Americans are voicing their disapproval of President Joe Biden, nearly nine months after he took office.
In a string of national polls in the last week, an aggregate of 49.2% of voters surveyed disapproved of Biden’s handling of the presidency, while 44.5% approved, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling site. Five of the recent polls registered disapproval of the country’s 46th president at the RealClearPolitics site, with three favorable.
Analysts say the drop in Biden’s standing has been particularly precipitous among independent voters who helped him win the White House last year over then-President Donald Trump.
In July, at the six-month mark of his presidency, Biden enjoyed a nine-percentage point favorability edge, but by the end of August, polls showed U.S. voters were evenly divided in their views about him.
His standing has dropped more since then, with political analysts offering several explanations.
It was a time coinciding with the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of warfare, the analysts say. They also cite political rancor in Washington between Republicans and Democrats about increasing the government’s debt ceiling and between progressive and moderate Democratic lawmakers about the size and scope of a plan Biden has proposed for the biggest expansion of the country’s social safety net in more thaen five decades.
The number of new coronavirus cases in the country also rose during recent months before receding more recently, even as nearly 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated. Biden has mandated vaccinations or frequent COVID-19 testing for workers at companies with 100 or more employees, but the mandates are controversial in some parts of the country and at some businesses and have yet to take effect.
Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed late last week to an emergency $480 billion increase in the government’s borrowing authority through early December, at which time the issue will have to be revisited again. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers, at Biden’s behest, have been trying to pare down his $3.5 trillion social safety net spending proposal and pass it along with bipartisan infrastructure legislation by the end of October.
Passage of the legislation and a weakening of the coronavirus threat could help Biden’s standing, but the FiveThirtyEight site noted that Biden has a lower approval rating at this point in his presidency than all but two presidents since 1945, although one of them was Trump.
Asked about Biden’s declining poll numbers, White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently told reporters, “This is a really tough time in our country. We’re still battling COVID, and a lot of people thought we’d be through it, including us.”
“There’s no question it’s affecting a lot of issues,” she said, such as the supply chain of consumer goods coming from foreign manufacturers that are stalled at undermanned U.S. ports. She also said people are worried about their safety and well-being at work.
Psaki added, “Our focus is getting the pandemic under control, returning to life, a version of normal.”