Democrats Sink in Battleground States While Americans Wonder Who Is Running the Country

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Two new polls should increase Democrats’ 2022 worries. Republicans are motivated, as demonstrated by the Virginia governor’s race. Rather than an easy win for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, it looks like it will be a slug-out with Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin to the bitter end. If Youngkin wins or even comes close, it has enormous implications for Democrats going into 2022.


Americans’ perception of Joe Biden as weak or ineffective won’t help.

According to Rasmussen, most Americans are not confident in Joe Biden’s ability to do the job of president. When likely voters are asked, “How confident are you that Joe Biden is physically and mentally up to the job of being President of the United States?” 58% report being not very or not at all confident. Only 27% report they are very confident in Biden’s ability to do his job.

Rasmussen evaluates the results by party affiliation:

Seventy-two percent (72%) of Democrats are at least somewhat confident that Biden is physically and mentally up to the job of president, but that view is shared by only 17% of Republicans and 30% voters not affiliated with either major party. Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans, 20% of Democrats and 56% of unaffiliated voters are Not At All Confident in Biden’s ability to perform his presidential duties.

In addition, 53% of voters believe others are making decisions for Biden behind the scenes, and only 38% believe he is setting the agenda. While 65% of Democrats say Biden is really doing the job of president, 78% of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters think others are making decisions for Biden behind the scenes.

Of the wealthiest Americans—those making more than $200,000 per year—66% say they are at least somewhat confident in Biden’s physical and mental ability to do the job of president. Only respondents with a Democrat party affiliation believe this more strongly. Even black voters, who have traditionally approved of Biden’s performance at high rates in Rasmussen polling, say they are at least somewhat confident only 54% of the time. Another interesting finding is that voters 65 and older believe others are making decisions for Biden at a rate of 59%.


Related: Democrats Panicking in Virginia as Youngkin Draws Even With McAuliffe

Biden’s net approval rating is -27, with only 21% strongly approving of the job he is doing and 48% strongly disapproving. His daily net approval for the last month has remained at -20 or less. The trend reveals a presidency in free fall:


(Source: Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll)

Rasmussen’s findings among unaffiliated voters are supported by internal polling from the Senate Majority PAC, according to Politico:

In a private presentation to allies this week, Senate Democrats’ main super PAC offered ominous warnings about the political climate the party faces.

President Joe Biden’s numbers across Senate battlegrounds have eroded dramatically in recent months, according to a summary of the poll for the Senate Majority PAC, the group aligned with Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. Making matters worse, Biden is struggling with so-called persuadable voters — those who are on the fence but could be convinced to vote Democratic.

The presentation also revealed that the White House narrative about the economy is not resonating with voters. While Biden and his team crow about the jobs they have “created,” most Americans know the added jobs are a function of the economy reopening. Only 30% of those polled thought the economy had gotten better under Biden. The administration is competing with January of 2020, not November of 2020, in the minds of many voters. Government mandates artificially caused the economic downturn during the pandemic. Improvement from that baseline was a given.


The drag created by economic malaise, supply chain shortages, and inflation is hitting particularly hard in Senate battlegrounds. Biden’s approval in these states is 41%, with 52% disapproving. Among persuadable voters, it is even worse: only 27% approve of the job the president is doing. Among the voters Democrats view as persuadable, only 18% believe the economy is improving. According to the report, the new results are a significant shift and a cause for concern:

The group’s private poll from May had Biden well above water, with 49 percent approving and 43 disapproving. Few Senate races in the modern political era tilt against how voters view the president. So if Biden is underwater heading into the election year, holding a 50-50 Senate will prove to be a tough proposition for Democrats.

Persuadable voters identified inflation as their top concern. It’s a problem that will come into stark relief with rising energy prices as winter comes on. Unfortunately for Biden, his left flank is pushing hard on a big green agenda, which will compound the problem. Ongoing supply chain shortages will highlight the economic issues going into the holidays.

Even Politico had to admit:

On the whole, the numbers appear strikingly similar to the troubles former President Barack Obama encountered over his first two years in office after helping to jump-start the economy only to see his party crushed in the 2010 midterms.


Maybe Biden is in a similar situation because he is using the same formula. He proposed colossal spending packages for projects that will take years just to receive permits. Meanwhile, Americans are supposed to be content with a raft of social programs that no one asked for. It wasn’t a winning formula in 2010 and does not appear to be any more popular now.


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