President Joe Biden’s approval rating has been falling fairly steadily since taking office, but if there was one thing he might have expected to stop his ship from sinking, it was his first State of the Union address. The commander-in-chief delivered the much-awaited speech March 1 – now several days later, it has barely moved the needle.
And Ugly Trend
Real Clear Politics’ RCP Poll Average compiles all the presidential approval surveys of note. As of March 3, Biden’s average is 41.6% approve and 53% disapprove, a spread of -11.9. Rasmussen digs a little deeper though, also highlighting those who strongly approve or disapprove, allowing fence sitters – and folks who don’t much care – to be removed from the equation. The president’s approval index; the difference between those who strongly approve and strongly disapprove, paints an even worse picture.
Rasmussen’s total approval and disapproval numbers for March 3 are a hair better for Biden than RCP’s, 44% and 54%, respectively. However, a mere 25% strongly approved of the president, while 45% strongly disapproved, resulting in an approval index of -20.
Biden hasn’t come above -20 since September of 2021 and has been in the negative double digits since that July. Even the RCP average – which includes some relatively generous polls showing him in the positive – has the president dropping in general approval fairly consistently since taking office, and in a negative spread since August 2021.
We all know the country is disappointed in Biden, but this index shows just how much – and how hard it will be for the president to break the surface. The day of Barack Obama’s first State of the Union, Jan. 27, 2010, his Rasmussen approval index was -15. It dipped down to -17 for the next two days but jumped to a mere -7 on the third day, Jan. 31. Feb. 1 saw him at -4.
Donald Trump’s first SOTU was Jan. 30, 2018. At the time, 29% strongly approved of his performance and 44% strongly disapproved, resulting in an approval index of -14, much like Obama’s. It remained there for two days, and on the third day, February 2, jumped even higher than his predecessor’s, to -3.
Neither president saw more than a 4% jump in general approval after their first addresses, but the difference was there, amongst Americans with strong feelings one way or another. Biden cannot say the same. The -25 of March 1 improved slightly to -23 and then -20, but on the third day, fell back to -21. At a point in the first term when Obama and Trump approval indexes were -7 and -3, respectively, Biden still sits at a -21 – a number Trump never saw during his presidency and that Obama didn’t see until the end of his second year in office. For that matter, the previous two both spend some small amount of time in the positive – 49 days out of Obama’s eight years and 11 of Trump’s four. Joe’s just one year in, but so far the best he has seen is two days sitting flush at zero.
Bad News Biden
Biden’s time in office so far seems to have been one disaster after another. The botched Afghanistan withdrawal, record-high inflation, and the disappearance of even the pretense of a southern border have all been laid at his feet. The president’s son seems to be a never ending source of scandal, both personal and professional, and Joe’s own health has the world wondering if he’s fit for duty.
It’s no wonder Americans don’t see much potential in the supposed “leader of the free world” anymore. And we aren’t alone; the dictators of the world don’t respect him, either. In just over a year, Biden managed to lose what little ground President Trump gained with China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
It’s highly unlikely Russia’s Vladimir Putin would have launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine with a strong president in the U.S. Notice the only times Moscow made real moves to gobble up its neighbors in recent history were under arguably spineless presidents: George W. Bush, Obama, and Biden. Do you believe for a second Putin forgot about his dreams of a risen Russian Empire while Trump ruled the roost? Think again. It takes a firm hand to rein in Russian aggression, and a little uncertainty as to whether you’re just as crazy as Putin doesn’t hurt, either.
Biden hasn’t pulled off a real win since being elected – and with all that has happened since, there’s an argument for calling even that a loss in disguise. With our economic troubles worsening, the impending red wave of the 2022 midterms, and the loss of protection from much of the press, the future seems just as bleak as the past for the president, both in public approval and his chances at re-election.
~ Read more from James Fite.