Joe Biden Has a Problem: As of Monday’s FiveThirtyEight polling average, President Joseph Biden’s approval rating had dipped to 42.2 percent, with disapproval at 53.1 percent. His approval rating had reached as high as 44 percent just a couple of weeks earlier.
On CNN, Harry Enten, a former FiveThirtyEight staffer, offered his own analysis as to why Joe Biden has seen his numbers dip.
Enten’s theory? Biden has benefited, over his two years as president, from “his predecessor Donald Trump’s inability to cede the limelight.” But the president has begun to suffer the ill effects of his classified documents scandal.
“Since then, his political standing has taken a small but noticeable hit in polling, while Trump seems to have slowed what had been a downward slide in Republican primary surveys after a historically poor performance by the GOP in the midterms,” Enten wrote. He added that traditionally, more people have looked up Trump on Google than Biden, but that Trump got fewer searches in January than in a typical month.
Other Factors Affecting Joe Biden’s Approval Rating
The forecaster also noted that gas prices have begun to tick back upward, as Biden’s approval ratings have often moved with gas prices over the course of his presidency.
Enten asked what might happen once Trump gets back in the swing of things, a process that began when he returned to the campaign trail in New Hampshire and South Carolina over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the next big possible event that could change such narratives is the potential showdown over the debt ceiling. The time is approaching when the government will have breached its debt limit, with a bitter showdown between the White House and House Republicans very possible.
Biden is set to meet this week at the White House with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to discuss the situation, in their first formal meeting of the new Congress. Biden has said that he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling, while McCarthy says that there will not be a default.
“The President will ask Speaker McCarthy if he intends to meet his Constitutional obligation to prevent a national default, as every other House and Senate leader in U.S. history has done, and as Leaders [Mitch] McConnell, [Chuck] Schumer and [Hakeem] Jeffries have pledged to do,” a White House source told ABC News. “He will underscore that the economic security of all Americans cannot be held hostage to force unpopular cuts on working families.”
The President will ask what the Speaker’s plan is, since the first bill he put on the floor would increase the deficit by more than $100 billion in order to protect wealthy tax cheats and other proposals from House Republicans would cut Social Security, Medicare and other critical programs that working families and seniors have earned,” the White House source added.
McCarthy himself previewed the meeting on Sunday shows this weekend.
“I know the president said he didn’t want to have any discussions, but I think it’s very important that our whole government is designed to find compromise,” the Speaker said this week on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I want to find a reasonable and a responsible way that we can lift the debt ceiling but take control of this runaway spending … I don’t think there’s anyone in America who doesn’t agree that there’s some wasteful Washington spending that we can eliminate.”
Joe Biden and the Showdown Coming Soon
Such showdowns have sometimes helped presidents politically — as was the case during the battles between President Bill Clinton and the Gingrich Republicans in the mid-1990s — while other times they have not, such as when President Barack Obama took on the House GOP in 2011. That latter fight ended with the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was widely seen as a loss for the Obama Administration – something that Biden, as Obama’s vice president, clearly remembers.
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Author Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.