Biden disputes diminishing poll numbers, low approval rating after debate

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(WASHINGTON) — Despite a drop in multiple polls after his debate performance last week, President Joe Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Friday that he doesn’t believe the numbers and thinks more Americans back him than the polls indicate.

During his first television interview since the debate, Stephanopoulos pressed Biden on recent surveys that show he had lost ground to former President Donald Trump and still had a low approval rating.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released on Monday found that the president had a 36% approval rating among likely voters.

“Mr. President, I’ve never seen a president [with] 36% approval get reelected,” Stephanopoulos said

“Well, I don’t believe that’s my approval rating. That’s not what our polls show,” Biden responded.

Biden didn’t make clear what his campaign’s internal polls show his approval rating to be.

The same Times/Siena College poll showed Trump gained ground with voters after the debate with a 49-41% split. An Ipsos poll released on Tuesday also showed the race was a toss-up with 40% split between both candidates.

ABC News had reached out to Trump to offer him an equivalent platform to Biden, but his team declined.

Stephanopoulos questioned Biden on why the race was a close even though Trump was a convicted felon. In May, the former president was found guilty of 34 felonies in his New York hush-money trial.

“You guys keep saying that. George, do you– look, you know polling better than anybody. Do you think polling data as accurate as it used to be?” Biden asked.

“I don’t think so, but I think, when you look at all the polling data right now, it shows that he’s certainly ahead in the popular vote, probably — even more ahead in the battleground states,” Stephanopoulos responded.

The president acknowledged that some polls show Democratic House and Senate candidates polling better than he does, but added that he’s seen similar scenarios in the recent election cycles.

“I carried an awful lot of Democrats last time I ran in 2020. Look, I remember them telling me the same thing in 2020, ‘I can’t win, the polls show I can’t win.’ Remember 2024 — 2020 — the red wave was coming. Before the vote, ‘I said that’s not going to happen, we’re going to win,'” Biden said.

Stephanopoulos questioned if Biden had heard from some complaints from Democrats who questioned his future and some who have asked him to step down.

When asked how he would respond if congressional Democratic leadership came to him and said they were worried he was bringing other candidates down, Biden responded he would “go into detail with them.”

“I’ve speaken with all of them in detail, including [Rep.] Jim Clyburn, everyone of them. They all said I should stay in the race. Stay in the race. No one said — none of the people said I should leave.”

Stephanopoulos pressed on.

“If you are told reliably from your allies, from your friends and supporters in the Democratic Party in the House and the Senate, that they’re concerned you’re going to lose the House and the Senate, if you stay in, what will you do?” he asked.

“I’m not gonna answer that question. It’s not gonna happen,” Biden responded.

Stephanopoulos brought up the fact that some polling showed the number of people who think Biden is too old to be president has doubled since 2020 and asked the president if he thought it was going to be tougher to beat Trump.

“Not when you’re running against a pathological liar. Not when he hadn’t been challenged in a way he’s about to be challenged,” the president said.

Biden added that the pollsters he has talked to have said the race is a “toss-up.”

“New York Times had me behind before anything having to do with this race, had me hind — behind 10 points. Ten points they had me behind,” he said. “Nothing’s changed substantially since the debate.”

Biden doubled down on his claims and contended that he didn’t believe the poll numbers that showed he was down in the popular vote.

“Is it worth the risk?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“I don’t think anybody’s more qualified to be president or win this race than me,” Biden responded.

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