President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have hit an all-time low of under 40%. According to an average of polls assembled by RealClearPolitics, the commander-in-chief is now polling at just 39.8% approval with a 54.4% disapproval, putting him 14.4% underwater: the lowest point so far in his presidency. But when it comes to how the American public views his performance on specific matters, the news gets a whole lot worse.
Immigration and Foreign Policy
With recent news that illegal migrants are being flown to all corners of the country on flights that have been termed “Biden Air,” the president was bound to take a hit on his handling of immigration. And yet his 33% approval in this area has not changed much since September 2021. The high number of illegal border crossings has been well-publicized and stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s handling of the U.S. border. Biden handing the problem off to his vice president may have also been seen as a weak move, and one that could ultimately prove damaging to Kamala Harris, his much-touted heir apparent.
Starting his presidency at a high-water mark of over 60% approval on foreign policy, Joe Biden has taken blow after blow in this arena. It seems the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal began his precipitous decline in this area. When the dust settled, it became clear that he was no longer lauded by international leaders as he once was. Now, with the Russia-Ukraine crisis bubbling, the public’s confidence in Biden on the world stage sits at a mere 37.2%. Quite the loss of faith.
COVID and the Economy
On his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, Biden can breathe a small sigh of relief. Although his approval in this area is just 43.6%, his disapproval is only 52%, perhaps in recognition of the situation’s difficulty. But with a number of blue states now beginning to ease restrictions, the president’s team is in danger of looking like the last hold-outs in favor of coronavirus edicts. Unless he and his party realign in the near future, this approval rating could sink even further.
On the all-important economic question, President Biden is 18 points underwater on just 38.3% approval. If historical precedents hold true, and Americans end up voting based on their wallets (or at least their perception of their wallets), this is the number that could damage the president the most.
While there have been some bright spots for the administration in terms of returning jobs numbers, real wage increases have been all but vanquished due to rising inflation. Mixed messaging on said inflation has not helped the White House seem competent or confident on how to manage the crushing price increases, and the public is beginning to sit back and take serious notice.
But What of Others?
Vice President Harris, despite positive approval in the first six months of her new role, is presently suffering worse than her boss. With just 37% approval she is a shocking 15.8% in the red. Whether this is due to her handling of the border crisis, her inability to deal with tough interview questions, or even just being tarred by Biden’s anti-Midas touch, the VP may have to rethink her strategy for the next presidential election.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), perhaps due to the troubles of managing a split Senate, is polling at just 29% favorability. And yet he shouldn’t feel too disheartened as his GOP counterpart Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is at a staggering low of just 23%. It might seem tempting to dismiss such poor polling as a general political malaise, but if so, the negative effects are not being felt equally. More than one year out of office, but in year six of a ceaseless media campaign against him, former President Trump appears to be doing much better than his opponents. While 45 is still in negative territory overall, he holds a 42.6% approval and 51.3% disapproval, meaning he is both more popular than the current president and less unpopular.
The 44th president, Barack Obama, also enjoyed a more positive reception from voters after he left office, and indeed, is still considered wildly popular among the voting public. But Obama served two terms and cannot run for a third. Trump, in contrast, could still become the 47th president. And that fact, coupled with such disastrous polling for the whole Biden administration, must be causing a lot of sleepless nights in the White House.
~ Read more from Mark Angelides.