Biden’s Approval Continues to Drift Along at Historic Low as Rematch With Trump Looms

Washington TND - April 29, 2024 6:02 am

Pres. Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event, Tues. April 16, 2024 in Scranton, Pa.(AP- Alex Brandon)

President Joe Biden’s approval rating continued to dip during the last quarter of his presidency, continuing along the anemic low trend it has held for the last two and half years.

According to the latest Gallup Poll, which measured the president’s approval between Jan. 20 (the third anniversary of his taking office) and April 19 of this year, the commander-in-chief has the approval of only 38.7% of Americans. This is down slightly, statistically negligible, from the 39% approval rating he held in the poll’s measure of the preceding quarter of his term, but still a significant departure from the support enjoyed by many of his predecessors.

According to Gallup’s numbers, Biden’s approval is at a historic low for holders of the Oval Office since the outset of the latter half of the 20th century. Of the previous chief executives since Dwight Eisenhower to be elected to a first term (Gallup did not provide data for Presidents John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated by that point, Johnson, and Ford, the latter two of whom assumed the presidency), Biden has the lowest approval by far at the corresponding points in all of their terms. Eisenhower enjoyed a record high of 73.2% in January to April of 1956, buoyed by then still-high support and trust in politicians and institutions by Americans across the board, and would go on to win a resounding second term with 457 electoral votes and 57.4% of the popular vote.

The approval rating during the 13th quarter for the last 10 Presidents of the United States who were formally elected to a traditional first, four-year term in office. (Image courtesy of Gallup)

The approval rating during the 13th quarter for the last 10 Presidents of the United States who were formally elected to a traditional first, four-year term in office. (Image courtesy of Gallup)

Of the last nine elected presidents, four out of five dipped below 50% approval at this point in their tenure, nearly six months before they would attempt to hold on to control of the Oval Office, and only one of them would succeed in doing so. Presidents Jimmy Carter (47.7%), George H.W. Bush (41.8%), Barack Obama (45.9%), and Donald Trump (46.8%) all had the support of less than half the country during the first quarter of the election year and Obama alone succeeded in being re-elected president.

Trump, while not in office and sitting for the first of four major criminal trials for alleged transgressions he committed immediately before, during, and after his time as chief occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, also enjoys both higher favorability and lower disapproval than Biden. Recent polling averages from 538 and RealClearPolitics both have Trump at a net disapproval of around -10.7%, with 538 putting the spread between 42.1% favorable vs 53% unfavorable and RCP at around 43.4% favorable to 54.1% unfavorable.

While Biden enjoyed approval ratings around 50% and higher for the first six months of his time in office, his approval rating sharply fell off after the United States’ disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. The images of Afghan citizens clinging on to departing military planes, often to fatal consequences, the attack by ISIS-K that led to the deaths of 13 U.S. service members, and of the Taliban seizing billions of dollars of U.S.-supplied military equipment conjured bitter memories of the Vietnam War as well as questions of American hegemonic might and as the liberal world order since the collapse of the Soviet Union, led by the U.S., faces ever-growing assault from empowered illiberal, totalitarian forces.

President Joe Biden's approval rating as measured every quarter (three months) of his presidency as measured by Gallup's polling. (Image courtesy of Gallup)

President Joe Biden’s approval rating as measured every quarter (three months) of his presidency as measured by Gallup’s polling. (Image courtesy of Gallup)

Despite macroeconomic measures showing that the Biden administration was able to steer the COVID and post-COVID economy away from recession towards a “soft landing” as core inflation steadily declined and jobs reports showed reliable additions to the labor market. However, many Americans are still concerned about the price of food and energy, which are not included in “core inflation” metrics and remain at elevated levels. A report by a group of economists from Harvard and the International Monetary found that when using an older formula to measure inflation — used by the government before 1983 — that included borrowing costs, found that inflation could have actually peaked at 18% in 2022, a full 10 points over the 8.3% that was measured using the new standard.

The president has also been losing support on all sides over the continued humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and from young voters, an always crucial demographic for Democratic candidates, and Arab Americans over his unwavering support for Israel as it wages a destructive war in Gaza in a supposed effort to cleanse Hamas from the region following the Oct. 7 terror attacks.

Pew Research Center poll, conducted during the second week of April thus a smaller window of measurement than the Gallup poll, found his latest approval rating among Americans even lower, at 35%. However, breaking down the numbers by party affiliation across his presidency, Pew found that Biden’s support among independents and Democrats had dropped by 20 points in both groups, from 54% to 35% for independents and 86% to 65% for Democrats.

As Robert F. Kennedy Jr. seeks to siphon off voters from both frontrunners and ceasefire advocates across college campuses continue chants of “Genocide Joe,” the president’s national standing does not seem to have a path upward as November approaches.


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