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President Joe Biden is arguably having the worst weeks of his still-young presidency: the disastrous American retreat from Afghanistan, the disappointing job report issued by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics last week, and the growing fear of permanent inflation has brought Biden a fair amount of negative press. Worst for him and the Democrats, the President is now deep underwater in his approval ratings.
According to poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight, almost 50% of the American public now disapproves of the president’s handling of the job, a significant increase from a few weeks ago when only 43% didn’t like the job the president was doing. Most of this fall on Biden’s numbers occurred in August, with the president going from 51.5% approval at the beginning of the month to a meager 45% at the beginning of September.
Biden’s misfortunes with the American people did not end in August, with a recent YouGov/The Economist poll showing that a record number of Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance, with 49% of those surveyed saying they did not approve of the president’s job and only 39% think he is doing a good job. The survey is the first time since the YouGov/The Economist poll started that the president has stayed below 40% approval rating.
Biden is underperforming with Independents, Latinos, Whites, and African Americans
The YouGov/The economist poll is even more devastating for the President’s political standing once we get into the details of the survey, as Biden is not only underwater among core Republican constituencies (like non-college-educated whites) but he is also underperforming among some key core Democratic constituencies, especially Hispanics and black Americans, and also he is failing to regain the trust of the all-important Independent bloc of voters.
Independents, at least in the YouGov poll, have turned decisively against the president, with 56% of those surveyed saying they do not approve of Biden’s performance. Expectedly, a whopping majority of republicans (89%) also disapprove of Biden’s first months as president, while a majority of Democrats (77%) still have a positive evaluation of Biden.
Most worrisome for Biden’s political fortunes is how bad he is underperforming with the Latino voter, with the YouGov poll showing that only 41% of Hispanics approve of his job while 36% disapprove, with 22% of Hispanics not being sure how to evaluate the president’s job. This bad performance on the Latino vote would surely bring smiles to the faces of Republican politicians, who made significant inroads in the Latino vote in 2020.
The president has underperformed even within the African American community, which has been a reliably Democratic voting bloc for decades. According to the survey, only 55% of Black respondents approved of Biden’s job while 26% said they disapproved, to put this into context, Democrats won 92% of the African American vote in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center.
Americans also disapprove Biden on the economy, Foreign affairs, and COVID-19
Biden’s polling woes continue when respondents are asked directly how do they evaluate the president’s in the policy issues that most affect Americans. While Biden had previously scored relatively well in his handling of COVID-19, even those numbers plummeted with Americans also rejecting the President’s job in the economy, national security, Afghanistan, taxes, and even climate change.
When asked about the president’s job on the economy and jobs, only 40% of those surveyed approved of him while 47% did not, a figure that would surely preoccupy Democratic strategists as the economic metrics remain lackluster with rising inflation and anemic job recovery. Respondents also disapproved of how Biden handled the Afghanistan retreat, with 55% of those surveyed saying he did a bad job and only 33% approving of him.
Biden’s numbers on COVID-19, which had usually been high throughout the year, also suffered, with a plurality of Americans (46%), thinking he has done a bad job while only 42% say they approve of how he has handled the crisis. Americans also disapprove of Biden in issues like National security (47%to 39%), taxation and government spending (50% to 34%), and climate change and the environment (42% to 38%).
Americans view Biden as weak, not honest, and as unable to unify the country
Democrats might hope that in a few months—with a more favorable news cycle and with the Afghan calamity back in the rearview—they could improve Biden’s numbers. However, the YouGov poll also showed a series of even more alarming data points for Democrats, with most Americans doubting the President’s leadership abilities, his trustworthiness, and his ability to unite the nation.
An astonishing 58% of surveyed say they think that Biden is an either somewhat or very weak leader, in contrast with only 42% who said that the President was a strong leader. Additionally, 44% of Americans think that the President is not trustworthy and only 38% think that he is honest. Half of the country also say they are uneasy with Biden’s capability to lead the country through an international crisis, a perception that has been surely influenced by the Kabul retreat.
Finally, and most damming for a president who campaigned as someone who was going to reunite the country after four years of Trump, a substantial majority of Americans (57%) think that Biden cannot bring the country together, with only 17% of surveyed thinking that he can.
President Biden might have come to office thinking that he could be the next FDR, however, it appears that somebody didn’t give the memo to the American people.
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.