President Joe Biden has a popularity problem. He has had a popularity problem. And in all likelihood, he will continue to have a popularity problem.
With disapproval numbers at 37 percent, Team Biden will want to improve the president’s public perception before the national election this year. But improving Biden’s numbers could be difficult without first identifying why Biden’s numbers are so low in the first place.
“Why are President Joe Biden’s poll numbers so bad?” asks David Frum of The Atlantic. “Is it because of interest rates? Inflation? Crime? The border? Is it because he’s too progressive? Not progressive enough?”
Considering Joe Biden’s popularity
The issues that Frum suggests could all possibly be suppressants to Biden’s popularity. Interest rates? Interest rates are out of control. Eight percent? It’s difficult to comprehend and could be used as a sticking point for the argument that the American Dream is in fact dead.
Inflation? The simple fact is that your money doesn’t go as far as it used to. Inflation has been higher during Biden’s presidency than at any point in the last 40 years – putting pressure on wages that have not risen correspondingly with productivity, or with executive compensation.
So, everyday Americans are feeling a financial squeeze and have adequate reason to be ticked about it.
Crime? Crime seems less likely to effect a president’s popularity than economic indicators like interest rates and inflation, but the uptick in crime has been on the mind of the average American – especially given that a post-George Floyd permissiveness is commonly regarded as an enabler of contemporary crime. Basically, Democrat-led initiatives, like Defunding the Police, or prosecuting less severely – all in the name of racial justice – are perceived as allowing crime to rage unchecked. Said another way: Democrats have appeared soft on crime lately, which could be hurting Biden at the pools.
The border? The surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border is out of control to the point where even blue-state citizens in migrant-friendly places like New York are complaining about the influx. The border crisis existed before Biden took office and will likely persist after he leaves, but right now it’s Biden’s problem and the president has come to be associated with rampant migration. Curiously, Biden’s border policies are where he may most be offending progressives; Biden has embraced many of his predecessor’s policies, including the resumption of constructing Trump’s infamous border wall.
Is hyperpartisanship to blame?
Joe Biden’s poll numbers could simply be the rest of the times. Partisanship is at a fever pitch, with tribal-alignment driving political approval along rigid party lines, meaning, roughly half the country is predisposed toward loathing Biden. Then again, roughly half the party should be predisposed toward loving Biden, and that’s clearly not the case, so who knows.
The rematch of two deeply unpopular figures probably isn’t helpful for inspiring voter enthusiasm in American democracy, and will give moderates a discouraging choice to make.
But the pair-off could help to ease the shortcomings of Joe Biden’s unpopularity given that Trump is so unpopular himself.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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