Many would argue that the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan has been the low point of Biden’s presidency. Between the rapid collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government, the Taliban’s rapid takeover, and the deaths of 13 U.S. service members at Kabul airport, things got so bad for Biden that he saw his approval ratings collapse.
Even as Afghanistan faded into the background, Biden’s approval ratings never recovered. Despite Biden’s best efforts, by the end of September several polls, including Gallup and Pew, showed Biden underwater for the first time. And not just underwater, but with a majority of voters in each poll rating him negatively.
Biden’s RealClearPolitics average disapproval rating had passed 50 percent. However, his disapproval average eventually started to trend in his favor, albeit slightly. Did his effort to distract the public from his Afghanistan failure work? Did his vaccine mandate convince the public he was finally doing something about COVID? I have to admit, it looked to me as though Biden had, at the very least, stopped the bleeding and was possibly repairing his image in the eyes of the voters—even if only gradually.
But if Biden thought that his approval ratings would recover once people moved on from Afghanistan, he was dead wrong. In the past five days, his approval ratings have taken a huge hit, with his RCP average approval rating hitting its lowest yet at 43.3 percent. Meanwhile, his RCP average disapproval shot up to its highest ever at 52 percent, giving him a spread of -8.7 points.
Biden's RCP average disapproval rating skyrockets. pic.twitter.com/QCyvkXBe6t
— Matt Margolis (@mattmargolis) October 10, 2021
Several polls are now showing him with significant deficits in approval. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey has Biden at -12. The most recent Trafalgar Group poll has Biden an -16 approval. The Politico/Morning Consult poll from earlier this month even shows him at -7.
Even the Democrat-leaning Quinnipiac poll has Biden at -13 in its latest survey. And the numbers look even worse when you dig deep into them. As PJM’s Rick Moran noted last week, Biden got negative scores in the double digits on every issue except his handling of the COVID pandemic.
- the response to the coronavirus: -8 points
- the economy: -16 points
- his job as commander in chief of the U.S. military: -12 points
- taxes: -17 points
- foreign policy: -24 points
- immigration issues: -42 points
- the situation at the Mexican border: -44 points
Adding insult to injury, 55 percent of Americans believe that the Biden administration is not competent in running the government, compared to 42 percent who think it is.
What happened? If you ask White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Biden’s bad poll numbers are because of the “20 percent of the country who’ve decided not to get vaccinated,” but that’s not it. Afghanistan opened people’s eyes to Biden’s incompetence. Not only has he failed to rein in COVID like he promised, but the failure to get his $3.5 trillion social spending bill passed proved to Americans that he’s not the great negotiator he claimed himself to be during the campaign. He chose the radical left over compromising with Republicans and moderate Democrats. It’s no coincidence that his biggest decline in approval has come from independents. They’re the ones who were convinced that Donald Trump was a roadblock to cooperation in government. They thought Biden, with his many years of experience in the Senate and so-called reputation as a moderate, would usher in a new era of unity and compromise.
Biden’s inability to recover in the weeks since Afghanistan suggests that his approval ratings might never recover. He might score the occasional political victory, but he’s lost the faith and trust of independents and it seems like he’s incapable of doing anything to earn that trust back.