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Poll: Americans Not Buying Biden Administration's Narrative on Economy

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The Biden administration has been bragging about the economy for some time now, but they especially doubled down on their victory lap last Friday. The American people may have just learned of a Chinese spy balloon that ended up traipsing through the United States before it was shot down on Saturday, but President Joe Biden and his staff had his narrative on the economy to sell that "the state of the Union and the state of our economy is strong." It was Biden's narrative and only his narrative that he was willing to discuss, as he refused to take questions about anything else, including the not-yet-shut down balloon. 

Do the American people agree with the president? On this issue especially, it turns out, not so much. Multiple polls were released over the weekend and featured on the Sunday shows, including a CBS News/YouGov poll

Among the poll's findings include how 61 percent of Americans rate the economy as "bad." Further, a plurality, at 48 percent, say that Biden will be "a lot" responsible for the U.S. economy in 2023. 

Making Biden's dismissive remarks even worse is that Americans do want him to focus on inflation, as they have for some time now. Over three-quarters of respondents, at 76 percent, said "lowering inflation" is a "high priotrity." The president has just a 34 percent approval rating on this issue, while 66 percent disapprove. 

The poll was conducted February 1-4, 2023, with 2,030 adults and a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. 

CBS News' Mark Strassman presented the poll's findings in quite the grim manner, too, during this week's edition of "Face the Nation" as he highlighted how "latest economic developments do little to calm millions of Americans." He also referenced the bad timing of the poll's release, mentioning "ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union address, our new CBS News poll shows ripples of anxiety." On the poor findings on the economy, he pointed out that such is a "pessimism that has been in place over the last year."

Further, he highlighted how most Americans believe the economy will be in a recession or slowing, with a plurality, at 38 percent, fearing we will be in a recession next year. Such is a concern members of the Biden administration--including the president himself--continue to be dismissive of, or, at best, unclear on. 

"Over the next year, our poll shows roughly six in 10 Americans expect the economy to be in recession or slowing. Many everyday Americans are sweating this economy. Instability generates insecurity," Strassman also shared. 

According to RealClearPolitics (RCP), Biden has an overall 38.0 percent approval rating on the economy, while 59.4 percent disapprove. His overall approval rating on inflation is even worse, at 33.4 percent, while 64.4 percent disapprove. RCP factors in the CBS News poll when it comes to both issues. 

Speaking of inflation, when Biden did take questions on Friday, he came off as particularly tone-deaf when he denied responsibility for inflation, telling a reporter he didn't take any blame because "it was already there when I got here, man!" It's worth reminding that inflation reached the highest levels in four decades under this administration. 

Such a poll was not the only one released over the weekend with bad news for the president. A Washington Post-ABC News poll, which Spencer highlighted earlier on Monday, was also released on Sunday. That poll's particularly problematic takeaway was how 62 percent of Americans think Biden has accomplished “not very much” or “little or nothing” during his presidency. 

"62% of Americans" is currently trending on Twitter as a result of the poll's key and quite damning takeaway. 

When it comes to the economy, that poll also showed that many Americans are worse off financially than they were two years ago. They're certainly not better off, and that's affecting how they grade the Biden administration on the economy. 

"More than half of the country disapproves of Biden's job performance, weighed down by significant discontent over the economy. Forty percent say they are worse off financially than they were two years ago," host Jonathan Karl mentioned on ABC News' "This Week." Of this number, which is actually at 41 percent, Karl pointed out this "the most negative response to that question in nearly 40 years of our polling."

As has so often been the case before, though, this administration just can't be bothered to deal with the reality of polling. During Monday's press briefing, outgoing National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, who also stood beside Biden last Friday, offered some remarks before White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took questions.

When it comes to when the American people can indeed "start feeling better off," to answer a reporter's question--which was similar to many other reporters' questions--Deese didn't have much to offer.

"Well, look, I think that--I don’t want to--you know, I don’t want to repeat myself, only to say we have more work to do," he responded with, only to then try to gaslight people into believing they are better off than they may believe. "But if you look at the progress that we’ve made, particularly the recent progress that we have made with inflation coming down; gas prices coming down; real wages, as a result, going up; and the labor market opportunities that--that come from a strong--a historically strong job market--those are all reasons why we should--we should continue to--continue down the path of the progress that we have made," he continued with. 

Like Biden did, what Deese had to offer was to emphasize that the economy is in a "strong" position, using "wage growth" as his reasoning. 

Biden isn't the only one to spin the narrative on the economy and make excuses for inflation. Deese brought up the War in Ukraine, which occurred almost a year ago now, no less than three times as to why the nation is experiencing such record-high inflation. Supply chain issues and the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the "uncertainty" they created were also mentioned. 

It's worth reminding that the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) led to massive inflation. Not only did Deese not acknowledge as much, but Jean-Pierre brought it up later in the briefing to praise the partisan legislation for how it "put forward a comprehensive plan to get shots in arm." Almost two years after its passage, the Biden administration continues to only celebrate ARPA, despite how even Democratic economists, especially Larry Summers, had issued stern warnings about the effects on inflation, only to be gaslit by the administration. 

When it comes to that jobs report released last Friday, for what it's worth, Spencer also highlighted how January was not actually all that fantastic a month for earnings, and that it also caused Wall Street futures to drop. 


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