Joe Biden is Unpopular for the First Time in His Presidency
For the first time during his presidency, Joe Biden has an approval rating under fifty percent: according to recent averages, 48.9% of Americans disapprove of the President’s job performance. What exactly does it mean?
As the debacle in Afghanistan unfolds and the Biden administration deals with one of its first true foreign crises, added on to a growing number of coronavirus cases as schools open again, Americans seem to be reconsidering the high levels of approval the President has been receiving for the past seven months.
Why is it Happening Now?
While America’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, most notably resulting in the loss of twelve American service-people, has definitely had some impact, it remains unclear whether that is the only reason Joe Biden’s popularity is ebbing. Biden’s honeymoon period, which seems long gone, could have faded due to growing economic concerns and a natural antagonistic effect with independent voters as his proposals become more and more ambitious.
As time has gone on, Americans’ approval of Biden’s handling of coronavirus has also slipped. According to FiveThirtyEight estimates, only fifty-three percent of Americans approve, a statistic that was well over sixty percent just eight weeks ago. Rising coronavirus cases, soaring to new, record highs have pushed many to think of how Biden’s policies in vaccinating individuals have failed, citing that his goal of herd immunity within certain communities has continued to fail.
At this point, however, it seems that Biden’s approval rating will continue to fall before it has any hope of returning to its previous levels. With the volatility of the situation in Afghanistan and the delta variant’s surge through the country, everything is extremely unpredictable at the moment.
Certainly, after many presidents’ first months in office, their approval ratings dip, but recent events have likely exaggerated that effect for the President. Even after President Trump fired James Comey and was investigated for Russian interference, contributing to his approval rating falling to an abysmal 38%, Trump was able to inch back to higher ratings. Biden should hope for similar results to maintain his relative legislative success.
What it Means for Upcoming Elections
It’s no secret that November 2022 is a long ways away. But maintaining an amiable position with independents is explicitly what Democrats are after at the moment. Among independents, however, the largest difference seems evident. According to NBC Polling, approval of Joe Biden’s handling of coronavirus among independents has fallen from 82% to 51%, and his handling of the economy has flipped from 60% to 45%. That major switch among a demographic that Biden held by a thirteen-point margin in 2020, key to his success in most to all battleground states, is undeniably a concern for Democrats.
In short, Joe Biden’s falling poll numbers should be concerning to any Democrats looking forward to next year, giving legislators the choice to pass more compromise legislation now, with power in the House and Senate, or hold off for more stringent negotiations.
If the voting population looks like it did in the last midterm, in which Democrats pulled huge gains, flipping large numbers of competitive districts, independents have to be a key in Democratic success. Added on top of the inevitable gerrymandering about to occur during this redistricting cycle, it is likely that independents, already skeptical of the trifecta Democrats already hold, will turn to the conservative side. Any hope of keeping power, however, remains under Joe Biden’s ability to appeal to a wide variety of political groups, from moderates to progressive liberals.