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Amid Dismal Polling and Some Voter Anger, Don’t Expect Biden to Shift His Strategy

For weeks, polls have shown President Biden trailing his likely challenger, former President Donald J. Trump. Protesters have streamed through Washington, demanding that Mr. Biden call for a cease-fire in Gaza. Groups of key voters, including young people and voters of color, have suggested that they might not support Mr. Biden in the 2024 election.

With so many troubling signals, what is a president seeking re-election to do? The answer, according to people in Mr. Biden’s orbit, is to stay the course.

Several officials in the Biden campaign and the White House are adamant that unflattering polls and vocal criticism from key constituents over Gaza, immigration and other issues simply have not been enough to shift a strategy that is centered on comparing the Biden agenda with policies favored by Republicans.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations, said Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris would turn up the volume on that battle cry beginning in 2024.

The polls — and the reams of what officials see as negative news coverage — have at times frustrated everyone, including Mr. Biden. But the polling has not changed the president’s mind on any of the issues that could bring political peril next year, including his refusal to call for a cease-fire in Gaza or place conditions on military aid to Israel, the officials said.

“They’re not freaking out,” Ted Kaufman, a longtime confidant to Mr. Biden, said in an interview about the president and his team. “When you signed up for this thing, you didn’t sign up to be at 80 percent in the polls. These are genuine veterans, and they’re picked because of their ability to be calm in difficult times.”

This thinking is not likely to satisfy a cacophony of voices outside that small circle. Immigration has been one of Mr. Biden’s biggest political vulnerabilities. In recent weeks, the White House has considered major new restrictions on migration to satisfy Republicans who refuse to approve aid for Ukraine or Israel without a crackdown at the border.

Although members of Congress have not yet secured a deal, the fact that the White House has signaled openness to even some of the policies has drawn enormous criticism from progressives in his own party and immigration advocates who supported him in the past.

“For the White House to endorse such cruel policies would be a betrayal to millions of Americans who believed President Biden’s campaign promises to restore our humanitarian leadership and the rule of law,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a refugee advocacy organization.

Democrats are clamoring for the president to do more and say more about the threat Mr. Trump poses to democracy. Others want Mr. Biden to encourage the Israelis to end their large-scale campaign in Gaza. Still others say he is running out of time to make the strongest case possible for himself against an opponent who is skillful at commandeering a news cycle.

A poll released by The New York Times on Tuesday showed widespread disapproval of Mr. Biden’s decisions around the war in the Middle East. But the polling also showed that those surveyed care much more about the state of the economy than they do about foreign policy, and that a majority of them still support providing military and economic aid to Israel.

“The very real investments, resources and work we’re putting in right now aren’t for the next poll of the day — they’re to win an election next November,” said Kevin Munoz, a Biden campaign spokesman.

He also pointed to several other polls published this week that show better odds for Mr. Biden in 2024, including polling from The Times that showed Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump among likely voters.

The plan for Mr. Biden to dig out of the bad news swirling around him in Washington, his advisers say, is to relentlessly focus on his agenda during visits to key states, like the one he made to Wisconsin on Wednesday.

The state is crucial to Mr. Biden’s re-election prospects — he won there by about 20,600 votes in 2020 — and recent polling suggests a close race in 2024. Ms. Harris chose the state to kick off a countrywide tour in support of reproductive rights, beginning in January.

During a visit to Milwaukee on Wednesday, Mr. Biden did not focus on foreign policy or immigration or polls. Instead, he talked about investments in the business community during remarks at a Black chamber of commerce.

Mr. Biden also said his administration had worked to forgive student loan debt — another point of criticism among Democrats — despite a Supreme Court decision that invalidated his plan for even more relief. According to figures released this month by the Education Department, the administration has wiped out

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