Down to 50: Biden approval rating hits lowest point since taking office
Approval wanes in face of concerns over the economy and the crisis at the southern border.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
As President Joe Biden faces concerns over the economy and the crisis at the southern border, his polling numbers have dipped to the lowest point since he took office.
Polling data released by Gallup found that Biden’s approval rating has dropped to 50%, down six points from the previous month.
“The new rating is from a July 6-21 Gallup poll, which also finds that 45% of U.S. adults disapprove of Biden's performance and 5% do not have an opinion,” Gallup said. “It comes at a time when U.S. progress in fighting the coronavirus has stalled, with vaccination rates slowing and case levels now rising. The economic recovery continues, with unemployment declining and stock market values near record highs. But consumers are paying higher prices for gas and other goods. Biden has also struggled to deliver on his promise of greater bipartisanship, although negotiations on an infrastructure bill continue in the Senate.”
A drop in approval rating at this point in the presidency is not uncommon.
“It essentially matches the change for Trump and George W. Bush, and is slightly more than the one-point decline in Obama's average,” Gallup said. “Clinton's approval rating declined nearly 11 points between his first and second quarters.”
The economy’s mixed recovery from the COVID pandemic has been a headache for the Biden administration, which has continued to take flak for elevated inflation and joblessness.
Federal unemployment data released Thursday found that 419,000 Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week, up 51,000 from the previous week.
Inflation data released last week showed that the all items index increased 5.4% in the last 12 months, the largest increase since the 2008 financial crisis.
Biden has remained optimistic on the economy, downplaying the rise of inflation in a town hall with CNN earlier this week.
“First of all, the good news is the economy is picking up significantly,” Biden said. "It’s rational, when you think about it. The cost of an automobile bill, it’s kind of back to what it was before the pandemic. We compare what the prices were for the last year in the pandemic, and they are up. They’re up because, in fact, there was not much to call for.”
Unsurprisingly, Republicans have largely negative views of Biden while Democrats are mostly positive. According to Gallup, that polarization is a sign of the times.
“Presidents who served in the 1950s through the 1980s – when party ratings of presidents were far less polarized – had higher averages, with none below 61%,” Gallup said. “This includes Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy, who averaged better than 70% job approval during their second quarters.”