Biden’s Plummeting Approval Ratings Threaten 2022 Midterm Success for Democrats

It has now been more than a year since Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States. The man who won the most votes of any candidate ever rode a promise of stability into the oval office. Yet instead of restoring a sense of moderation and unity within the country, his presidency has been engulfed by domestic crises, such as his handling of Covid-19, the border, and the economy. Perhaps equally destabilizing to his presidency has been foreign policy, most notably, his administration’s execution of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Now, a year into his presidency, the country is less than one year away from its first national elections since Biden ascended into office. The 2022 Midterm Elections, like many other midterms before it, will be a referendum on the Biden Administration and the performance of the Democratic Party who has controlled the levers of government over the last year.

If recent polling holds up by November, Biden and the Democrats will likely suffer a political reckoning come Election Day.

Pew Research took a dive into Biden’s approval numbers and published the following in September:

With his administration facing multiple challenges at home and abroad, President Joe Biden’s job approval rating has fallen sharply in the past two months. Fewer than half of U.S. adults (44%) now approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president, while 53% disapprove. This marks a reversal in Biden’s job ratings since July, when a 55% majority approved of his job performance and 43% disapproved.

Numbers published by Gallup in January, paint an even more dire picture for the President, who earned his lowest marks to date in their polling:Gallup Biden

Could Joe Biden’s sinking approval ratings be affecting his party’s chances in the 2022 elections? Historical trends suggest that the president’s party typically fares poorly in midterms, even when the president is doing well. Rasmussen Reports notes:

…the president’s party has lost House seats in 17 of 19 midterm elections since World War II and Senate seats in 13 of 19. The average seat loss has been almost 27 seats in the House and between three and four seats in the Senate.

One of the clues in how Democrats will fair in November is the “generic ballot.” The generic ballot is a polling tool used to survey which party is likely to receive a vote in a given election. Instead of using the particular candidates as the focus, the generic ballot looks for insight into how the public is feeling about either party. Currently, a number of generic ballot polls reveal that Republicans are picking up the advantage.

Polling aggregator, FiveThirtyEight, has averaged dozens of polls from 2021 until February 2022 and found that 44% of respondents intend to vote for Republicans, compared to 42% intending to vote for a Democrat candidate. Poll Project USA reported an even wider margin in January, giving Republicans a 50% to 43% advantage over Democrats.

There is much ground to cover between now and November, and currently, Democrats have their backs against the wall as Biden’s presidency continues to flounder. Can they turn it around? Only time will tell. But one final metric to consider in this equation is voters’ satisfaction with the direction of the country. Gallup recently published that, “…Americans' satisfaction with the direction of the country has fallen to 17%, the lowest in a year.” If Americans’ disillusionment with the country’s leadership and direction continues, or gets even worse, it is likely that they will take it out on the party in power at the ballot box in November.

Grassroots Pulse covers public policy and political issues aimed at engaging highly-active policy makers, donors, and grassroots leaders at the forefront of the political process in America today.

Image Credit: Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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