MSNBC data guru Steve Kornacki said that Democrats had multiple obstacles to overcome when it came to replacing President Joe Biden on the ballot Friday.

Democrats are considering how to replace Biden after the president’s gaffe-filled performance during the 90-minute debate moderated by CNN hosts Jake Tapper and Dana Bash Thursday night. Kornacki noted that potential replacements for Biden, including Vice President Kamala Harris, came with their own issues.

“The question then becomes if not Biden, who would it be?” Kornacki told MSNBC host Chris Jansing. “That’s where it would get very complicated. The logical place you would look if the president steps aside is the vice president, Kamala Harris. Hey, she ran for president once, you assume she has presidential ambitions.”

“Here’s the issue there: She’s very well known,” Kornacki continued. “This is her favorable, unfavorable score in two recent polls, and frankly, compared to Biden. She’s at 41% favorable in the Fox News poll. In that same poll, Joe Biden was 44%, she’s at three points less. In the Economist/YouGov poll, that same poll, Joe Biden was sitting at 39%, she’s at 37%. So, if you’re looking at the vice president, you have to ask yourself, ‘does that actually put you, if you’re a Democrat, in a better position politically?’ Then the question would become, if you say it doesn’t, ‘would Kamala Harris also agree to step aside and let a brand-new ticket come in or is that something she would fight?’”



Kornacki then looked into other potential replacements including Democratic Govs. Gavin Newsom of California, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, but noted that they were not well-known.

“The issue is stature, who of any stature could you put in who Democrats would agree on, there’d be consensus immediately, and maybe who the country knows,” Kornacki said. “There’s not much polling on names you hear. This was conducted by Ipsos for an interest group. There’s a lot of names I would like to test, but these are the three they did test in this poll, to get a sense of this. Pete Buttigieg, favorable, 30, unfavorable, 28, that’s still a lot that don’t know him. Gavin Newsom, look at that, almost half the country doesn’t have an opinion of him, but those that do, it’s already double-digits negative. Gretchen Whitmer, the vast majority, no opinion of her, 17-17 among those who do.”

“And again, there are other names you’re already probably hearing, Josh Shapiro, the governor of Pennsylvania, Amy Klobuchar, senator of Minnesota, but this is a sense of the numbers when you get beyond Biden and Harris, those big name national figures,” Kornacki continued. “You get a lot of people, it’s a question mark. You can see Democrats might see potential talent nationally, in say, Gretchen Whitmer, but that’s a big question mark. How would she be received by the public and would that give Democrats pause?”

Kornacki said there was one Democratic political figure who did possess popularity and who was well-known, but also said there was an issue with that figure.

“Is there any Democrat out there who has the national stature and national popularity who could step in and immediately unite the party and be strong against Trump?” Kornacki said. “We’re looking around for names here. You hear this one a lot, there’s absolutely no indication she has any interest but just to give you a sense, Michelle Obama, the last time we polled her on this question of favorable, unfavorable, now it’s been a few years, but it was 57% favorable and just 25% unfavorable. So that’s the kind of profile, just in terms of, you know, widely-known and look at that, much, much, more popular, more than twice as popular as unpopular there in the poll. That’s the kind of profile the Democrats would probably want in a situation. But beyond Michelle Obama, not sure where you could find that, Chris.”

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