President Joe Biden is traveling west this week on a mission to ramp up excitement for an agenda that – so far – is yielding little political upside.
The four-day swing, focused on the economy and climate, is part of a broader effort by the White House to better translate Biden’s accomplishments to a populace that remains mostly sour on his record and to spark passion among Democrats, some of whom remain apprehensive about a second Biden term.
Motivating key constituencies – including young voters animated by climate issues – will prove critical for Biden as the 2024 election ramps up. Enthusiasm for Biden among Democrats remains soft, according to polls, even as the party lines up behind his reelection bid.
The effort this week – with stops in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – is designed partly to head off frustration and disillusionment among core parts of his coalition over a key issue: Climate change.
The issue poses a dual challenge for the president and his campaign – selling skeptical Americans on the benefits of his already-enacted climate agenda while balancing the concerns of those who don’t feel like he’s done enough. Most Americans – 57% – disapprove of Biden’s handling of the issue, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released Monday.
Some activists warn his record – which includes both historic investments and a broken promise to stop drilling on federal land – lacks urgency and could impact enthusiasm among young voters.
While polls still show Biden more popular among young voters than a potential Republican rival, there are warning signs about their engagement.
“President Biden kept his promise on clean energy and broke his promises on fossil fuels. And that’s having a direct impact on his ability to rally young voters to support his reelection,” said Jamie Henn, a climate activist and founder and director of Fossil Free