Harris favorable rating underwater; VP loses to Trump by four in head-to-head: poll

In a recent poll, almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) said they expect Kamala Harris will take Biden's spot before his four-year term is up.

Published: June 22, 2021 2:42pm

Updated: June 24, 2021 10:51am

While President Biden's popularity is in decline — after starting at a much lower level than that of any of his recent Democratic predecessors — his vice president may be in even worse shape with the public, weighed down with a negative favorability rating and losing to former President Donald Trump by four points in a head-to-head match-up, according to a new poll.

According to the most recent survey from Republican polling firm McLaughlin & Associates, the VP's favorability ratings are now underwater, with 47% rating her favorably vs. 48% unfavorably. Among those with strong opinions about her, the numbers are especially bleak, with 38% taking a "very unfavorable" view of her vs. just 27% "very favorable."

The vice president's handling of the illegal immigration crisis as the administration's "border czar" and a widely panned trip to Guatemala and Mexico City early this month appear to have taken a toll on her political image.

After resisting calls to visit the border to assess the flood of illegal immigration during the first five months of the Biden Administration, Harris has relented and will go to El Paso on Friday with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, her office announced Wednesday. The Harris trip will precede by just a few days a heavily publicized, previously scheduled border visit by former President Trump.

In the new McLaughlin survey, Harris loses to Trump 49%-45% in a head-to-head presidential preference match-up.

An interesting caveat to Harris's ailing approval rate is that 64% of respondents in the McLaughlin survey said they believe she will be president before the end of Joe Biden's four-year term. Even among Biden-specific voters, a slim majority (51%) say it is likely that Harris will be president before 2024.

The 2024 race "is a long ways off, but the honeymoon is already over for Kamala Harris," pollster Jim McLaughlin told "Just the News AM" in a recent interview.

Despite Harris's numbers falling below Biden's, pollster Scott Rasmussen says it's difficult to separate the vice president's approval rating from the president to whom she is tied.

It's “clear the vice president has been handed some things to deal with where Biden's policies are causing some issues," he said.

Both pollsters argue it's too soon gauge what the mood for the 2024 race will be like, but McLaughlin's generic ballot has Republicans up by one point, as the industry begins to think about the environment that will shape the 2022 midterm elections.

Republicans have "gained ground with women and are ahead with independents right now" in his polling, McLaughlin said. Recalling that Republicans were actually down by double digits in several mainstream polls ahead of the 2020 election yet still made large gains in the House, McLaughlin reckons that his new generic ballot results bode extremely well for Republicans headed into 2022.

Rasmussen takes a more cautious view, with races still 500 days away. "A generic ballot is a good measure of the political environment at the moment, but not indicative of the midterm just yet," he said. His most recent generic ballot had Democrats up by one point.

For Rasmussen, the key will be assessing trend lines and watching to see if Republicans continue adding to their numbers over the next several months. "If by December 2021, we see Republicans continuing to gain ground, then it could be a bad year for the Democrats," he said.

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