When President Joe Biden’s poll numbers initially began to slip in late August, Democrats insisted to anyone who would listen that this would be a temporary blip.
Yes, they granted, the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan had been a political disaster – making it look as though the President had created more chaos and danger in the region.
And, yes, the Delta variant had caused a surge in Covid-19 cases that had people questioning whether the Biden administration was as on top of this pandemic as it should be.
But those were temporary problems, they said. No longer risking American lives in Afghanistan would soon be seen as a good thing – and there was no way Afghanistan was going to remain top of mind for voters. And the Delta surge was likely the last major surge of the virus – presaging the beginning of the end for the pandemic.
Four months later, that “blip” has become the new normal. Biden’s job approval in Gallup’s December poll was 43%, the fourth straight month it has been at either 42% or 43% in the survey.
Those numbers suggest that job approval ratings in the low 40s are not an exception for Biden at this point but rather the rule.
(Sidebar: The lows 40s were where Donald Trump’s job approval numbers sat for virtually his entire four-year term.)
And there’s little evidence in the political world that would suggest this trend won’t continue.
The Omicron variant has already spread across the country, and most experts are predicting a surge of cases to crest sometime in mid-January or early February. Democrats’ inability to pass the Build Back Better Act has created a very uncertain future for the bulk of Biden’s first-term agenda.
In short: The near future, at least, looks bleak for Biden’s prospects.
The Point: Biden’s early months in office, when his job approval regularly hit the mid-50s, feel like a thousand years ago now. Four straight months in the low 40s should worry Biden, but it should worry Democrats set to be on the ballot next November even more.