President Biden’s slipping poll numbers are setting off alarm bells for Democrats and leaving Republicans licking their chops as they prepare for the 2022 midterm elections.
Mr. Biden’s honeymoon period started to fade early in the summer and his approval rating went underwater for the first time following the chaotic U.S. exit from Afghanistan.
Things haven’t gotten any rosier. Mr. Biden is now trying to deal with another disappointing jobs report, unyielding pandemic woes, a spike in urban crime and Democratic infighting on Capitol Hill that has jeopardized key pillars of his agenda.
“If voters don’t like the job the president is doing, they can’t vote against him in a midterm because he’s not on the ballot. So they take out their frustration on candidates from his party,” said Nathan Gonzalez, editor and publisher of Inside Elections, a nonpartisan election tracker.
“The good news for Democrats is that there’s still a lot of time between now and November of 2022,” he said. “The bad news for Democrats is that the country is facing multiple complex problems that don’t have simple solutions.”
Heading into the summer, Mr. Biden was riding high in the polls with 52% of voters approving of his job performance and 43% disapproving.
Those percentages have since flipped on their head: 43% of voters now approve of Mr. Biden’s performance and 52% disapprove, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average of polls.
That doesn’t bode well for Democrats. History shows a president’s party almost always loses House seats in midterm elections.
Former President Obama received a “shellacking” — his description — in the 2010 midterm election when the GOP netted 63 House seats, captured the majority in the lower chamber and made gains in the Senate.
Mr. Trump met a similar fate in 2018 when Democrats gained a net total of 41 seats and retook control of the House.
Mr. Biden has lost ground across the board. Shedding support in most age groups, races and among voters with a high school education or less, according to a YouGovAmerica tracking poll.
He went from a net +12 approval rating among voters under 30-years-old in mid-June to a net -18 in October. Over that same period, he went from a +26 net approval rating among voters between 30-44 years old to a net -10.
Black voters remain very supportive, though his support has slipped there as well.
Hispanic support has fallen off more dramatically, dipping from a net +31 approval rating in June to a net -9 approval rating this month.
A bright spot in the tracking poll for Mr. Biden is voters with a postgraduate degree. His approval rating with that group moved from 54%-44% to 64%-35%.
His approval rating over that time has dropped a net of 14 percentage points among Democrats and a net of 10 percentage points among independents.
A possible good omen for Mr. Biden is that his approval numbers are much better than they were for Mr. Trump at this point in his presidency when 55% disapproved and 39% approved.
Democrats now hold a slim 220-212 majority in the House and Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
The razor-thin margins and the hyper-partisan environment in Washington left Mr. Biden with no wiggle room to carve out a legislative agenda that pleases both the liberal and moderate wings of the Democratic Party.
Mr. Biden was able to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus package through Congress. But he has struggled to recreate that magic in his push for $3.5 trillion in new spending on social programs and $1 trillion for transportation projects. Both packages are teetering amid the infighting in Congress.
Republicans say Democrats are in trouble because Mr. Biden and his party have bowed to a radical strain of far-left liberalism, abandoning working-class voters in key states and congressional districts
“Biden’s plummeting poll numbers are a dire warning sign for House Democrats,” said Michael McAdams, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “If vulnerable Democrats were smart, they’d retire now and save themselves the embarrassment of having to defend their toxic socialist agenda.”
Democrats, meanwhile, are convinced they can win over voters by passing the Biden bills and reminding them that Mr. Trump controls the GOP.
Chris Taylor, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, credited Mr. Biden and House Democrats with “tackling America’s toughest challenges”
“House Republicans have doubled down on an extremist agenda that includes pushing conspiracy theories about the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine while Americans die needlessly and our economic rebound is threatened,” Mr. Taylor said. “Voters know that they’re just too dangerous to be in charge of Washington.”
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