This is the age of unpopular Presidents.
Nine months into President Joe Biden’s term, he already has something that only Donald Trump could achieve: an approval rating of less than 45 percent for the third quarter.
According to an Oct. 1-19 Gallup poll of 832 American adults released today, Biden was at 42 percent overall, down from 57 percent in January. Trump, at this point, was at 37 per cent, and on the way to becoming the most unpopular president of the current polling era. He never cracked 50 percent in the Gallup study.
These figures reinforce the current political theory of negative Polarization. In which major-party blocs can be defined by the opposition they hold, factional leaders representing the opposing tribe are often disliked or unloved.
But there’s an additional interpretation hiding in numerical plain sight, one that has direct implications on two mostly separate political discussions taking place this month—the Democratic struggle to pass Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar domestic agenda, and the revived debate on the right over electoral strategizing in the post-Trump era. The fact that Biden has fallen from 61% approval to 34% since his induction could help both sets of arguments.
Geoffrey Skelley, Thursday’s attributing the problem to Biden on Thursday: “It’s really a problem for Biden dat the most moveable segment of voters now largely disapproves his job as president.” FiveThirtyEight
Biden’s sharp decline among independents also seems related to what has often been Americans’ number-one concern since Biden took office: the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this is a problem for Biden, it has also hurt most Americans. However, independents are dissatisfied with Biden’s response to the pandemic. In early June, almost 60 percent of independents approved of Biden’s response to the coronavirus, but that has now fallen to just below 42 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s coronavirus approval tracker.
Independents are also especially dissatisfied with how Biden is handling the economy….[T]Heir approval fell from around 40 percent in June to about 30 percent recently.
Gallup rates “independents” differently to other pollsters. It has numbers that are far greater than voter records and party registrations. Every year since 1988, Gallup has asked this question: “In politics as of today do you consider yourselves a Republican or a Democrat?” Since 2013, the top answer to every poll has been “independent”. This was a record high, reaching 50 percent in February 2013. Then it dropped back to the 40s. (Democrats and Republicans were at the same 29 percent each in the latest survey).
According to the company, “The independent percentages in 2020 and 2021 are unusually high when compared with preceding presidential elections and odd number years” in April.
Over the years, pollsters and pundits have disagreed about the importance of the bloc. Skeptics point out that many people who identify as independent vote for the same party regardless. While enthusiasts argue that weak party membership could be a precursor to more vibrant and less dangerous politics.
However, independents can have a significant influence over matters that involve former and current presidents. This is because Donald Trump might be still president without the help of partisan neutral agents.
Even though it might be hard for non-Republicans to believe, Trump actually won the presidency after four turbulent years. MoreHe received 46.9% of the popular vote in 2020, compared with 46.1 percent in 2016. His fate was sealed by the decline of independent and third party votes, which fell from a total of 5.7 percent and 1.8 percent respectively, as well as the transference much of this support to the Democratic nomination. Biden beat Clinton by 3.1 points. There were surveys that showed people who voted Libertarian/Green or Constitution preferred Biden to Clinton.
Although they helped Trump get the job, the independents didn’t accept him. His approval rating was 42 percent when he first got the job. It dropped to 29 percent in August 2017 and then to 47 percent by the time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In April 2020 it jumped to 46 percent. Then to 30 percent. The president’s approval rating closely tracked these figures, as Republicans stood up to him in a historic way, while Democrats were unable to stand by him for the rest of his term. Biden’s situation is similar.
Trump was Trump. Trump’s party also went. Trump’s administration caused enough alienation among fence-sitters to make them turn against Team Red. As Sen. Bill Cassidy (R—La.) said this week, “President Trump is the first president―in the Republican side at least―to lose the House, the Senate and the presidency in four years. The election is about winning. Republicans at the national level over the last four years have failed to win among independents.
But that could soon change. The two-party system functions like a pendulum. With the centralization and focus on executive power making politics an referendum on the president sitting in office, independent anti-vote will likely defrock Democrats during the 2022 midterms.
Skelley said that “if Biden is having trouble winning independents and Hispanics it could derail any hopes Democrats have for holding either chamber” of Congress. “After all, independents backed Democrats in the 2018 midterms and Biden last November, and even though Republicans made gains with Hispanics in places like Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Hispanics still largely backed Biden and helped him win in key swing states, like Arizona. If Republicans are able to capitalize on Biden’s weaknesses among these groups, they could have a ticket back into control of Congress next year.
This is an example of exasperated-sounding presidentHe attempts to piggyback trillions upon trillions on dollars worth of huge new government extensions onto the billions upon trillions more of government expansions he and his predecessor have already shoved through. While lying openly about the seemingly zero-dollar cost MSNBC anchors are claiming, snorting on airHe should remember, however, that his electoral victory coalition was made up of millions of people who aren’t interested in this type of stuff. Following the November elections, here’s what I wrote.
To the extent that ex-Libertarian voters pulled the lever this time for Biden, it wasn’t because of his proposals on spending, taxes, regulation, Section 230, the Supreme Court, or a hundred other things. If there is any libertarian case for Biden, it’s situational, and that situation ends on January 20. Any foolish talk about a mandate should contain a section on how Gary Johnson’s votes made it possible for the ex-vice president to get over his hump. Keep up the good work Those types in the coalition.
Trump cannot get out of jail free because Biden’s supporters are not Trump’s only option. It’s too soon to speak about 2024 but all polls indicate that Republicans want the unpredictable and polarizing 45th president as their 47th president. Party hacks and Trumpist think tanks will convince themselves that the dislikable politician is going to be loved by independents.