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Joe Biden’s Focus for November Should Worry Us All

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

President Joe Biden made remarks earlier on Thursday at NATO headquarters in Brussels, after which he took questions based on a list of reporters that had been given to him. 

In addition to what was going on in Ukraine and around the world, as well as back home, the president discussed the upcoming November midterm elections. 

He had been asked by a reporter "are there any steps, anything you’re trying to do and NATO is trying to do here, these days, to prevent what you’re trying to do becoming undone two years from now?"

Biden's answer was amounted to a rambling mess, as he relitigated, yet again, without the full proper context, former President Donald Trump's line of what Biden incorrectly quoted as "there are very good people on both sides" line, and claimed it was motivation for why he ran. 

His answer also in part claimed that "we're a long way off in elections — a long way off," which in reality are less than eight months away. "My focus of any election is on making sure that we retain the House and the United States Senate so that I have the room to continue to do the things that I’ve been able to do in terms of grow the economy and deal in a rational way with American foreign policy and lead the world — lead the — be the leader of the free world," he continued in part. 

There's a lot to unpack in just that brief part of his response. Democrats are not likely going to retain their control, certainly not in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Cook Political Report already forecast last December that Republicans are likely to take control. There's been speculation that Republicans will gain control of the U.S. Senate, as well.

As I've long reminded, the president's party almost always loses seats in his first midterm elections. In the House and Senate, the Democratic majorities are in single digits. Further, over 30 Democrats have signaled they're retiring, rather than risk losing when it comes to the November mid-term elections. 

Biden also hasn't been able to do all that much, either. His pet project, the Build Back Better Act, failed after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) effectively killed it last December. And, while Biden and the Democrats try to promote how they've handled the economy, the American people just aren't buying it. Data from RealClearPolitics (RCP) for February 20-March 22 on the economy has Biden underwater by 20 points. Just 37.7 percent approve, while 57.8 percent disapprove. 

And why should they, especially after, as Katie covered earlier, Biden acknowledged a food shortage is coming. 

Now, while it makes sense that Biden might want to promote his party's chances in the upcoming election, he seems to be doing so in a way that breaks with reality. For he has continuously communicated a sense of confidence that his party has a bigger shot than it does come November. 

Congressional ballots have for months been giving Republicans a consistent lead. 

As Emily Brooks covered on Wednesday for The Hill, an internal poll from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has its members with a 4-point advantage among likely voters in 77 competitive congressional districts. Granted, this is an internal poll, but it's not the only one favoring Republicans.

An average of polling for RCP from March 2-March 22, showed that Republicans are at a 3.2 point spread advantage. 

And, on Thursday, Pew Research Center revealed that Republicans seem to care more about the upcoming elections. 

From that report:

With the midterm congressional elections still more than seven months away, registered voters are evenly divided between the two major parties in their election preferences. At the same time, Republican voters are more likely than Democratic voters to say it “really matters” which party gains control of Congress in this fall’s midterms. 

At this early stage of the campaign, President Joe Biden is much more of a motivating factor for Republican than Democratic voters: 71% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say they think of their vote as being “against” Biden; far fewer Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters (46%) view their vote as a vote “for” the president. 

The new Pew Research Center survey of 10,441 U.S. adults, including 9,021 registered voters, conducted March 7-13, 2022, finds that most voters (63%) say which party wins control of Congress in this year’s elections “really matters,” similar to the share who said this in early 2018 (65%). 

Today, in contrast with 2018, Republican registered voters (70%) are more likely than Democratic voters (60%) to say which party wins control of Congress this year really matters. Four years ago, there were only slight partisan differences on this measure (67% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans said it really mattered which party controlled Congress following the elections) and that remained the case throughout the 2018 campaign. 

...

The partisan disparity in these views is wide: Nearly three times as many Republican voters think of their vote as being against Biden as say the president is not much of a factor in their vote (71% vs. 26%); by contrast, Democratic voters are about equally likely to say Biden is not much of a factor (47%) as to say their midterm vote will be “for” him (46%).

This also comes as Biden received what looks to be his lowest poll results, yet. According to a Grinnell College/Selzer poll, which our friends at Twitchy picked up on, the president has just a 34 percent approval rating among adults, while 52 percent disapprove. 

Polling data from RCP for March 10-23 has Biden at a 41.0 percent approval rating, while 53.2 percent disapprove. 

As we're happy to keep reminding those who want to keep dreaming, the Biden bounce is no more, if it was even here to begin with. 

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