Joe Biden Still More Popular Than His Most Likely 2024 Opponent

joe biden
Joe Biden Still More Popular Than His Most Likely 2024 Opponent
Photo: Adam Schultz/Biden for President. Creative Commons license 2.0

Well, that was quick: It seems no one likes President Joe Biden anymore. The honeymoon is over, says noted prognosticator Chris Cillizza, who is consistently wrong but never quits with the bad takes. He's an inspiring tribute to unwarranted self-confidence.

The shine has worn off Joe Biden.

His average approval ratings is now below 50% in the running averages maintained by 538 (49.3%) and Real Clear Politics (49.6%). (Hat tip to Politico's Playbook for first noting it!)

Yes, Cillizza credits the equally lousy Politico for the hardscrabble reporting involved in simply reading 538 and Real Clear Politics. That was August 18, when Biden was facing backlash for not ending the war in Afghanistan like a Michael Bay movie. The media elevated rightwing talking points and otherwise joined in the pile-on because confrontational press conferences is how reporters go viral on Twitter. They know that craft is king.

Ed Kilgore at New York Magazine wrote about Biden's horrible, no good approval ratings Wednesday:

Given how Americans are feeling about current conditions in the country (at RealClearPolitics the right track/wrong track polling averages have eroded from 44-50 in May to 30-60 now), it's not that surprising that Biden's job-approval ratio is now underwater for the first time (47 percent approve to 49 percent disapprove in the straightforward RCP averages and 46.7 percent approve to 47.2 percent disapprove at FiveThirtyEight, which adjusts polls for partisan bias, and weighs them for reliability).

Morning Consult attributed Biden's “record low" approval rating of 48 percent in its own poll to an erosion of support among independents. The media reminded this fickle demo that there was a war in Afghanistan and, worse yet, we “lost." Independents also aren't thrilled with the COVID-19 surge, even though Biden isn't the one locking unmasked schoolchildren alone in a room filled with coronavirus.

Here's the thing, though, about Biden's “record low" approval rating. It's still better than anything the twice-impeached thug managed. According to an analysis of NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling data from January 1993 to January 2021 (shortly after he sicced his droogs on Congress), Donald Trump's approval rating was 47 percent at its highest in October 2018 and sunk as low as 38 percent in October 2017, when he was busy pushing through tax cuts for jillionaires and offending Gold Star widows. Even a hacky Rasmussen poll has Biden at 42 percent, which was a mid-range result for Trump. The same poll claimed 52 percent of voters think Biden should resign, but if that was asked of every Trump poll, the number would've been consistently higher. People hated that guy.

That reminds us of another key point: Trump wasn't just unpopular. No one really liked his policies either, aside from GOP donors and members of the Federalist Society “Judge of the Month" club. Meanwhile, Biden's agenda and actions remain popular. The Daily Kos poll showed that 71 percent of voters support Biden's efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination; 52 percent approve of his bipartisan infrastructure bill; 52 percent approve of his enhanced child tax credit payments (the other 48 percent are more “fuck kids"); 52 percent support his cancelling $5.8 billion in student debt for more than 320,000 borrowers with severe disabilities. I listed all of these so you'd have something to tell your pouty liberal friends who claim Biden's achieved nothing more than removing Trump from office, which is itself a Nobel Prize-worthy feat. I'm sometimes a pouty liberal, especially after body blows like the Texas abortion ban and voter suppression bills, so it's nice to have a moment to see the tangible good he's done despite having to deal with GOP assholes.

Trump helped carry the GOP to a triumphant ass-kicking in 2018, but even if Biden's approval remains underwater, he's not on the ballot in 2022. Voters might still reward Democrats for his policies, which they like.

Of course, if the media were in the fair and balanced business, they'd consider speaking with some of the 47 percent of voters who are sticking with Biden. That was a regular beat during the Trump era. There were even articles about why Trump's Whitman Sampler of scandals didn't matter to the MAGA faithful.

New York Post

And even some voters who hated Trump were still willing to dry hump fascism at the ballot box. Political strategist Sarah Longwell interviewed voters last year who preferred Trump to what they considered the Washington DC elite, which apparently didn't include the sitting US president who lived and worked in that city.

For instance, during the focus groups I convened throughout Trump's impeachment, few of the women had anything nice to say about Trump's actions. But their real contempt was reserved for Democrats and "the media," whom they viewed as unnecessarily adversarial to Trump. And the plain fact is that they were unwilling to give much weight to an argument about the rule of law and abuse of power, because it didn't have a visible impact on their lives.

Yes, a corrupt president who wantonly abuses his power isn't quite the kitchen table issue that “cancel culture" is.

The Atlantic

When Trump's COVID-19 mismanagement was at a peak last summer, CNN interviewed “loyal supporters" in so-called “Trump country," who lived a “world away from Washington." This was Florida, which is a just short plane ride to DC.

Some of President Donald Trump's loyal supporters are becoming well-practiced in the art of forgiveness, saying they are drawn to his record and willing to overlook his rhetoric.

"I think his personality is hard to deal with, his way of handling people is difficult," said Karen Deeter, a Florida retiree who moved here from Illinois. "He's not a politician, but he's gotten some things done."

OH, WHAT HAS HE GOTTEN DONE, WOMAN LITERALLY NAMED KAREN? Are you even still alive, Karen? I don't want to shout if she succumbed to the Trump/DeSantis COVID-19 special. I'd feel bad. CNN should send Jeff Zeleny and Caroline Kenny to a Black beauty parlor in Atlanta where a sister can tell them that Afghanistan has nothing to do with her and she's still riding with Biden.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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