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These poll numbers help explain why the Biden campaign joined TikTok

The most recent NBC News survey shows Biden disproportionately struggling with young TikTok users.
smartphone cellphone cell phone
President Joe Biden looks at his phone as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday.Evan Vucci / AP

President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign has joined TikTok, even though sources had said the campaign wouldn’t formally use the social media platform.

Numbers from last month’s NBC News poll may help explain the reversal, because they show Biden struggling with young TikTok users, especially compared with young voters who don’t use the platform.

The findings are consistent with results from the November NBC News poll, as well as with other polls showing Biden’s struggles with younger voters.

Eleven percent of all voters in the most recent NBC poll are ages 18-34 and say they use TikTok at least once day. They disproportionately identify as being Democrats over Republicans (47% Democrats to 30% Republicans), and they overwhelmingly prefer Democrats over Republicans in terms of control of Congress (56% to 40%).

Yet in a hypothetical general election matchup, those Democratic-leaning young voters narrowly break for Donald Trump over Biden, 44% to 42%. Though the result is well within the margin of error for the 108 total voters (plus or minus 9.4 percentage points), the difference in level of support between Biden and congressional Democrats is significant.

Meanwhile, just 23% of those voters approve of Biden’s job as president.

Now compare those young TikTok-using voters with other young voters in the poll who say they don’t use the platform at least once a day. They represent 14% of all voters in the poll.

The non-TikTok-using young voters are slightly less Democratic-leaning (12 points more Democratic in party identification) and are essentially tied in congressional preference (47% Democratic, 46% Republican).

But their vote in a hypothetical Biden-vs.-Trump matchup is almost identical to the more Democratic-leaning young TikTok voters (43% for Biden, 40% for Trump). And 33% of the non-TikTok-using voters approve of Biden’s job.

Bottom line: Biden is doing worse with young voters who use TikTok than with young voters who don’t use it, even though the TikTok users overall lean more toward the Democratic Party.