.