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Flop: NBC Asked Voters About the 'Inflation Reduction Act,' and the Results Should Worry Democrats

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The media's narrative in recent days has been that President Biden is on a winning streak, and that Democrats have helped themselves by passing the so-called "Inflation Reduction Act" – which they've rapidly re-branded as a climate change bill, probably because selling it as an inflation reducer isn't going terribly well for the ruling party. Biden's job approval rating has ticked up a bit, as we'll mention below, but it remains poor. And on this fundamental metric regarding the big "achievement" he's signed into law, welp


By a nine-point margin, Americans are more inclined to say the new law will make their own lives worse than better, and a plurality believe it won't make any difference. That doesn't really serve "election game changer" vibes, does it? The president's approval rating is back north of 40 percent on average, but it's still roughly 15 points underwater. And the NBC survey isn't showing any sort of bounce for him, compared to their previous numbers from May: 

What a comeback. A net approval shift of...negative one percentage point, statistical noise. As you can see, despite Democrats becoming more engaged in the election cycle than they were in the spring, Republicans maintain a small intensity advantage, and the generic ballot has moved two net points in their favor. I've been saying for months that a roughly tied national ballot is generally quite good news for the GOP. And when they're leading, the end result often also winds up better than the polling predicts: 


Neither party is well liked by the public, with the Democrats faring slightly worse

Check out that Harris favorability number. Democrats – particularly younger ones – may want to push Joe Biden out after one term, but they might want to be careful what they wish for, given who's waiting in the wings. In the here and now, in spite of media cheerleading and Democratic crowing, the overall mood of the country is markedly dark. Remember the big debate we had about what technically qualifies as a recession? The public has taken a side: 

Hovering over the entire poll is a deep dissatisfaction from the American public.  Three-quarters of voters — 74% — say the country is headed in the wrong direction, representing the fifth-straight NBC News survey showing this number in the 70s.  Additionally, 58% believe America’s best days are behind it, which is the highest percentage on this question dating back to 1990.  Another 68% of voters think the United States is currently in an economic recession...McInturff, the GOP pollster, agrees that the environment has improved for Democrats since earlier this year. But he argues that the main fundamentals — the president’s job rating, the nation’s direction — are breaking against the party. “America is singing the blues, and that is bad news for the blue team in November,” McInturff said. 

The Democratic, media-laundered spin must continue: 

I'll leave you with what Megan McArdle argues is Democrats' best weapon, in terms of (ahem) "candidate quality," muddying the midterms picture, and motivating their base: 

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