With his party struggling in the midterms, his economic stewardship under fire and his overall job approval under 40%, a clear majority of Democrats in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say the party should replace Joe Biden as its nominee for president in 2024.

In the November midterm election ahead, registered voters divide 47%-46% between the Republican and the Democratic candidate in their House district, historically not enough to prevent typical first-midterm losses. And one likely voter model has a 51%-46% Republican-Democratic split.

Looking two years off, just 35% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents favor Biden for the 2024 nomination; 56% want the party to pick someone else.

Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, for their part, split 47%-46% on whether Donald Trump should be their 2024 nominee -- a 20-point drop for Trump compared with his 2020 nomination.

The unpopularity of both figures may encourage third-party hopefuls, though they rarely do well.

In a head-to-head rematch, the poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds a 48%-46% Biden-Trump contest, essentially tied. Among registered voters, the numbers reverse to 46%-48%. That’s even while 52% of Americans say Trump should be charged with a crime in any of the matters in which he’s under federal investigation, similar to views after the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

On issues, the survey finds broad opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling eliminating a constitutional right to abortion and a big Democratic advantage in trust to handle the issue. But there's no sign it's impacting propensity to vote in comparison with other issues: four rank higher in importance and two of them -- the economy, overall, and inflation, specifically -- work strongly in the GOP's favor.

Biden and the midterms


The president's standing customarily is critical to his party's fortunes in midterms -- and Biden is well under water. Thirty-nine percent of Americans approve of his job performance while 53% disapprove, about where he's been steadily the past year.

Specifically on the economy, with inflation near a 40-year high, his approval rating is 36% while 57% disapprove -- a 21-point deficit.

Each election has its own dynamic but in midterm elections since 1946, when a president has had more than 50% job approval, his party has lost an average of 14 seats. When the president's approval has been less than 50% -- as Biden's is by a considerable margin now -- his party has lost an average of 37 seats.

There's one slightly better result for Biden: 40% say he's accomplished a great deal or a good amount as president, up from 35% last fall. This usually is a tepid measure; it's averaged 43% across four presidents in 11 previous polls since 1993.

There's something else the Democrats can hang on to; their current results are better than last November, when the Republicans led in national House vote preferences by 10 percentage points, 51%-41% -- the largest midterm Republican lead in ABC/Post polls dating back 40 years.

It's true, too, that national House vote polling offers only a rough gauge of ultimate seats won or lost, in what, after all, are local races, influenced by incumbency, gerrymandering, candidate attributes and local as well as national issues.

And the public trusts the Democratic Party over the Republican Party to handle abortion by a wide 20 points. In another measure, while 31% say the Democratic Party is too permissive on abortion, many more, 50%, say the GOP is too restrictive.

But if abortion keeps the Republicans from entirely nationalizing the election around the economy, it doesn't defang the public's economic discontent.

Seventy-four percent say the economy is in bad shape, up from 58% in the spring after Biden took office. The GOP leads the Democrats by 16 points in trust to handle the economy overall and by 19 points in trust to handle inflation. Equally important, 84% call the economy a top issue in their vote for Congress and 76% say the same about inflation. Many fewer, 62%, call abortion a top issue.

Other issues also differentiate the parties. In addition to the economy, the Republicans can be expected to focus on crime in the campaigns' closing weeks; they lead by 14 points in trust to handle it, and it's highly important to 69%.

Democrats, in return, hold a wide 23-point advantage in trust to handle climate change, though it's highly important to far fewer, 50%.