Democrats are growing worried about President Joe Biden’s low approval rating numbers and whether they’ll get back to where they used to be.
When Democrats in Pennsylvania congregated for a focus group on Tuesday, the major topic of discussion was one frustrating White House officials, Virginia Democratic insiders and Georgia voters, Politico reported on Monday.
The question, according to the outlet: “Why isn’t President Joe Biden’s diminished job rating rebounding?”
The nine participants in the session all gave him grades of C-minus or lower, Politico reported, and a commonality in their answers was that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on daily life is negatively affecting their opinion of Biden.
Simon Rosenberg, Democratic strategist and president of liberal think tank NDN, expressed concerns about the president’s popularity in a memo published Wednesday on NDN’s website.
Titled “Time for Dems To Come Together,” Rosenberg’s began with a partisan characterization of Republicans as “extremists” whom Democrats must defeat in the upcoming elections to advance Biden’s supposed “democracy vs autocracy agenda.”
“Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about how an early, compelling 2022 election narrative has emerged for Democrats – lean into defeating COVID, sell the rest of the agenda (growing economy, climate, health care, etc) and brand the GOP as extremists, unfit to govern,” he wrote.
“Considering the stakes, 2022 is no ordinary election and we simply must be doing everything we can to make sure we prevail. Which is why all Democrats should be more alarmed by the drop in the President’s approval rating since a rancorous debate has broken out over his post-American Rescue Plan agenda,” Rosenberg said.
“Since June 24th when the two separate bills, infrastructure and reconciliation were joined and a more intense internal party in-fighting broke out, the President’s approval rating on 538 has dropped from 53.2%-43% (+10.2) to 44.9%-49.3% (-4.4) – a drop of almost 15 points,” the memo said, referring to the data site FiveThirtyEight.
Speaking to Politico, Rosenberg said that for Biden to regain some of his lost approval points, he must do a better job in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The president’s decline is alarming. It’s serious,” he told the outlet. “But it also can be reversed. … He has to get Covid under control.”
One promise Biden made when he ran for president was that he would end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite his administration’s bullish outlook and the large numbers of Americans who have been vaccinated, the virus and its aftermath remain.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there was “no question” the pandemic was playing a major role in Biden’s low approval numbers.
“This is a really tough time in our country. We’re still battling COVID and a lot of people thought we’d be through it, including us,” Psaki said.
COVID-19 is not the only reason for Biden’s “alarming” approval numbers. His mishandling of Afghanistan also has played its part in the decline of his approval, according to Politico.
The chaotic withdrawal saw many Americans stranded in Afghanistan even after U.S. troops left and a dark episode where Biden’s appointees killed an innocent aid worker and children by a drone strike after an Islamic State group terror attack on the Kabul airport.
The administration first touted it as a “righteous” strike until a damning New York Times report proved that the Biden administration in fact slaughtered a family instead of terrorists. The administration eventually acknowledged that it had killed innocent civilians after misinterpreting the activities of the aid worker, and offered its apologies.
Sylvia Bernstein, a 71-year-old Atlanta woman who voted for Biden, told Politico that the president “made horrible mistakes,” especially in Afghanistan and with the way it handled refugees. “And now this budget that he’s trying to pass — $3 trillion — I don’t see that happening,” she said.
“And I don’t think he’s gotten much support from other Democrats. Everybody seems to be floundering around.”
“There is a malaise,” Sarah Longwell, a Republican who supported Biden during his 2020 presidential bid, told Politico.
“People don’t feel like their lives have been improved,” she said. “They did sort of feel that promises aren’t being kept.”