Joe Biden’s approval ratings, which have trended downward for the entirety of his presidency, have tanked in the past month. The biggest influence on his poll numbers in recent weeks has been his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan—which has prompted calls for his resignation and impeachment. Investigations are ongoing, yet after an initial sharp decline, Biden’s approval ratings have stopped their free fall and appear to have leveled off—though he remains underwater at this time.
Could it be that Joe Biden’s approval ratings have stabilized? Maybe.
Americans certainly haven’t forgotten about Afghanistan–and with good reason. There are still Americans left behind there, and the recent admission that one of our retaliatory drone strikes killed 10 civilians, most of whom were children, has added to the bad news coming out of the country. Joe Biden had hoped for a “mission accomplished” moment on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but instead Americans saw the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan as a sign that after twenty years we’re not safer today from Islamic extremists than we were then.
It’s not just Afghanistan pulling Biden down. His inability to get COVID under control as he promised he could is hurting him too. The border crisis isn’t helping him either. Biden’s failure to improve relations with our allies also undermines his presidency.
Still, with all these issues working against him, it’s difficult to explain why his numbers aren’t worse.
Over at RealClearPolitics, Biden’s average approval rating has been underwater since August 20 and currently stands at -4 approval. Meanwhile, over at FiveThirtyEight, his average approval rating has been underwater since August 31 and currently stands at -3.2 approval.
Believe it or not, there are still some recent polls that have Biden above water.
A Fox News poll of registered voters has Biden at 50 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval. A Monmouth University poll similarly has him at +1 approval. A poll from The Hill/HarrisX has him at +3 approval. Of course, most polls aren’t so generous to him. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey has Biden at -13 approval. But most recent polls have him at -3 to -6. This is why I appreciate poll averaging. And looking at his average now, after having an undeniably terrible month, I’m shocked that his average approval ratings aren’t worse. Only -4 at RealClearPolitics? Just -3.2 at FiveThirtyEight? Joe Biden may be at or near the floor of his approval/disapproval ratings. Which is sad and shocking.
When members of the liberal media are trashing Biden (MSNBC’s Chuck Todd says Biden is suffering from a credibility crisis), it’s hard to imagine how he remains at such a relatively small deficit of approval. Heck, he’s still doing better than Donald Trump was this point in his presidency. But if we assume this is the worst month Biden will have, we may have seen him hit the floor of his approval ratings. Now, there’s plenty of reason to believe things will continue to get worse, but partisan loyalty is clearly keeping his approval ratings somewhat stable despite being underwater, and it’s hard to see them going much lower. A 4-point deficit in approval is hardly insurmountable, especially this early in his presidency. But given what he’s weathered so far, it seems plausible that while he may never regain the confidence he had from the people in the early days of his presidency, he’ll probably hover in the 50/50 range longterm. It’s hardly the best position for a president looking to implement an ambitious agenda, but it’s better than what he deserves.