With just more than 200 days left until the 2022 election, there’s little evidence that President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are improving – and there’s some data to suggest things are getting worse.
CNN’s poll of polls – an average of the last four national polls of Americans – pegs Biden’s approval at just 39% with 55% disapproving. Those numbers haven’t changed much from the 40% approval/54% disapproval that CNN’s poll of polls measured in March or the 41% approval/54% disapproval from mid-January.
They also make clear that the bump Biden experienced in some polling in the immediate aftermath of his State of the Union speech in early March was temporary – and not evidence of any longer-term comeback.
This is all bad news for Democrats whose electoral fate – if history is any guide – is directly tied to Biden’s popularity (or lack thereof).
As of 2018, the average seat loss for the president’s party in a midterm election when the president’s approval rating was under 50% was 37 House seats.
Consider these two facts:
1) In November 1994, when Republicans won a net of 54 House seats and retook control of the House majority, Bill Clinton’s approval rating, according to Gallup, was 46%.
2) In November 2010, when Republicans won a net of 63 House seats and retook control of the House majority, Barack Obama’s approval rating, according to Gallup, was at 45%.
Not only is Biden’s average job approval rating at this point well below where his two most recent Democratic predecessors were when they suffered these monumental defeats, but also Republicans now need only a net gain of five seats to win back the House majority.
The news gets worse the more you dig into Biden’s numbers.
Take a Quinnipiac University poll that was released on Wednesday. The topline number for Biden is bad – 33% approval among adults and 35% approval among registered voters.
And it doesn’t get any better for Biden when you look at percentage of adults who strongly approve of his job performance versus those who strongly disapprove. Just 18% strongly approve of how Biden is handling his job as president, while more than double that number – 43% – strongly disapprove.
That speaks to a major passion gap between the two parties. And especially in midterm election, passionate people vote.
Adding to the issues for Biden and Democrats is the fact that there is no obvious event waiting on the horizon that could turn things around for their side.
The news earlier this week that the Consumer Price Index soared 8.5% between last March and this March was a gut punch for an administration trying to make the case that the economy is roaring back to life. The latest Covid-19 subvariant has case counts rising in some states even as the Biden administration’s decision to extend the travel mask mandate for an additional 15 days is drawing derision. While Biden gets decent marks for his handling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, poll after poll suggests that concerns about the economy trump (ahem) foreign policy in most voters’ minds.
In short: It is a pretty dark time to be a Democrat facing voters this fall. And there’s no sign that things are going to get any brighter.