Biden’s approval rating has dipped another three points from mid-September to 42% – his lowest level yet, according to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll — which might bode trouble for Democrats in Congress.
Half of Americans continue to express dissatisfaction with the president’s performance. Fewer Americans reportedly feel that “things are heading in the right direction” (28%) at a lower rate than at any point during Biden’s presidency.
- The controversy around the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the emergence of the Covid delta variant have pushed President Joe Biden’s approval ratings to their lowest level of his presidency.
- Despite Afghanistan’s continued dominance on TV news, analysts reckon Covid is the primary reason for Biden’s poll dip.
- The passage of two major spending bills this fall might help Biden and Democrats in Congress reclaim their footing.
President Biden is having a tough month. Biden poll ratings have slipped to their record low during his presidency, mainly owing to Covid and Afghanistan.
The hasty withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan appears to have damaged voters’ confidence in his commitment to restoring competence and a firm hand to the White House.
Americans from the political aisle are shocked by images of desperate throngs attempting to exit the country through the Kabul airport.
Biden maintains that any US withdrawal would result in an element of turmoil. However, after two decades of war and nation-building, Afghanistan’s swift fall to the Taliban raises grave concerns about whether American men died in vain.
Biden’s approval rating has suffered a setback.
Domestically, the highly contagious delta variant of Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on hospital intensive care units. The latest Covid crisis has split the nation in two, owing to chronically high numbers of unvaccinated adults in some of the country’s poorest states.
On the one hand, vaccinated individuals are coping with Covid as if it were a seasonal flu. On the other hand, unvaccinated individuals are contracting Covid at rates comparable to those seen during the pandemic’s early stages.
Biden’s approval polling problem
As America grapples with two crises, polls indicate that voters are growing increasingly critical of Biden.
President Biden began the month with an average approval rating of 51.5 percent, down from 54 percent in May.
Biden’s average approval rating had slipped to 47% on Tuesday, the lowest level of his presidency thus far.
Polls conducted by Suffolk University, NBC News, Morning Consult, Harris, and CBS News indicate that, while most Americans support Biden’s initial decision to withdraw the last American troops from Afghanistan, they are primarily critical of how the withdrawal is being managed.
By and large, voters approve of Biden’s handling of Covid better than they approve of his handling of Afghanistan. However, this summer saw a decline in his Covid approvals.
Nonetheless, pollsters stress that Americans often rate their presidents on their domestic policies, not their foreign policies.
Thus, the decline in Biden’s overall approval ratings is likely due to slightly lower approval for his handling of the Covid case, rather than a drastic decline in voter approval for how the Afghanistan withdrawal is being handled.
According to a recent NBC News poll, approval of Biden’s handling of the Covid case dropped 16 points from 69 percent in April to 53 percent in August.
Yet, only 25% of voters rated Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan issue favorably.
“April’s promise has resulted in August’s risk,” Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt told NBC News.
“It is the domestic storm, Covid’s delta wave, that is creating further complications here at home and for President Biden at the moment.”
Horwitt’s Republican opponent, Bill McInturff, was more direct in his response to the NBC poll. “The most effective approach to appreciate this poll is to forget about Afghanistan,” he stated.
Biden’s approval slip spells trouble for Democrats.
Biden’s dwindling approval ratings in Washington are generating consternation among his Democratic colleagues.
With a slim seven-seat majority in the House and historical precedents favoring Republicans to win a majority next year, Democrats had been banking on Biden’s overwhelming public approval to help them retain their tight majority.
In July, the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way published research exposing Democrats’ economic trust deficit with voters. According to the report, vulnerable Democrats should “run as Biden Democrats in 2022 on the economy.”
According to the report, “a majority approves of President Biden’s economic economy (50–48 percent), while voters disapprove of Democrats in Congress by a margin of 41–55 percent.”
Whereas Biden continues to poll higher than congressional Democrats on his overall handling of the economy, his approval rating has dipped below 50% in this area as well.
According to an NBC News poll, public approval of Biden’s economic management has declined five points since April, from 52 percent to 47 percent.
And, as House Democrats are painfully aware, 47% is insufficient to win a majority.
Despite the grim outlook for Biden and Democrats at the moment, the president has multiple chances to turn things around in the coming months.
If the US withdraws from Afghanistan without incurring any American casualties, voters will likely forget about the turmoil at Kabul’s airport.
Even better for Biden would be the passage of his two big domestic spending bills, an infrastructure bill, and a social safety net expansion by House and Senate Democrats.
If all of this pans out, Biden’s August low point may seem to be a fluke.