Earlier this month, President Joe Biden joked that he doesn’t follow his approval numbers “anymore.”
While appearing on late-night talk shows Biden told Jimmy Fallon, the host of the “Tonight Show,” that he did keep an eye on his poll numbers when he was new to the presidency. However, he said he doesn’t pay attention anymore now that his numbers are in the 40s.
All jokes aside, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Biden avoided following his approval ratings after they have slid down for five straight months.
Breaking: Biden’s approval rating hits a new low of 36% with independents and Latino voters abandoning the Democratic Party
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) December 27, 2021
In his first six months in office, the president’s poll numbers were playing in the low to mid-50s. However, they started going down in August following the heavily criticized handling of the U.S. troop’s exit from Afghanistan and an increase of COVID-19 cases in summer among a population of mainly unvaccinated people.
This drop in ratings was also fueled by an increase in consumer prices since summer as well as, to a lesser degree, the influx of migrants trying to get into the country using the U.S.-Mexico border.
Biden's Sliding Numbers
In mid-November, the president’s approval went below 40% in two popular national polls done by ABC News/Washington Post and Quinnipiac University.
In some more recent polls, his numbers saw a slight uptick as Biden’s numbers stood at 47% approval and 51% disapproval in the latest survey from FOX Business, 48%-52% in the latest CNN poll, and 48%-46% in a Reuters/Ipsos survey. However, his average approval rating heading into the end of his first year in office is definitely not something to brag about.
The president’s average poll numbers stood at 44%-53% and 43%-51% in the most recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight, respectively, just ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
A cause for concern remains after getting past the top lines in the latest surveys. Biden’s approval in connection to most major issues are also down, and he’s also seen a downtick with key voting blocs.
Longtime Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, who also conducted polls for former President Donald Trump’s campaigns in both 2016 and 2020, noted that Biden’s “absolute collapse of support among independents,” which were significant factors in his victory in the recent presidential elections, along with his “collapse among Hispanic voters” contribute greatly to where his current poll numbers are.
Approval ratings are key indicators of the political strength of the president and his clout to get things moving in Washington. Biden’s unimpressive numbers don’t help him at all as president as he remains to struggle in passing key elements of his agenda. These include the Democrats’ huge spending package on human infrastructure and on fighting climate change, as well as the party’s wide-ranging election and campaign finance reform bill.
Approval ratings have also been monitored for a long time as an indicator right before the midterm elections. With this, his numbers could be a bad omen for Democrats as they try to retain their razor-thin majorities in Congress for the 2022 elections.
Fabrizio also noted Biden’s standings among independent and Hispanic voters, arguing that, based on a voter group perspective, these two blocs present two significant shifts that may mean the difference between the president’s party losing several House seats and a wave that boots them out of at least 40 seats.
🚨🚨 A new national PBS / Marist poll finds Joe Biden’s approval rating is significantly LOWER with Hispanics than it is with whites.
These numbers are devastating for Democrats. pic.twitter.com/XWZyKktuGd
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) December 20, 2021
Approval Ratings in Recent Presidencies
Biden’s poll numbers fall behind his recent predecessors when comparing this point in their term. Former President George W. Bush was at 84%-12% in late December 2001 as his approval ratings soared while the country rallied around the government following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011. Meanwhile, Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton had their standings at 50%-45$ and 54%-40% respectively near the end of their first years as president.
The only recent president who had ratings below Biden’s at a similar point in his presidency was Trump’s who stood at 39%-56% at the tail end of 2017.
Under Clinton in 1994 and Obama in 2010, the Democratic party experienced devastating midterm elections. However, both Democratic presidents managed to rebound and had won reelections two years later. Meanwhile, House Republicans saw a beating in the 2018 midterms during Trump’s presidency, resulting in the loss of their 8-year-long majority. Additionally, Trump did not manage to rebound and clinch reelection against Biden two years later.
According to Fox News, veteran pollster John Anzalone, who conducted surveys for Biden during the 2020 campaign, said that everyone is aware that “voters are in a sour mood.”
However, he also noted that “it’s December 2021,” and that the situation in 10 months may be vastly different.
“The reality is there's no modern president who's had the confluence of challenges like Joe Biden,” Anzalone stated. “People tend to reward leaders who've gone through challenges and handled them well and got out of it.”
Anzalone acknowledged that it’s “not a fun time to be in right now.” However, he emphasized that “Joe Biden just doesn’t give up. He's going to keep moving forward and get things done. He's the eternal optimist.”
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