I have written a lot about President Biden’s nosedive in polls dealing with his popularity – or lack thereof — among voters. Each time I think he had reached the bottom, he goes lower. According to FiveThirtyEight (FTE), Biden is the most unpopular president at this point in his presidency – going back to 1945.
Biden’s favorable rating is a record low 39.8 percent according to FTE – which uses weighted polling averages to reach a consensus number. Some polling organizations put the President’s approval rating even lower. But 39.8 is still enough to give Biden the title of the most unpopular President ever. Of course, that claim is “at this time in a presidency.” In this case, it is the 517th day. Ratings can change – and they will change many times before the next presidential election.
But it is still rather astonishing. This is not the “Old Joe” that people saw when they cast their ballots in November of 2020. Candidate Joe was a middle-of-the-roader – a Mr. Niceguy, who would both fix the nation’s problems and unify the people. Based on the polling of the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, a lot of voters must be having buyer’s remorse.
It is ironic that Biden sunk lower than the next lowest President. That would be Jimmy Carter with a 42.1 percent favorable rating. It is ironic because Carter’s presidency failed due to raging inflation and major failures in foreign policy. There is a reason Biden is now being compared – unfavorably – to the peanut farmer President from Plains, Georgia.
In what must be a HUGE embarrassment to the Democratic Party, Biden is less popular than was President Trump at this point in his presidency. Trump’s favorable rating was 42.6. A recent poll suggests that if the election was held today, Trump would beat Biden. In seeing his numbers drop below Trump, a White House source reported that Biden was “twisted” over it. Another report said he is “rattled.”
Others – whose popularity fell below 50 percent at this point in their presidencies were Harry Truman (42.1%) and Ronald Reagan (45%).
But no President has ever fallen below 40 percent in the favorable rating at this point in their presidency. And keep in mind that at this point, President Obama had a positive favorability rating in excess of 50 percent heading into the 2014 midterm elections. And you know what a “shellacking” (Obama’s word) the Democrats took that November.
So, what impact will Biden’s unpopularity have on the upcoming November elections? Perhaps looking at 2002 offers a hint. Republicans broke tradition by retaining control of the House – actually gaining five seats – and took control of the Senate. President George W. Bush was at a peak of popularity following the 9/11 attack – with some polls showing an 80 percent approval rating for the President.
That would suggest that there is at least some correlation between a President’s popularity and midterm elections. And with Biden at historic lows, the Democrats should brace for a hard landing.
In terms of 2024, I do not think Biden’s popularity – or lack thereof – will make much difference since he is not likely to be on the ballot.
So, there ‘tis.