Biden Approval Rating: Slower economic growth and the Afghan withdrawal have coincided with President Biden’s approval rating reaching their lowest levels in his presidential tenure. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Biden Approval Rating
It’s been a tough stretch for President Joe Biden. According to a new Marist National Poll with NPR and PBS Newshour, Biden’s approval rating has dropped to a new low of 43%. This survey was published September 2, and it comports with others of various sample sizes and partisan tilts. A Washington Post/ABC News poll published September 3 reflects a 44% approval rating, while a Rasmussen Reports poll published September 7 reports one three ticks higher at 47%. FiveThirtyEight’s updating calculation of the president’s approval rating—accounting for each poll’s quality, recency, sample size, and partisan lean—shows a blended approval rating of 45.3%, which is lower than his disapproval rating of 49%. This marks “the lowest rating for Biden since he took office,” Kimberlee Speakman notes for Forbes, highlighting “the public’s dissatisfaction with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.” Other topics including immigration at the southern border, rising COVID-19 cases, and increasing inflation are also seemingly weighing on the president’s approval ratings. Here’s what both sides are saying:
On The Left
Left-leaning outlets and commentators acknowledge individual issues appearing to weigh on Biden’s current approval rating. However, they also attribute the dip to increasing polarization and a change in sentiment from independents.
“How Has Joe Biden Become So Unpopular?” Jamelle Bouie, New York Times: “There is a laundry list of reasons for this. … At the same time that Delta took hold, Biden also faced a huge backlash from the press and his partisan opponents over the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. … And as seen in the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy is growing at a slower rate than it did at the start of the summer. … With that said, there’s another dynamic at work, one that should guide our expectations for how popular Biden is and how popular he could become. Put simply, we’re still quite polarized. … One of the most consistent findings from the past 20 years of public opinion research is that each new president is more divisive than the last. … Some of this reflects circumstances, some of it reflects the individuals, but most of it is a function of partisan and ideological polarization. Modern presidents have a high floor for public opinion but a low ceiling.”
“The middle turns on Biden” Aaron Blake, Washington Post: “The chief culprit appears to be Afghanistan. The Post-ABC poll and others have shown widespread dissatisfaction not with the decision to withdraw — which is widely popular and which the White House has sought to frame the issue around — but with how it was executed. … There are valid questions about the staying power of this issue, but for now it appears to have significantly undercut independents’ approval of Biden. … The Post-ABC poll shows 36 percent of self-described independents now approve of Biden overall, compared to 57 percent who disapprove — a net of minus-21. In both June and April, more independents approved of him than disapproved, though the splits were relatively even. … Biden ran as a relatively moderate, steady Democrat who would deliver something of a return to normalcy. … The contours of the Afghanistan issue make it unlikely it will be consistently front-of-mind for Americans for many months ahead. But the danger for Biden is in how much it combines with other issues to reinforce the idea that he hasn’t delivered on that central promise.”
“Biden’s Approval Ratings Slip Below 50 Percent for the First Time” Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine: “… while there is a downward drift, it’s hardly precipitous, and Biden’s lowest average is still higher than Trump’s highest over his four years in office. There is, moreover, thanks to steadily increasing partisan polarization, a pretty firm ceiling and floor on any president’s approval numbers these days. … Given both polarization and the trickiness of today’s issue environment, which has been made insanely unpredictable by COVID, it’s not a very good bet that Biden will get the kind of approval bump he would need to put him in the territory of past midterm winners. … all in all, the 46th president and his allies should probably stop worrying about his approval ratings and just get as much done as they possibly can while they still control Congress.”
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators and outlets focus on Afghanistan, immigration, inflation, and rising crime as reasons why Biden’s approval rating is sagging. They don’t expect it to recover anytime in the near future.
“The 6 reasons why Joe Biden’s popularity numbers won’t recover” Tom Del Beccaro, Fox News: “Historically, the ‘most important predictor of a party’s performance in a midterm is the president’s job approval rating.’ If a president’s approval rating falls much below 50%, it spells significant trouble in ensuing elections for his party. … Will Biden rise above 50% again? While it’s possible, here are six reasons why it is very unlikely. … 1) Biden is not a charismatic leader. … 2) Biden’s Party is Moving Further Left. … 3) The Afghanistan problem will not simply go away. In today’s technological age, pictures from Afghanistan, including Taliban atrocities, will continue to remind voters of how bad Biden’s exit was. … 4) Kamala Harris is a drag on Biden. … While vice presidents do not determine the fate of presidents, it is clear that Harris has not been helpful to Biden. 5) Loyalty to Biden was not deep when he entered office. That lack of an initial reserve of support will certainly limit Biden’s ability to bounce back. … [and] 6) Our divided era makes it very difficult to be popular. Today, there is little common ground among Democrats and Republicans. Our divide has been growing for decades along with the size of government.”
“1 Out of 5 Dem Voters Regret Casting Vote for Biden” Karen Townsend, HotAir: “Now that Biden has so bungled absolutely everything across the board, Democrats voters are feeling buyer’s (voter’s) remorse. … Left-leaning Zogby Analytics released the results of a survey taken which show that one-fifth of likely voters regret voting for President Biden. That may not seem like a big number but when you take the size of the electorate into consideration and remember that the last two presidential elections were decided by, in some cases, a few thousand votes in a handful of swing states, you can quickly see that this kind of survey results are not good news for Team Biden. … Americans are clearly seeing Joe Biden is not the man he claimed to be on the campaign trail. … The man who has a history of being wrong about foreign policy his entire political career has not improved with age. … History will not judge the Biden presidency kindly, especially his withdrawal from Afghanistan. He’s been exposed as a callous and arrogant narcissist. Heaven help us through the next three years.”
“Why Biden’s Job Approval Ratings Have Taken a Major Hit” James Antle, Washington Examiner: “There are five major issues driving down Biden’s numbers … Ending the 20-year-old war in Afghanistan was a popular campaign promise backed by both Biden and former President Donald Trump … but the execution of the withdrawal received extremely poor marks and undercut Biden’s image as a competent leader. … the emergence of the delta variant and pockets of vaccine resistance have [not helped]. … Biden’s handling of the southern border has been a problem the entire time he has been in office … Inflation and inconsistent jobs numbers have [also] bedeviled this administration, despite — or possibly because of — his attempts to pour trillions of dollars of new federal spending into the economy. … Another issue that turned the Democrats’ 1960s Great Society dreams into 1970s national malaise was out-of-control violent crime in major cities. That has also come roaring back as major urban areas grapple with a spike in homicides, threatening to make law-and-order a campaign wedge issue for the first time in decades.”
Flag This: Biden Approval Rating
This section normally outlines public sentiment derived from the most recent polls, but since we started with that today, we’ll take a look at what’s next for the president instead. One particular storyline multiple outlets are focusing on is Biden’s September. After a rough August, the president “is expected to focus heavily on his infrastructure and antipoverty legislation in the coming weeks, as Congress returns to Washington, as well as travel to California to campaign for Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat facing a recall election,” Catherine Lucey and Ken Thomas report for the Wall Street Journal. POLITICO Playbook’s Tuesday briefing titled, “Biden’s ‘cradle to grave’ agenda” also notes one big thing to “watch this month” is the “Dems’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.” Lastly, over at The Hill, Aris Folley reports that lawmakers “also need to pass government funding legislation to avoid a shutdown on Oct. 1.” Summer is over, and September is showing no signs of slowing down with respect to the president’s agenda.
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