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What Do Voters Say Now About Joe Biden’s Pandemic Response?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

“God willing, I think we’re just about to turn the corner again on the pandemic,” Joe Biden said on Wednesday. It would be nice to believe that, but this is not the first time we’ve heard the same line. “We’ve been through a lot this past year, and with more and more people getting vaccinated each day, we’re starting to turn the corner,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said back in March.

The Biden administration had every reason to believe it, too.

After taking office amidst a sharp decline in COVID cases and deaths, they most likely believed they were going to be able to take advantage of the situation they inherited and claim victory over the virus. Sure enough, Biden’s poll numbers on the pandemic were strong—so strong in fact that the approval of his pandemic response was boosting his overall approval ratings.

A month after taking office, a Morning Consult poll found that 60 percent of voters approved of Biden’s pandemic response. His net approval of +27 was nearly double that of Trump’s high of +14 in March of 2020.

But things have changed since then. Despite the fact that Biden inherited two COVID vaccines approved for emergency use, cases eventually began to rise again because of the delta variant. After pledging repeatedly during his presidential campaign to end the pandemic, Biden proved powerless or unwilling to stop the delta variant from coming into the United States and spreading like wildfire. The variant is less deadly than the original strain but much more contagious. As a result, more Americans have died from COVID-19 this year than in all of 2020. Based on the current trajectory of the virus, it seems very likely that by Thanksgiving more COVID deaths will have occurred on Biden’s watch than during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Based on the standard set by the left last year, the sitting president bears personal responsibility for the COVID deaths that have occurred on his watch. Neither the Democrats nor the media are blaming Biden today, but it appears that the public has nevertheless soured on Joe Biden’s pandemic response—which has suffered from a series of missteps, mixed messages, and a severe case of Fauci-itis. According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll released this week, a majority of voters (52 percent) rate his response to COVID as poor or fair. Only 43 percent rate his response as good or excellent.

The Biden administration has tried to blame Trump for Biden’s poor response to the pandemic, but this poll makes it clear that the public isn’t buying it. Joe Biden took over with more advantages than Trump ever had. Trump didn’t have two vaccines going in. Trump didn’t have months and months of research into the virus and therapeutics either. Biden did. While we can have a separate debate over whether political leaders can really change the trajectory of a pandemic, one thing is certain: Joe Biden ran on the promise that he could and would. Without a doubt, he’s failed in his promise to end the pandemic, and voters see that.