Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Democrats grapple with Joe Biden’s falling approval ratings

Joe Biden’s approval ratings are low, a trend that could be disastrous for his party in the November midterm congressional elections.

Polls have consistently shown Biden’s approval rating below the 50% mark, with steep declines among both educated youth and Hispanics. FiveThirtyEight poll averageMeanwhile, Biden has 42%, indicating bipartisan dissatisfaction with his administration.

Biden’s first year in office was marked by some historic victories, but the bulk of his congressional agenda has stalled completely. His numbers have plummeted since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and his party’s dysfunction in Congress has not helped. Still, Democratic lawmakers say the resurgent coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout deserves more blame.

Americans increasingly disapproved of Biden’s behavior coronavirus outbreaks since the summer when the delta variant first broke out. A more contagious but milder variant of omicron that emerged during the holidays, exacerbating labor shortages and exposing flaws in COVID testing infrastructure, did not help Biden.

“The impact of the pandemic is still very psychologically very taxing for everyone,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia). “I think the American public may feel differently in eight months or so.”

“I think the main factor is inflation,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), adding that he believes Biden “is being blamed for things that are out of his control. People go to buy gasoline and milk and get angry. We need to stop the rise in prices. He is taking some steps in that direction.”

Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), arguably the single Democrat most responsible for Biden’s agenda problems, had his own theory.

“Maybe enough people aren’t listening to him,” Manchin told HuffPost. “He has a lot of sense and speaks well.”

As the “Build Back Better” project stalled, Biden’s low approval ratings became an “I told you so” moment for Progressives, who delayed voting on a bipartisan infrastructure bill for months, demanding that “Build Back Better” their social security proposals. expenses and taxes were abolished. walked beside him.

“If you’re a moderate in the Democratic Party, 2021 played out just the way you wanted it to when only infrastructure got past Congress after the Bailout,” Mike Kaska, director of communications for Senator Bernie Sanders. tweeted this week. “So how are you responsible for the president’s low approval ratings and the party’s bleak outlook in November?”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) walks out of a meeting with President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats. Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Aris.) oppose the adoption of the President’s agenda along with the Republicans.

Drew Angerer via Getty Images

In November, moderate Democrats got their way after Democrats lost the Virginia gubernatorial election, saying the political toll from not passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill was simply too high. Congress passed the legislation just days after the defeat in Virginia without any significant progress in the “Build back better” program.

Time may have ruined Biden’s bipartisan moment of glory and turned it into more of a consolation prize, said Ian Russell, a pollster and former director of the Congressional Democratic Committee on Campaign.

“We stepped on our own press with infrastructure,” Russell said. “It was a panicky response.”

As for “Build Back Better”, both Democrats and Republicans agreed that the bill would be “transformational,” with Democrats comparing Biden to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“Expectations got out of control,” Russell said. “Biden is at his best when he talks about just making life a little better for ordinary people.”

The White House is trying to do just that. On Friday, the president is set to speak about the implementation of the infrastructure bill two months after it was passed, highlighting the first wave of $27 billion to rebuild bridges across the country. The White House also reported good economic news, including job growth that beat economists’ expectations since the start of the year.

But in the face of a new wave of COVID-19 cases and inflation, and at a time when many of the emergency economic aid programs enacted during previous waves of the virus have already expired, the infrastructure bill is clearly not on the minds of voters. and earlier achievements, such as the American Plan of Salvation, have completely disappeared from political view. Frustration remains high.

“The American people are going through an incredibly difficult time, the most difficult time I think our country has had since a potentially civil war, so it’s understandable that people are trying to make sense of their lives at a time when all other things are happening,” she said. Senator Tina Smith (Minnesota).

Rep. Mark Takano (D-California) said the American people have “failed to realize” all that the Democrats have already achieved. He also suggested that major political events could occur this year that would drastically change the historical likelihood of Democrats losing the House of Representatives.

“You have the Supreme Court ready to dismiss Roe v. Wade. You got Donald Trump still campaigning. There are revelations today that leader McCarthy knows more than he’s letting on [about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack]. All this can lead to something that is very different from the historical determinants.”

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said Democrats will get support by completing Build Back Better, but also that the infrastructure bill itself is significant.

“If infrastructure is all we’ve gone through, that’s a significant win,” he said. “We need to make sure the American public understands how important this is. So that’s our job.”

Kevin Robillard contributed reporting.

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