News & Politics

No Honeymoon: The Enthusiasm for Biden's Presidency Appears to Match the Enthusiasm for His Campaign

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

One of the genuinely puzzling things about the 2020 election is the enthusiasm gap between candidate Biden and President Trump, which the corporate media often acknowledged as a cause for concern. Time magazine essentially explained the reversal of fortunes on that metric and numerous others during election month as precincts endlessly counted ballots. Legal maneuvering and massive donations to local elections offices brought scores of people who are typically non-voters into the process in Democrat strongholds.

As a result, it is going about as you would expect. Americans’ response to Biden’s policies and the president himself is lukewarm at best. Two separate polls, Rasmussen and Harvard/Harris, show that more Americans believe the country is on the wrong track than the right track. Rasmussen reports that 56% of likely voters feel the nation is headed down the wrong path, and Harvard Harris says a plurality of 47% feel the same, with 43% responding that we are headed in the right direction.

According to Rasmussen, for his first month in office, Biden has a Presidential Approval Index rating of -5. This finding is consistent with the firm’s Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, which has never entered positive territory for Biden. On two days in mid-February, those who strongly approved of his performance and strongly disapproved netted out to zero, and that is the highest it has been. There was a low of -10 on February 26.

Economic confidence has also declined for the third month in a row following the election. Before Election Day, it was 126.4 in Rasmussen’s index and heading back toward the high of 147.8 directly before the pandemic lockdowns. The index now sits at 97.8, a nearly 30-point slide. Harvard Harris also shows a plurality of registered voters, 45%, who believe the economy is on the wrong track and a majority, 53%, characterize the economy as weak. Rasmussen finds a plurality of Americans expect their financial situation to worsen, and only 18% believe the economy will get better. Only 13% of unaffiliated voters, an important constituency for 2022, feel optimistic that the economy will improve.

It is difficult to take the Harvard Harris poll too seriously on issues and approval ratings since 11% of respondents report they did not vote in the 2020 election. In November, the country saw historic participation, and registered voters who did not participate are probably not as politically engaged as the likely voters polled by Rasmussen. Economic opinions seem more reliable as individuals are affected by rising prices and other factors, no matter how politically engaged they are.

The reported familiarity with high-profile politicians and public figures in the Harvard Harris poll is also shocking. A full 10% have never heard of Vice President Kamala Harris. Some respondents must live under a rock, as 7% report having never heard of Donald Trump. Only 81% report having an opinion about China. That section of the poll alone is an excellent argument for better civic education in an age where most Americans have access to all the information they could need to engage in a device in their pocket.

Rasmussen has produced an Immigration Index since December of 2019. The poll asks a series of questions designed to determine whether voters are moving toward an immigration system that encourages more immigration to the United States or reduces the level of immigration. Since the election, it has fallen 15 points, indicating that voters are looking for tighter immigration control from President Biden. Given the run on the border and return of catch-and-release, they will undoubtedly be disappointed.

Likewise, other Democrat policies do not receive majority support from American adults, according to Rasmussen. On transgender participation in sports, only 32% support them competing against others of the gender they identify with. Only 29% favor making Washington, D.C., a state. On the administration’s handling of China, only 31% of likely voters say the Biden policy is better than the one under President Trump.

Perhaps most telling, 54% of likely voters agree with the statement: “Joe Biden’s not the moderate nice guy that they made him out to be. He’s a puppet of the radical left.” Even 29% of Democrats agreed with that sentiment, which Donald Trump Jr. made in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner. A plurality of 49% says the left wing has too much influence on Biden compared to 13% who say they do not have enough. This sentiment does not bode well given Americans’ view of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the radical left’s poster child. A majority, 54%, have an unfavorable opinion of the congresswoman.

Democrat strategist James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid,” during the 1992 election. One has to wonder if the economic sentiments will influence the Biden administration at all. Before 2020, one of the critical indicators for electoral victory was whether or not Americans felt like they were better off than they were four years ago. Like so many other predictive measures, the election in November also upended this one. Clearly, Americans’ confidence in the economy is waning.

However, Democrats seem to feel they received an electoral mandate in November, despite losing at the state level, losing seats in the House, and having a dead heat in the Senate. There appears to be a significant risk of them approaching policymaking as if the left wing of the party is ascendant. Perhaps this miscalculation is the price they will pay for flooding blue districts with outside money for a get-out-the-vote effort that brought non-voters into the process. If the feelings of likely voters and American adults are any indication after just 30 days, it will not end well.

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