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Tipsheet

CNN Admits New Poll in Key Battleground State Should 'Terrify' Joe Biden

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden has been facing some dismal poll numbers as of late, with some of the latest coming out of Iowa, a key battleground state. According to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll released on Tuesday, 31 percent of Iowa adults approve of Biden's job performance, while 62 percent disapprove. In an analysis for the poll, CNN's Chris Cillizza warned "This poll should terrify Democrats ahead of 2022."

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Also particularly noteworthy is that former President Donald Trump bested Biden in the poll. As Stephen Gruber-Miller mentioned in his poll write-up for the Des Moines Register:

Biden's job approval rating is lower than former President Donald Trump's worst showing in the Iowa Poll. The former Republican president's worst job approval was 35% in December 2017. Other recent presidents' worst Iowa Poll results: Barack Obama, 36%, in February 2014, and George W. Bush, 25%, in September 2008.

The poll showed a lack of support for the president back in June as well, when approval 43 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved. Clearly, September's results show a much more stark difference.

While Biden predictably has virtually no support from Republicans--at 4 percent--and strong support from Democrats--at 86 percent--he has as much disapproval from Independents as he does from adults overall. Sixty-two percent of Independents disapprove, while 29 percent, slightly fewer than adults overall, approve.

Of the issues the poll asks, Biden is underwater in every single issue. This includes Afghanistan, where just 25 percent of respondents approve of how he handled the situation there. While it's hardly shocking that 94 percent of Republicans would disapprove on that issue, the majority of Democrats who support the president there isn't so high. When it comes to approval ratings from the president's base, 61 percent of Democrats approve of Biden on that issue, while 25 percent disapprove and 13 percent are unsure. 

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Gruber-Miller noted the significance there as well:

Biden’s handling of Afghanistan is the policy area where he has the least support from Democrats among a range of issues tested. Just 61% of self-identified Democrats approve of how he's handled the issue, while 25% disapprove. In contrast, 89% of Democrats approve of how he's handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president faces poor ratings when it comes to Biden's handling of the pandemic as well. Just 36 percent approve while 60 percent disapprove. In June, those numbers were at 53 percent and 44 percent, respectively. 

According to the poll, respondents oppose vaccine mandates, whether they be from the federal government or employers. The directive from the Department of Labor that businesses with more than 100 employees mandate vaccines or weekly testing has support from 45 percent, while 52 percent oppose. The numbers are similar for the question asking about businesses requiring employees to be vaccinated, with 44 percent supporting and 53 percent opposing.

A key takeaway from Cillizza's analysis is that this could doom the Democratic Party's chances in the 2022 midterms, with the one piece of hopeful news being the midterms are still over a year away.

As he warned:

This poll is rightly understood as a blaring red alarm for not just Biden but especially down-ballot Democrats -- in Iowa and elsewhere -- who will be running in the 2022 midterms.

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If Biden's numbers are anywhere close to this bad in other swing states -- and districts --- Democrats' hopes of holding onto their very narrow three-seat House majority are somewhere close to nonexistent.

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The best news out of this poll for Biden and Democrats is that it is September 2021, not September 2022. Which means that Biden -- and the Democratic-controlled Congress -- have time to turn his numbers around, likely by finding a way to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and some sort of major budget proposal (although both of those bills have an uncertain path forward at the moment).

But if the President's numbers in Iowa are anything close to where they are today, it is an absolute disaster for Democrats -- and would presage the near-certain loss of a large number of House seats (and their majority) come next November.

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The poll was conducted from September 12-15, 2021 with 805 Iowa adults. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. 

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