With Christmas in the rear-view mirror and 2022 about to end, how do Americans feel about the nation’s political leadership? For almost all the top-name politicos, this has been a bumpy year with a handful of successes but perhaps more losses. Who does the polling favor, and what does this portend for 2023 and beyond?
White House on the Rails
The less-than-dynamic duo in the White House close out the year in negative territory. President Joe Biden’s favorability is underwater by almost eight points; in fact, he has not posted a positive approval rating since March in an outlier poll courtesy of YouGov. The last time the commander-in-chief had any respectable polling (defined as more than one poll in a month that is not in the minus column) was back in August of 2021.. just before the disastrously managed withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
Rasmussen polling indicates that a plurality of likely voters – 47% – think Biden’s presidency has made America worse as a nation. Those who feel he has made the country better come in at 34%, and 17% say he has made little difference. Additionally, “Forty-two percent (42%) now believe America’s best days are in the past, up from 33% in November 2020.”
Despite Biden’s damning numbers, Vice President Kamala Harris appears to be outperforming her boss in making voters disgruntled. Coming in at almost minus 16 points, the number two in succession has not received a positive poll result for a year and a half. In early 2021, Harris was riding a wave of – if not popularity – at least some tacit approval from American voters, and then it all turned south. Precipitating her negative downturn was being named “border czar” by the administration. Since her investiture, it has all been downhill.
Congress and the Polling Nightmare
That the Senate and the House of Representatives are viewed poorly by most Americans is of little surprise. Rasmussen “finds that 25% of Likely U.S. voters believe that Congress is doing a good or excellent job,” this is actually up six points since April. However, those who view the two chambers negatively still hold the lead, with 45% saying it does a “poor job.” But perhaps worse for the nation’s legislative body is that a hefty plurality thinks “most members of Congress are corrupt.”
Poling shows 42% of those surveyed see a significant corruption problem, versus 33% who disagree; 25% are not sure. It is one thing to be thought incompetent but quite another to be deemed corrupt. As Henry Kissinger once opined, “Corrupt politicians make the other 0% look bad.”
Former President Donald Trump currently has a negative polling score of -19.6%, according to the RealClearPolitics aggregate. And while this puts him well behind both Biden and Harris in terms of favorability, for Trump, it may not be quite the millstone around his neck that it is for other politicians. The average of polls has always shown the 45th president to be in negative territory; in fact, when he won election in November 2016, his average approval was roughly the same as it is now. But the Donald has more than just poor polling to deal with if he wants to become the 47th president.
Fresh from his recent midterm victory, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is polling well – especially in such a politicized climate. Every survey taken since November gives DeSantis a positive number. His RCP average is +5.2%, making him one of the most popular national politicians. As Liberty Nation reported regarding a potential White House run, the governor is “beginning the process of hiring from within the ranks of his gubernatorial campaign staff for a presidential run in 2024.”
The 2024 Horse Race
Polling this far out from an election is notoriously unreliable, but we do have some indicators for the next presidential contest: betting markets.
The cash money gamblers presently rate a Republican victory in 2024 as most likely, 4/6 over 11/4. The big question, of course, is who will be entering battle for the top spot. On the Democrat side, Joe Biden remains the favorite to receive the nomination, with Harris coming in a distant second. For Republicans, however, everything is in a state of flux.
Prior to the 2022 midterms, Trump was the GOP favorite, closely followed by DeSantis. Most interestingly, the betting markets believed that both of these men could beat Biden, putting the incumbent president in the third spot. Now though, the Florida governor is leading the pack, with Biden in second.
If DeSantis can ride the wave of popularity he is currently experiencing, his route to the White House – based on polling and betting odds – appears likely.
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