As Joe Biden approaches the first anniversary of his presidency, his approval rating is dwindling. It’s now approaching levels comparable to former President Donald Trump at the same time in his term.
Mr Biden’s approval rating has been nearing 40 per cent for the last three months. Currently, around 42 per cent of Americans approve of his job performance while 51 per cent disapprove, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Mr Biden has the second-lowest approval rating of any president after one year in office. Only Mr Trump reached a lower figure. While Mr Biden’s approval rating has been in the low 40s, Mr Trump’s was often in the high 30s. After nearly one year in office, Mr Trump’s approval rating was 39 per cent after reaching a first-year low of 36 per cent on 15 December 2017.
The approval rating of most new presidents starts off fairly high, only to decrease as time passes. President Barack Obama’s approval rating was 68 per cent when he took office on 20 January 2009. That same figure for Mr Biden was 53 per cent. But after a year in office, Mr Obama’s approval rating had fallen below 50 per cent.
President George W Bush’s approval rating rose significantly following the terror attacks on 11 September 2001, going from 52 per cent on 10 September to 88 per cent a month later.
As political polarisation has worsened, it’s become increasingly unlikely that a president would see their approval skyrocket in that fashion, even during a major crisis. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t led to a similar increase.
President Bill Clinton saw his approval rating improve as voters experienced the benefits of a strengthening economy.
When Mr Biden’s approval rating dropped during the month of August as the US conducted its at times chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spread across the country.
Mr Biden’s approval for his handling of the pandemic has been higher than his overall approval rating, but that figure briefly flipped for the first time earlier this week. More than 60 per cent of Americans approved of Mr Biden’s Covid-response last spring, but now that number is below 45 per cent.
As Omicron overwhelms hospitals, many Americans think we’re far away from getting past this virus. Some states and communities have put restrictions, including remote learning, back into place, to the dissatisfaction of many Americans.
Inflation is the highest it’s been since the 1980s, spurring further worries about the cost of living. Studies have found that inflation leads to lower approval ratings for the president in charge.
While Mr Biden and the Democrats have managed to pass a Covid-19 recovery bill and a bipartisan infrastructure package with the help of some Republicans, they’re currently struggling to pass voting rights legislation and a social spending package. But figuring out a way to pass either of these initiatives may not boost Mr Biden’s approval rating – the passage of the infrastructure bill last November didn’t change his approval rating.
According to a Quinnipiac poll, 58 per cent of those taking part in the survey believe “the nation’s democracy is in danger of collapse”. That includes 62 per cent of Republicans, 57 per cent of independents and 56 per cent of Democrats.