Biden's Job Approval Is Sliding Quickly

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Posted: Apr 26, 2021 10:20 AM
Biden's Job Approval Is Sliding Quickly

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

He's still well above water, but his gaudy early numbers – enjoying a honeymoon period and supportive media coverage that Trump never got – are ticking down. Biden has never been the sort of polarizing figure that has inspired deep-seated, loathing opposition like many of his recent predecessors have faced, but if his approval dips into middling territory and remains there (or falls further) by next fall, Republicans' chances of winning back one or both houses of Congress will rise considerably. Depending on which fresh survey you're looking at, Biden's overall standing is at 58 percent (CBS), 53 percent (NBC) or 52 percent (ABC/Washington Post): 


Again, to reiterate, these aren't terrible or catastrophic numbers for Democrats. But they're not exactly confidence-inspiring in terms of historical precedent and the tendency of the electorate to break toward the out party in the first midterm election of a new presidency. Why are Biden's levels of support not higher? First, we are in living through an extremely divided era right now, so the capacity for national politicians to pull in consistently robust numbers is undoubtedly diminished in general. Second, Biden has harmed himself with bad and unpopular immigration policies, fueling a crisis about which his administration is clearly lying and shirking responsibility. People aren't fooled or impressed, and it's showing up in the numbers. Third, Americans want Biden to do what he campaigned on doing – i.e., healing, unifying, compromising, working together, etc: 


Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is reportedly mulling a 2024 presidential run, has been telling Republicans that they need to be more aggressive in calling out Biden's lies – including on bipartisanship, which was a central pillar of his "I'm not Trump" referendum-minded campaign. Christie seized on the new ABC/WaPo survey results to hammer Biden for failing to govern like a moderate thus far: 


This isn't a figment of the Right's imagination, either. There's a reason why AOC is declaring herself pleasantly surprised by the new administration's first 100 days in office: 

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised President Joe Biden and his administration Friday, sharing that she's been impressed with Biden's invitations to work and collaborate with progressive lawmakers. “One thing that I will say is that I do think that the Biden administration and President Biden have exceeded expectations that progressives had,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a virtual town hall. “I’ll be frank, I think a lot of us expected a lot more conservative administration.” Ocasio-Cortez, a vocal member of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, also said Biden’s willingness to collaborate with more progressive members “really impressed” her, and despite areas of disagreements, the administration's conduct has been “not just in good faith but active incorporation of progressive legislation,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

The left-wing congresswoman had expected "a lot more conservative" governing approach because that's how Biden sold himself to voters. Progressives were bracing for a moderate, reach-across-the-aisle White House. To their delight, that's not what they've gotten, even though it's what the American people want. What we've all witnessed is partisan non-negotiations, the indulgence of radical court-packing schemes, endorsements of constitutionally-dubious power grabs, and multiple rounds of ugly and inaccurate racial demagoguery. Quite a departure from the president-elect who himself framed cooperation and working together as significant elements of his mandate: 

To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans. The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season — a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America. Now that the campaign is over — what is the people’s will? What is our mandate? I believe it is this: Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness...I ran as a proud Democrat. I will now be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me — as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end — here and now. The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate from the American people. They want us to cooperate. That’s the choice I’ll make. And I call on the Congress — Democrats and Republicans alike — to make that choice with me.

But has he actually made that choice in practice? Not so far. I'll leave you with an alarming development on the foreign policy front: 

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