Washington: No president wants to give up the power and prestige that comes with office after only one term, and Joe Biden is no exception. He’s leading the way despite polls showing Most Americans Don’t Want to See Him Run Again,
We went back to see what modern presidents had at the time they announced their decision to seek a second term, what their Gallup approval ratings were, and how things turned out for them.
One theme: Primary battles are an indication of whether a president will win re-election. That’s good news for Biden, who appears to have avoided any significant challengers.
Harry Truman 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 on his own, and he announced his candidacy on March 8, 1948. He had an approval rating of 53% in a poll conducted 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 second full term after losing the New Hampshire primary to Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. His approval rating had dropped to 22% amid economic troubles and the Korean War.
Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, had an approval rating of 75% 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 raised questions about whether he would run.
As the former Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, Eisenhower convinced Americans that he was the rightful leader on the world stage. He defeated Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, before he had a chance to run for a second term.
lyndon b johnson
Lyndon Johnson was vice president at the time of Kennedy’s death, and he quickly ran for his first full term in 1964, winning a landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater. However, the popularity of the Democrats plummeted due to the Vietnam War and domestic turmoil.
It became clear that Johnson was in danger of losing his party’s nomination in 1968 after a strong performance by Eugene McCarthy in the New Hampshire primary. Shortly thereafter, Johnson stunned the nation by announcing on March 31, 1968, that he would not seek a second term. His approval rating that month was only 36%.
Richard Nixon had an approval rating of 50% when he announced his re-election campaign on January 7, 1972. That summer there was a Watergate break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, but the scandal had not gained enough momentum to drag them down. ,
Nixon, a Republican, defeated George McGovern, a Democrat, in a landslide. However, he did not complete his second term, resigning in 1974 following the Watergate revelations.
Gerald Ford, a Republican, became president when Nixon left office, and announced he would run for a full term of his own on July 8, 1975. He had a 52% approval rating the month before.
He faced dissent over inflation and controversy over his decision to pardon Nixon, and he lost the election to Jimmy Carter, a Democrat.
Jimmy Carter announced his re-election campaign on December 4, 1979. His approval rating had reached 51%. However, the American people were weary of inflation, the energy crisis, and the hostage crisis in Iran.
Carter was wounded by a primary challenge from Sen. Ted Kennedy, and he was ultimately defeated by Ronald Reagan, a Republican.
Ronald Reagan announced his re-election bid on January 29, 1984. His approval rating that month was 52%. Despite concerns about his age—he was 73 and at the time the oldest president in history—Reagan handily defeated Walter Mondale, a Democrat.
George HW Bush
George HW Bush’s popularity skyrocketed after the Gulf War, when US forces pushed Iraq out of Kuwait. However, by the time he announced his re-election campaign on October 11, 1991, his approval rating had plummeted to 65%.
Pat Buchanan challenged Bush in the Republican primary. Although Bush won the nomination, his shot at a second term faded amid the economic downturn. He was ultimately defeated by Bill Clinton, a Democrat.
Bill Clinton’s approval rating was 47% when he announced he would run for re-election on April 14, 1995. The Democrats were defeated in the 1994 midterm elections, leading some to question whether Clinton would be a one-term president. But he rebounded with the help of a booming economy, and he defeated Bob Dole, a Republican.
George W. Bush
The September 11 attacks of 2001 prompted George W. Bush, a Republican, to invade Afghanistan, which was followed by another war in Iraq. A month after US forces entered Baghdad, Bush announced that he would seek re-election on May 16, 2003. His approval rating that month was 69%. He defeated Democrat John Kerry.
Barack 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 collapse and subsequent recession, but he ultimately defeated Mitt Romney, a Republican.
Donald Trump, a Republican, announced that he would run for re-election on June 18, 2019. Last month, his approval rating stood at 41%. He was first impeached at the end of the year, and then the coronavirus pandemic brought the economy to a halt. Joe Biden, a Democrat, defeated Trump, who tried to block the peaceful transfer of power.
Biden announced his re-election campaign on April 25. His approval rating was 40% last month. Biden will be 86 at the end of the second term, prompting fears that he is too old to hold such a demanding job.
However, Biden has not mounted any significant primary challenge. The only Democrats running are Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Meanwhile, Trump is leading in Republican primary polls as he seeks the party’s nomination, raising the prospect of a rematch with Biden.