With a war raging in Ukraine and inflation continuing to rise at home, Joe Biden’s approval rating has hit a new low according to the latest major poll.
The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll puts Biden’s approval rating at a dismal 37%.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had historically weak approval ratings throughout his presidency but ended it, according to the same poll at 38.6%.
The Post-ABC poll found that 55% of respondents disapproved of Biden’s performance, with 44% strongly disapproving. Partisan divides were evident, with 86% of Republicans and 61% of independents disapproving while 77% of Democrats approved of Biden’s performance in 13 months in office.
The poll followed others that have sounded warnings for Biden, including a Harvard survey which found a majority of Americans saying Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump was still in the White House.
Fox News, meanwhile, found that more Democrats had a negative view of Trump, and more Republicans disapproved of Biden than either did of Vladimir Putin.
Biden faces strong political headwinds as midterm elections loom. The party in the White House usually suffers in its first midterm contest.
According to the Post-ABC poll, 50% of Americans want Republicans to take control of Capitol Hill.
Most analysts expect that at least the House will fall to the GOP, though intra-party divisions, particularly over Trump and his political ambitions, could yet damage Republicans in November.
Biden has implemented wide-ranging sanctions against Russia and Putin himself, helped marshal world opinion against Russia, and sent US troops to allies in Europe.
Nonetheless, the Post-ABC poll found that 47% of respondents disapproved of the president’s handling of the Ukraine crisis.
Russia invaded just as the poll was being conducted this week.
The knock-on effects of the Ukraine war on the US economy are widely feared. In the Post-ABC poll, Biden’s approval rating on economic matters stood at the same low level as his overall approval rating, 37%. Three-quarters of respondents rated the US economy negatively.
The Post and ABC also said Biden’s approval on handling the coronavirus pandemic continues to slide, with 44% approving and 50% disapproving.
The poll also asked about two Republican attack lines: that Biden is not tough enough to stand up to Putin and that at 79, he is not mentally sharp enough to meet the demands of the job.
“On the question of whether he is a strong leader,” the Post reported, “59% say no and 36% say yes – closely aligned with his overall approval rating. Among independents, 65% say he is not strong.
“On an even more personal question, 54% say they do not think Biden has the mental sharpness it takes to serve as president, while 40% say he does.”