Biden Job Approval Dips New Low

story highlights

  • 38% of Americans approve of Biden’s work
  • 40% lowest sixth-quarter approval average for an elected president
  • Biden ratings among Democrats, independents at low points

WASHINGTON, DC – President Joe Biden’s job approval rating has dropped below 40% for the first time ever and now sits at a personal low of 38%. Between September and June, the president’s rating was narrowly between 40% and 43%. Before that, Biden had received a mostly majority approval rating.

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A year ago, Biden’s honeymoon period came to an end when his approval rating dropped by 50% amid a surge in US coronavirus cases. Since then, his public support has waned after a chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the highest inflation in four decades, record-high gas prices and continued supply chain issues.

A Gallup poll from July 5-26 found that 59% of Americans disapprove of the work Biden is doing, the highest he has ever seen. A follow-up question found that 45% of Americans strongly disapprove of Biden’s performance, while 13% strongly approve.

Biden sixth quarter average lowest for an elected president

The sixth quarter in Biden’s office, spanning April 20 to July 19, recently ended. During this time, an average of 40% of Americans approve of the job he’s doing as president. No president elected to his first term has had a lower sixth-quarter average than Biden, although Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump’s ratings were only slightly better at 42%. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan also had less than average majority.

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Like almost every president since Dwight Eisenhower, Biden saw his job approval rating decline between his fifth (41%) and sixth quarters. Trump is one of the exceptions, as his sixth quarter average of 42% was better than the 39% during his fifth quarter. As a result of these changes, Biden’s quarterly average for the first time in the sixth quarter has been lower than Trump’s in the same quarter.

History suggests that Biden’s approval ratings will be unlikely to improve during the seventh quarter. To date, only one elected president – George HW Bush – has seen meaningful improvement in his seventh quarter. Bush’s rise in support reflected a rally after he condemned Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, which eventually prompted the US and allies to fight the Gulf War against Iraq in early 1991.

Biden Support Among Democrats, Independents On Low Points

While Biden retains the support of a vast majority of Democrats, his 78% approval rating among his fellow partisans is the lowest he has ever seen, having fallen to that level earlier in December.

The 31% of independents who approved Biden is a new low for him, while Republican approval is rare.

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Like his immediate predecessors, Trump and Obama, Biden is ruling in an era of extreme political partisanship. In recent years, presidents have maintained relatively high approval from supporters of their party, while receiving minimal approval – usually in the single digits or teens – who identify with the opposition party.

Biden’s 78% job approval among Democrats matches the low point for Trump among Republicans, up from 77% in December 2017. Obama’s low point among Democrats was 72% in October 2011.

Much of the change in job approvals for recent presidents has been linked to changes in the independent evaluation of the chief executive. Biden’s 31% approval among independents is the lowest for Obama recorded in December 2013 and March 2014. Support for Trump among independents fell to 29% in August 2017.

The vast majority of Republicans strongly disapprove of Biden

For the first time under Biden’s presidency, Gallup asked Americans about the intensity of their views on him. Republicans are most likely to have strong opinions about Biden—nine out of 10—and since most disapproval for the work he’s doing, the result is an 87% strong disapproval of Biden among Republicans.

Unlike Republicans, 36% of Democrats have a strong opinion of Biden. Thus, Democrats are far less likely to strongly approve of the work they are doing (30%) than to moderately approve (48%).

More than half of independents have strong opinions about how Biden is doing his job, with more of these independents disapproving than approving. As a result, the largest number of independents, 43%, strongly oppose the way Biden is doing his job.

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Gallup has only from time to time asked about the intensity of job acceptance and disapproval, so it is unclear whether any party group has ever held a more strongly negative opinion of the president than Republicans, which now Biden’s. However, at least on the basis of its limited measures, Gallup never found a party group’s vehement disapproval of the president exceeding 87%.

Six times Gallup asked about the intensity of Trump’s assessment, between 75% and 83% of Democrats strongly disapproved. In a question Gallup asked four times during his term, Obama was strongly disapproved by more than 75% of Republicans. In a November 2007 poll, 81 percent of Democrats voted for George W. Bush, the most of the 11 measures taken during his presidency.

ground level

Biden has faced many challenges as president, and Americans have generally classified his work poorly for the past year, with his average approval rating as president now at 46%. Currently, their public support is the lowest ever.

Democrats were already facing a tough environment in the midterm this fall as they seek to maintain their narrow majority in the US House of Representatives and Senate. Biden’s now weak acceptance makes the odds of him doing so even higher. Democrats are hoping that backlash against the Supreme Court’s recent conservative rulings on abortion, gun control and environmental protection may neutralize some of the benefits GOP candidates may accrue to Democrats at a time when Americans are dissatisfied with the country’s direction. Huh.

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