September 8, 2021

Biden’s Approval Rating

“Amid the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden's approval rating slid to just 43% in the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. That is down 6 percentage points from a survey conducted in July and is the lowest mark for Biden in the poll since taking office.” NPR

As of early Wednesday morning, Biden’s overall approval rating was 45.3 percent. FiveThirtyEight

See past issues

From the Left

The left attributes Biden’s falling approval primarily to Covid and Afghanistan, and urges the administration and Democrats to focus on legislating before the midterms.

“This was a painful August for President Biden. He promised competent government, restored international leadership, an end to the covid-19 pandemic and a resurgent economy. But after last month’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan, a coronavirus spike caused by the delta variant, and a slowdown in job growth, those pledges seem questionable…

“The White House was battered last month by bad luck, bad policy and bad implementation. The surprising thing, given this gut-wrenching reversal for an administration that had been riding high, is the relative lack of internal backbiting. In other administrations, the leaks by now would have been flowing like a fire hose. Biden’s inner team sometimes seems more like a Senate staff than a typical elbows-out administration. Congeniality has its advantages. But when mistakes happen, as they did in August, problems need to get fixed.”
David Ignatius, Washington Post

“This drop in Biden’s approval has been attributed to the handling of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan… But weekly polling data from YouGov conducted for the Economist shows that both Republicans and independents started souring on Biden earlier this year. Republican approval peaked in early May, at the same point when Republican approval of Biden on the economy was at its highest…

“Also notable is Biden’s position in late June. For much of his presidency, Biden’s approval has been obviously linked to his handling of the pandemic. His approval on that metric began to sink in the polling released by YouGov on June 21 — the same day as the recent low in new coronavirus infections nationally…

“The flurry of unfavorable reports about Afghanistan probably contributed to his weaker position in the polling average. But the data from YouGov do suggest that his approval rating overall was already in decline before the events in Afghanistan last month. That data also raises an interesting possibility: The pandemic could continue to tamp down on his approval ratings on the economy and, therefore, on his approval overall. In other words, a pandemic that is largely a function of outbreaks in Republican parts of the country because of disproportionate Republican opposition to mask-wearing and vaccination has hurt, is hurting and will continue to hurt Biden politically.”
Philip Bump, Washington Post

“What's Biden to do in the face of all these obstacles? The most important thing he can focus on at this point is keeping his party in line… If Democrats are perpetually stuck in a legislative logjam as the nation struggles with broken infrastructure, natural disasters, and an ongoing pandemic, there's little chance voters will give the party another shot at trying to address the many problems they face going into 2022.”
Julian Zelizer, CNN

“History sizes up presidents based on the transformative bills they passed. So, Biden's legacy is on the line as soon as this week, as the battle resumes over a bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion companion spending blueprint that would transform climate, social care and health care policy. Success on both will allow Biden to claim one of the most significant legacies of any Democratic president for half a century.”
Stephen Collinson, CNN

“By this stage in his presidency, Donald Trump's approval was under 40 percent, setting up big Democratic victories in 2018. By 2010, Barack Obama was polling in the low forties, setting up the biggest Republican gains in the House of Representatives since the 1930s. George W. Bush and his party initially escaped that fate, benefiting from a surge of support following 9/11. By the middle of his second term, though, he was polling well under 50 percent, leading to Democrats winning majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1994…

“No 21st century president has left office with a Gallup average over 50 percent. These observations suggest Biden's woes are not solely attributable to the specific shortcomings of his leadership or policies, real as they are. In a highly polarized environment, it's extremely difficult for any president to sustain majority support.”
Samuel Goldman, The Week

From the Right

The right attributes Biden’s falling approval to Afghanistan and immigration, and predicts GOP victory in the midterms.

The right attributes Biden’s falling approval to Afghanistan and immigration, and predicts GOP victory in the midterms.

The essence of the [Afghanistan] story will linger. Its reverberations will play out for years. There are Americans and American friends behind Taliban lines. The stories will roll out in infuriating, sometimes heartbreaking ways. The damage to the president is different and deeper than his people think, because it hit at his reputational core, at how people understand him…

“His supporters have long seen him as soft-natured, moderate—a sentimental man famous for feeling and showing empathy. But nothing about this fiasco suggested kindliness or an interest in the feelings of others. It feels less like a blunder than the exposure of a seamy side. Does he listen to anyone? Does he have any people of independent weight and stature around him, or are they merely staffers who approach him with gratitude and deference?”
Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

“After Afghanistan, immigration is Mr. Biden’s biggest unforced error… Remember when the White House assured us in the spring that the migrant surge on the southern border was ‘seasonal’ and nothing to worry about? Oops…

“‘The Border Patrol made about 200,000 arrests at the southern border in July, marking the busiest month at the border in 21 years and a 12% increase over the previous month,’ the Journal reported in August, citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Detention centers are so overwhelmed that illegal immigrants are being released into the population without being screened for Covid…

“The situation on the border has worsened to the point where White House officials were relieved when the Supreme Court ruled against the administration last month and effectively revived a Trump-era policy that required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are being adjudicated. Among some administration officials, ‘the Supreme Court’s order was quietly greeted with something other than dismay,’ the New York Times reported this week. ‘It brought some measure of relief.’”
Jason L. Riley, Wall Street Journal

“Dems have to feel itchy knowing that Biden is now momentarily rocking the same job approval that Trump typically carried over his four years in office. Nearly as many Americans *strongly* disapprove of his job performance, 41 percent, as approve. In the span of a month he went from 46 percent approval among independents to 36 percent…

“Rarely does the party in power gain seats in a midterm but whether they lose small or lose big depends on certain factors. How ‘overextended’ are they by having pulled upsets in the last election in districts typically won by the other party? Have voters seen their personal income increase or decrease since the previous cycle? Most importantly, how popular is the president?… The results of previous elections show us that it doesn’t take much of a change in presidential job approval for the in-party to shift from expecting modest losses in the midterm to expecting a major wave. Biden’s decline of late is skidding towards wave territory.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

“Biden’s approval rating is underwater in 24 of the 34 states that will be electing senators in 2022… The only bright spot for Democrats is in New Hampshire, where Biden is up 5 points (49%-44%). Yet, even that minor victory is not absolute: A recent Saint Anselm poll shows Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan trailing GOP Gov. Chris Sununu by 8 points in a hypothetical matchup…

“In the last four midterm elections, the party in the White House has lost more House seats than the 8-seat majority Democrats currently have. Barring catastrophe, the GOP should easily take the House majority. But the Senate is the big prize, as Republicans would have more control over, say, a Supreme Court nomination to replace Justice Stephen Breyer…

“All signs continue to point to a national environment that won’t just sweep House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the speakership but could cut short Senate Majority Chuck Schumer’s first stint as the top senator after just two years. Things could not be lining up better for Republicans right now, and all they have to do is try not to throw it all away.”
Zachary Faria, Washington Examiner

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