There is no debate at this point that Joe Biden is in the midst of a political comeback. President Joe Biden’s popularity improved substantially from his lowest point this summer, but concerns about his handling of the economy persist, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
President Joe Biden’s popularity improved substantially from his lowest point this summer, but concerns about his handling of the economy persist, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Support for Biden recovered from a low of 36% in July to 45%, driven in large part by a rebound in support from Democrats just two months before the November midterm elections. During a few bleak summer months when gasoline prices peaked and lawmakers appeared deadlocked, the Democrats faced the possibility of blowout losses against Republicans.
Their outlook appears better after notching a string of legislative successes that left more Americans ready to judge the Democratic president on his preferred terms: “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.”
From falling gas prices to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act to the re-emergence of Donald Trump as a 2022 campaign issue, things have been going very well for the President of late. This, from a New York Times/Siena College poll released Friday, is telling on that front:
“[The] shift in political momentum has helped boost, in just two months, the president’s approval rating by nine percentage points and doubled the share of Americans who believe the country is on the right track.” The poll found that 42% of registered voters nationally approve of Biden’s job performance, up from 33% in July.
And a look at the CNN Poll of Polls on Biden’s average approval rating makes clear that the Times/Siena poll is not a one-off. Biden’s numbers hit rock bottom around late July/early August at 36% and have been, generally speaking, on the rise since, up to 41% now.
The key question to ask now, then, is not whether Biden is on the comeback trail. He clearly is. The real question is: How high Biden’s numbers will get between now and Election Day?
Biden says railroad agreement is a ‘big win for America’ 02:05
“In Gallup’s polling history, presidents with job approval ratings below 50% have seen their party lose 37 House seats, on average, in midterm elections. That compares with an average loss of 14 seats when presidents had approval ratings above 50%.”
As per Reuters, Biden has been plagued by 40-year highs in inflation, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine restricting global fuel supply and supply chains still constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid these troubles, Biden’s support within his own Democratic Party has declined somewhat.
This week, 79% of Democrats approved of his performance, compared to about 85% in August 2021. Biden’s approval rating has approached – but has yet to reach – the lowest levels of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who had a 33% approval rating in December 2017.
Which is a pretty startling difference, right?
Now, it’s worth noting here that the margins in Congress are so tight that if even if Democrats lost 14 seats in the House this year, they would lose their majority. And if they lost even a single seat in the Senate, they would find themselves in the minority there, too.
That said, there’s no doubt that Biden at, say, 47% or 48% job approval, is a far better thing for Democrats than Biden at 37% or 38%. That’s particularly true if the trend line is, as it is right now, moving upward for Biden as the election approaches, helping provide Democrats with momentum where there was none before.
Still, the poll suggests Biden and his fellow Democrats are gaining momentum right as generating voter enthusiasm and turnout takes precedence. Can Biden get over the critical 50% barrier? It seems unlikely given that the election is now only 53 days away. The last time Biden’s job approval rating hit 50% in Gallup’s polling was more than a year ago — in July 2021.