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The honeymoon is over for Biden as approval numbers drop, disapproval numbers spike

As his term progresses, Biden's approval rating continues trending down at a rate significantly faster than that of his Democrat predecessors.

Updated: June 22, 2021 - 11:15pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Joe Biden's approval numbers have been steadily declining of late — and some pollsters see worse to come for the president.

"It's not a good sign for Joe Biden," said Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin of McLaughlin & Associates. "What we're seeing right now are approval numbers in the low 50s ... and the intensity level is only about 32% of people say they strongly approve of the job he is doing."

According to the firm's May survey, Biden's approval numbers are trending down. Perhaps more importantly, his disapproval numbers are rising sharply.

In the Real Clear Politics average, Biden's approval rating has drifted down to 52.3% as of June 22, which equals his previous low as president. Meanwhile, his current disapproval average has spiked to 43.6%, just shy of his previous high, and up from 36% at the close of his first week in the White House. (One caveat: The majority of the polls factored into his latest averages do not reflect his recent performance in Europe.)

During a Monday appearance on "Just the News AM," McLaughlin repeatedly cited "upside down" support among independents as a particularly ominous sign for the future of the Biden presidency's popular standing. The president is now underwater among these crucial swing voters, with 47% approving and 51% disapproving. Just 44% of independent voters believe the country is headed in the "right direction," which McLaughlin says is likely a bellwether for 2022 voting patterns.

The president's approval has fallen to just 44% among white voters and 47% with likely 2022 male voters. Female voters, however, remain heavily pro-Biden, giving him a 59% approval rating, while a resounding 87% of African-American voters give him a thumbs-up.

Two months ago, when Biden's approval numbers began leveling off as he approached his 100th day in office, former Trump pollster John McLaughlin (Jim's brother) called the president and his administration a "Trojan horse" for a "radical left-wing agenda," adding, "despite what the national media and the Democrats may tell you, that's just not where the American people are right now."

Since he made that assessment, additional issues have emerged as sources of popular discontent — inflation foremost among them — according to the pollster's brother. 

"One of the big issues that we're seeing pop up is inflation and cost of living, and we haven't seen that in a long time," Jim McLaughlin said Monday. "People are really feeling it, whether it's the price of gas, or the price of groceries, [prices] are really going up right now. That's going to hurt Joe Biden in the long run."

McLaughlin predicts that his next set of numbers will show further decline for Biden following his performance abroad last week. "He came across as weak, so I think his numbers are going to take an even bigger hit now that he's come back from overseas," said the pollster.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen, founder/president of Rasmussen Media Group, is hesitant to pin Biden's declining numbers on any single action or policy of the president's in particular.

"I think this is more of a natural tendency of the way the electorate works," he told Just the News. "It's not going to be about one thing he said in Europe."

What's hurting Biden is that "he's losing enthusiasm from within his own party," according to Rasmussen. Progressive Democrats don't see the president fighting hard enough for their agenda, he argues, while moderate Democrats who voted for Biden are now dissatisfied at how progressively he's governing. Biden is trying to play both sides of the street, and losing.

Rasmussen believes Biden's numbers are essentially in line with the popularity of previous Democrat presidents — including Barack Obama, who he says had numbers dipping into the low 50s and even high 40s toward the end of his first summer in office. And, in contrast to the firm opinions Obama evoked pro or con, Rasmussen added, "opinion about Biden has always been soft."