Joe Biden has a lead in one key area: Friday, January 20, marks the exact halfway point of President Joe Biden’s term as president. And despite an up-and-down first two years, Biden’s approval rating as of the halfway point is ahead of that of his predecessor Donald Trump.
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Donald Trump Has a Problem
According to Newsweek, which cited numbers from FiveThirtyEight, Biden’s approval rating was 43.4 percent as of January 19, with a disapproval rating of 51.3 percent. On the same day four years ago, Trump’s approval rating was 40 percent and his disapproval rating was 55.2 percent.
Looking at FiveThirtyEight’s historic average, Joe Biden was in positive territory from his inauguration in January 2021 through that August, with “disapprove” beating out “approve” ever since that month. His disapproval rating reached a record of 57.2 percent last July, but that number has of late moved back down towards 50.
The site also recently analyzed where that approval rating is headed
“On Jan. 11, Biden hit a 44.1 percent approval rating in FiveThirtyEight’s average — his highest mark since October 2021. That was 3 percentage points higher than it was on Nov. 9, which isn’t a huge increase in the grand scheme of things, but in this polarized age where any movement in the president’s approval rating is rare, it’s a veritable Bidenaissance.”
This was attributed, at least in part, to the recent easing up of inflation, which has been a drag on Biden’s popularity for most of his presidency so far. But the site also noted that trouble could be on the way.
“The discovery of a handful of classified documents from the Penn Biden Center and Biden’s Delaware home has generated arguably the first bad news story for Biden in months, and it’s fair to wonder whether it will reverse — or at least halt — his miniature political comeback,” FiveThirtyEight said. “The few polls that have been conducted since these revelations suggest that Americans think Biden acted badly, and that could be dragging down his approval rating.”
The site did not that it’s too early to tell whether the documents scandal has hurt Biden’s popularity.
With Donald Trump and Joe Biden possibly facing each other in a rematch in 2024, a Morning Consult poll earlier this week found that Biden leads Trump 43-40 in a hypothetical rematch of the 2020 race, with 11 percent choosing “someone else” and 6 percent stating “don’t know.” However, a hypothetical matchup between Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had DeSantis leading 44-41.
That assumes, of course, that Biden will opt to run for a second term as president. And now, there are indications that he’s planning to do so.
CBS News reported this week that Biden is likely to officially announce his bid for re-election relatively soon, sometime after he delivers the State of the Union address on February 7. And while Biden will not announce his re-election bid in the speech itself, he does plan to use the address to lay the groundwork for the launch.
“This has always, always been our plan. State of the Union first, candidate later.” a source close to the president told CBS News. Joe Biden would be announcing his re-election campaign just over halfway through his first term.
While there has always been speculation that Biden, who celebrated his 80th birthday in November, would retire after one term, the president has maintained all along that he planned to seek a second term as long as his health allowed it.
Joe Biden: Can He Hold On?
Of course, now Biden is facing a special counsel probe related to his handling of classified documents. CNN reported this week that Biden’s team believes that the document matter will blow over.
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“It’s a matter of public record what Americans’ highest priority issues are – from polling, other research, and the most important poll: the midterms: The economy, cutting costs, fighting inflation, creating jobs, standing up for reproductive rights, fighting for gun reform,” a Biden adviser told CNN.
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.