The latest poll from Morning Consult and Politico has more bad news for Joe Biden, a man desperately trying to turn the first half of his first term in office around to buoy Democrats heading into November's midterms. Specifically, Biden's long-underwater job approval is sinking again, and quickly.
The survey of more than 2,000 registered voters between September 23 and 25 (with a margin of error +/- two percent) found that just 41 percent of Americans approve of Biden's job performance, compared to 56 percent who disapprove.
That still-underwater status for Biden's approval, Politico notes in a story on its poll with Morning Consult, is "down from 46 percent in last week’s poll — which had represented Biden’s 2022 high-water mark." Not for nothing, Politico's headline on the results — "Poll: Majority supports reforming electoral vote count law" — tries to bury the lede of Biden's polling slump with a January 6-related angle.
So, from his least-underwater polling performance of the year last week of just 46 percent, Biden's slid back down to 41 percent this week, a drop of five points in just one week's time as the midterms loom just 40 days away.
The significant drop in a one-week span, according to the Morning Consult/Politico poll, is understandable as a "plurality of voters also did not approve of Biden's handling of the economy, jobs, healthcare, immigration, climate change and a host of other policy areas surveyed in the poll."
And, despite President Biden and his party's attempts to make abortion a main focus of the 2022 midterms, "the economy was the top issue among 44 percent of voters (the highest of any issue in the poll), and 61 percent disapproved of Biden's handling of the economy," according to Politico's summary.
A growing number of Democrats also don't think Biden's up to the job of president any longer, reflected in the poll that showed "two-thirds of respondents said they did not think Biden should run for president again in 2024."
When it comes to which Democrat should be warming up their voice in the wings to take over the party mantle instead of running Biden again, current Vice President Kamala Harris is in first place among Dem voters and Dem-leaning independents — though with just 26 percent — while Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is trailing the VP with 13 percent, followed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) with 8 percent and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) with 7 percent. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is preferred by just 5 percent, while Senator Amy Klobuchar has 4 percent. With 25 percent saying they're "not sure" who should run instead of Biden in 2024, it's anyone's game.
The Morning Consult/Politico poll also showed that support for Democrat congressional candidates on the ballot this November had waned in the last week, but Biden's party still held an advantage in the poll over GOP candidates on the generic congressional ballot question:
Forty-five percent of voters said they would vote for a Democrat for Congress if the election was today compared to 43 percent who preferred a Republican candidate, the poll found. In last week’s poll, Democrats had a 5-point lead, 47 percent to 42 percent.
With Thursday's final GDP report for the second quarter confirming that the economy had met the definition of a recession and inflation metrics continuing to increase despite Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, it seems the most important issue for voters is one where Biden and his party won't be able to deliver success before November. Whether economic woes become enough of a motivating factor to turn one or both chambers of Congress over to Republican control remains to be seen, but the scenario looks to be one that's the GOP's to lose.