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Poll: Joe Biden Underwater in Stunning Amount of States

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden has continued to fare poorly in the polls, raising all sorts of questions and even inviting speculation from fellow Democrats that somebody will challenge him in 2024 (if he even makes it that far and decides to run again). The president has faced his personal record low in specific polls, or close to it, which brings his RealClearPolitics (RCP) job approval average to 37.5 percent as of Wednesday afternoon, with 57.2 percent disapproving. 

The November midterm elections are quickly approaching, now about three and a half months away, and Biden and Democrats are running out of time. While much has been made about Democrats showing some improvement in polling post the Dobbs v. Jackson decision that overturned Roe v. Wade last month, the amount that has been made about such a bump is likely too much. Further, polling has tended to overestimate Democratic chances in previous midterms. 

Beyond average approval ratings, which look to be even lower than former President Donald Trump's, there's polling looking at how Biden is faring in individual states across the country. 

A poll from Morning Consult released on Monday is particularly damning, as it highlights, "Biden Plumbs New Depths: Net Approval Rating Now Underwater in 44 States." 

Speaking of Trump, the subheadline of the poll's write-up by Eli Yokley notes, "Trump was more popular than Biden at a similar point last midterm cycle." Let's not forget that Republicans lost 40 seats in the House in 2018. Yokley also relates these poll numbers to the midterms and the 2018 midterms in his write-up, noting:

With less than four months until November’s midterm elections, the political environment has arguably worsened for Democrats as President Joe Biden’s dismal approval ratings abound across the country, including in states that will be key to his party’s hopes of holding both chambers on Capitol Hill, which face long odds.

Morning Consult Political Intelligence survey data gathered during the second quarter of 2022 shows voters in 44 states are more likely to disapprove than approve of Biden’s job performance, up from 40 states in the first quarter. It leaves the Democratic standard-bearer in a markedly worse position ahead of the midterms than then-President Donald Trump and his party faced in 2018, with attrition among Biden’s base a key factor, along with a comparatively more hostile review from independents and voters on the other side of the aisle.


The latest survey data, based on responses gathered April 1-June 30 in all 50 states, suggests Democrats face a tougher environment than the GOP did in 2018, when it would go on to lose 40 House seats but add Senate seats due to a favorable set of in-cycle races in that chamber.


But the way things stand, Biden’s second-quarter approval ratings are inferior to Trump’s four years ago in all but 18 states, including Pennsylvania (39% to 45%), Georgia (42% to 48%), and Arizona (39% to 48%). At this point in 2018, Trump’s net approval rating was underwater in 27 states, compared with 44 states for Biden now.

The six states where Biden has a positive net approval rating include California at +9, where he is performing the best; Vermont at +7; Maryland and Hawaii at +6; Massachusetts at +5; and New York at +2. 

Where Biden has declined even includes his home state of Delaware, among others that he won in 2020: 

Over the span of three months, Biden’s net approval rating dropped underwater in Illinois and — for the first time of his presidency — in Washington, Rhode Island and Delaware, the latter of which he has long called home. 

In the First State, 45% approve and 52% disapprove of his job performance, marking a decline of 38 percentage points in his net approval rating over his tenure, which is only eclipsed by his downturn in dark red North Dakota.

Among states that proved vital to Biden’s 2020 Electoral College victory and host key Senate and House races in November — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — roughly 2 in 5 voters approve of his job performance, down by double digits after nearly uniform declines that started in the third quarter of 2021.

When it comes to the breakdown of why Biden is performing so badly, it's certainly with independents, as it's been for about a year now. But, as we've seen for the past several months, it's with fellow Democrats as well. "Biden is generally worse off across the country than he began his presidency among independents, but things would not look so badly for him if not for a notable erosion of support among voters of his own party, who make up a larger share of the electorate than those unaligned with a party," Yokley notes. 

As one can see from the graph included in Yokley's write-up, which Morning Consult also tweeted, Trump was in a better position among his own party members in 2018 than Biden is now. A majority of Republicans, at 51 percent, said they "strongly approve" of Trump in 2018, and 34 percent said they "somewhat approve." Just 13 percent disapproved. In 2022, Democrats are evenly split on whether they "strongly" or "somewhat approve" of Biden, with 38 percent saying the former and 39 percent saying the latter. Further, 24 percent disapprove. 

The graph also shows that Trump fared better with independents than Biden does now. While pluralities said they "strongly disapprove" of Trump in 2018 and Biden in 2022, the numbers were 38 percent and 44 percent. Trump also had a stronger share of those independents who said they "strongly approve," at 15 percent compared to Biden's 7 percent. 

Yokley noted how this will affect the state level too: 

This enthusiasm gap plays out at the state level, including in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan — all home to pivotal contests this fall where Democrats will need to find a way to energize their coalition to win important House, Senate and gubernatorial contests.

And when it comes to how Biden may claim to have run as a moderate, there's really bad news for him and the Democratic Party: 

In many key states for the midterms and the 2024 election, Biden is more popular with Democrats who identify as liberal, who comprise the bulk of the party’s electorate nationwide, than he is with the broader Democratic voter base. That gap is especially acute in Pennsylvania, where 83% of liberal Democrats approve of him, compared with 70% of moderates and 60% of conservatives.

That erosion among moderate and conservative Democrats aligns with Morning Consult trend data showing that from the end of Biden’s 2020 campaign and the beginning of his presidency until now, the average voter has become more likely to place Biden further to the left on an ideological scale. The latest test, conducted in May, found the average Democratic voter viewed Biden and the Democratic Party as slightly more liberal than themselves.

A closer look at the makeup of the Democratic voter base’s ideological factions reveals race and ethnicity, as well as educational attainment and the types of communities in which these voters live, may be driving some of the dissolution among those who don’t identify as liberal.

In April, as I also highlighted, Biden was underwater in 40 states, which is still not good, and it shows he's getting worse. Indeed, Yokley, in this July write-up, noted that "Biden saw no significant change in his net approval rating in 23 states, along with generally modest declines in most others." 

Other polling conducted by Civiqs has Biden underwater in 48 states, with the outliers being the 49 percent of voters who support him in Hawaii compared to the 39 percent who disapprove and the 44 percent of voters who support him in Vermont compared to the 39 percent who disapprove. 


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