According to a new poll of 1,000 likely voters from Convention of States Action, in partnership with The Trafalgar Group, a majority of voters believe the White House designed Biden’s primetime speech to attack his political opponents. They also viewed it as dangerous and believe the president intended to create conflict between Americans.
Overall, 56.8% of American voters surveyed believe President Biden’s recent primetime address to the nation, in which he accused his political opponents of representing “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” signifies a dangerous escalation in rhetoric and was designed to incite conflict among Americans. A majority in every age demographic and both genders held this view. Among those ages 18-24, 59.6% found the speech objectionable. Men were most alarmed, with 60% indicating they believed Biden’s speech was a dangerous escalation.
Only 35.5% of likely voters felt the speech was acceptable campaign messaging. Of course, this is a problem since the speech was an address to the nation paid for by the taxpayer, not a campaign speech. That result trends below President Biden’s overall approval rating, which the current RealClearPolitics Average has at 42.1%
“These numbers reveal that most voters were sickened and deeply disturbed by what they saw last week. When you couple this finding with previous polling we did indicating a majority of voters also hold President Biden responsible for America’s divisions—it’s clear that the man who promised to unite the nation has become the most divisive President in American history,” said Mark Meckler, President of the Convention of States.
Continuing recent polling trends, independent voters are closer to Republicans than Democrats in their views on Biden’s speech. Following the speech, nearly two-thirds of independents said that President Biden’s speech was a dangerous escalation of rhetoric designed to create conflict. They joined the vast majority of Republicans, 89.1%, who hold the same view.
Only 18.7% of Democrats saw the speech as divisive and menacing. More than two-thirds of Democrats viewed Biden’s rhetoric as acceptable campaign messaging. In the demographic detail of voters who believed the address was normal campaign rhetoric, only black voters showed a significant plurality. Hispanic voters’ reactions were more evenly split.
“When voters tell you they think that the prepared remarks of a sitting President of the United States is a dangerous escalation designed to incite conflict, we are living in terrifying times. Perhaps even more terrifying is the fact that a huge majority of Democrats think this was just a routine, election year stump speech,” Meckler added. “This is the tyranny the founders of America foresaw, and it’s why they included an emergency provision in Article V that empowers the states to reign in an out-of-control federal government. A Convention of States needs to happen and urgently,” he said.
Biden attempted to walk back some of the heat in comments to the press and his Labor Day speech. In his holiday speech, he focused on elected Republicans whose biggest crimes are questioning an unprecedented election with numerous irregularities in 2020 and opposing Biden’s agenda. On Friday, when Peter Doocy asked him if he considered all Trump voters a threat to the country, Biden responded that he did not feel that way about any Trump voter, a strange reversal for a man who cautioned “right-wing Americans” that they would need an F-15 to fight the government.
It will be difficult to reverse course on the rhetoric Biden used in Philadelphia. Team Biden was so sure it would resonate that an intern tweeted the comment from Biden’s personal account:
The White House stenographers at Politico also provided a detailed defense of Biden’s speech. According to their sources, Biden’s message had been under consideration since June. Republican reaction to the raid on Mar-a-Lago created urgency, according to the reporting. So the raid designed to gin up outrage led to the speech that fanned the flames of anger. A cynical person might think that Democrats need the midterms to be a referendum on Trump in order not to suffer catastrophic losses. The White House staff let that cat out of the bag with Politico:
Multiple aides and allies said it would have been “a dereliction of duty” had Biden not spoken up as major developments threatened the bedrock of the country.
They don’t deny that there was a political benefit to the speech. The former president has become so toxic, White House aides believe, that any day in which he dominates the discourse is a good day. They have grown to take delight in watching Republican congressional candidates face questions about Trump’s legal and political imbroglios.
Even Never-Trump Republicans thought the speech went too far. According to Jim Dornan, a longtime Republican operative who is anti-Trump, the address felt like a “24-minute b**ch slap of Republicans.” When talking to Politico, he added, “I was offended by certain parts of it. I think he would have been better off not doing it. He’s not going to gain votes from people like me.” When you’ve lost Never-Trumpers, you’ve lost anyone who is not a dedicated Democrat.