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This White House Can't Stop Celebrating Biden's Failures

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

The polls have not been kind to President Joe Biden in months, and they haven't been getting much better. When they do get better, it's still not great. Yet this White House will jump on just about any cause for celebration, even if it still doesn't make them look too good in the long run. This administration can't help itself from cheering on failures, so long as they can claim at least things aren't as bad as they once were. One recent case in point is the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who tweets and retweets with reckless abandon, has tweeted a poll that shows Biden with a 47 percent approval rating among adults, while 50 percent disapprove. The disapproval rating is slightly worse among registered voters--the ones who really matter--in that 51 percent disapprove. While the poll may show a bounce in approval, and Klain has retweeted coverage about that, the poll still shows the president underwater.

This isn't the first time this week that Klain has come under scrutiny for his tweets on polling. As I highlighted on Thursday, the chief of staff also sorely misrepresented a poll showing Biden's address had a high approval rating.

There are other tidbits about the poll, such as high even with a bounce in how Biden is handling the economy, he's still underwater on that issue. According to the latest poll, 45 percent approve, while 53 percent disapprove of his handling.

A majority now approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, in that he has a 55 percent approval rating. It's worth highlighting, though, that this used to be Biden's best issue, and at the beginning of his presidency, he had supermajority support from all respondents, as well as even a majority from Republicans. 

Further, Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday occurred as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just happened to change its mask guidelines affecting 70 percent of the country last Friday. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed, as Katie highlighted, that these updated guidelines had nothing to do with the timing of the address, but we all know better. 

The poll showed an 18-point jump for Biden's handling of Russia and Ukraine, as well. His approval rating among adults on that issue is now 52 percent, up from an abysmal 34 percent. The president made it a considerable part of his address. He's also finally imposed sanctions, though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has communicated it's "a pity" he didn't do so sooner.

Of the 1,322 adults interviewed March 1-2, 1,237 were registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, making Biden's approval-disapproval rating within the margin of error.

Democrats made up 33 percent of the sample, while Republicans made up 27 percent of the sample, and Independents made up 38 percent of the sample. 

Biden's overall approval is still deeply underwater. RealClearPolitics (RCP) has him at a 41.6 percent approval rating among polls conducted February 19-March 3, with a 53.6 percent disapproval rating. FiveThirtyEight, which was last updated on Friday afternoon has a slightly improved rating for the president, with a 42.6 percent approval rating and a 52.4 percent disapproval rating.

The White House previously touted polls showing Biden underwater, when in January they circulated a memo highlighting his not-so-great 43 percent approval rating at that particular time, according to FiveThirtyEight.

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