Woof: Biden job approval drops to 42/50 in new Quinnipiac poll

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A noteworthy poll for two reasons, not including the fact that it’s one of the worst of his presidency. One: Quinnipiac traditionally skews blue. Their numbers for Trump were consistently among the worst of any pollster during his presidency. Biden sitting at 42 in a Q-poll is seriously bad vibes for the White House.

Two: This poll was conducted from Friday through Monday, after Biden announced his dubious new federal vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees. (Weirdly, Quinnipiac didn’t ask a question about that. Or, if they did, the data isn’t being published today.) Is his dismal job approval being driven in part by a backlash to the new mandate? That would be surprising since the mandate itself has polled well so far, but not impossible.

Overall, though, the story is familiar. Terrible COVID numbers lately combined with an inexcusable fiasco in evacuating from Afghanistan means a lot of unhappy Americans.

Eighteen points underwater with independents and a mere two points above water with women portends a beating for Democrats next fall if it doesn’t turn around. Biden’s numbers on handling the virus have dropped from 53/40 in June to 48/49 following Delta’s rampage across the southeastern U.S. And his handling of foreign policy in the aftermath of the Kabul debacle is in the toilet at 34/59. Approval of how he’s handling his duties as commander-in-chief isn’t much better at 40/55.

He wagered that public euphoria at finally being out of Afghanistan after 20 years would eventually overcome disgust for the way we left. He won his bet that the public would approve of withdrawal, with a 54/41 majority in favor. But, ah…

Maybe in time the humiliation Americans feel over bugging out and leaving U.S. citizens behind will ease, replaced by gratitude that we’re no longer bogged down there. But it ain’t today.

His approval in RCP’s polling average has dipped to 45.0 percent, the worst of his presidency to date:

Biden hasn’t approached Trump’s lowest approval numbers yet but there’s a theory that his floor in polling will turn out to be lower than Trump’s was. Trump could never do worse than 37 percent because a sizable majority of Republicans came to define their political identity in terms of loyalty to him personally. He’d never lose that 37 percent, no matter what he did. Biden doesn’t have the luxury of that same kind of cult of personality. Democrats are more of an old-fashioned coalition of interest groups and those interest groups can grow disenchanted if their leadership doesn’t deliver for them.

So what happens if progressives and centrists end up not being able to get together on the reconciliation infrastructure bill and the package collapses? What happens when lefties who are excited about the new compromise voting bill that Democrats have written realize that Joe Manchin will vote for it but won’t end the filibuster to help pass it? What happens if Delta lingers, economic growth is slow, job opportunities for the unemployed shrink, but Congress refuses to reinstate beefed-up federal unemployment help for those out of work?

Is there a point at which some disaffected Democratic voters bolt and the bottom drops out for Biden?

Looking again at his approval in the Quinnipiac poll, you can see why he might have felt desperate enough to roll the dice on a probably illegal federal vaccine mandate. For Democrats, so much depends on getting the country turned around from COVID, as a basic health matter and in terms of economic growth, that he’s willing to try virtually anything at this point to make it happen. (Scroll through FiveThirtyEight’s round-up of generic ballot polling and you’ll find the Democrats’ lead shrinking from the high single digits in August to low single digits or even lately.) As for Afghanistan, he’s probably underestimating the extent to which raw partisanship will lead Republicans to keep the subject front and center in campaigning. GOPers split 27/70 here on whether the U.S. should have withdrawn all troops and just 48/45 on whether ending the war was the right call. Isolationism has suddenly become less appealing for righties now that it’s a Democrat calling for it.

I’ll leave you with Greg Abbott’s take on Biden’s mandate. “Supersede” is the wrong word here but I think he’s right on the substance. SCOTUS will decide that the Commerce Clause doesn’t allow the president to usurp the states’ police powers over public health under the Tenth Amendment. We’ll see how Democratic opinion on Biden’s job performance shifts once that ruling comes down.

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