Rock bottom: Biden's net favorable rating now lower than Trump's

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

It’s a real achievement to lose a popularity contest to a one-term twice-impeached president who never won the popular vote. Take a bow, Joe.


He’s within two-tenths of a point of being viewed less favorably overall than a guy whose last meaningful act in office was inciting an attempted putsch. This morning’s garbage jobs report may get him there once the economic news begins percolating among the public.

It could be worse for him. He could be Kamala Harris.

His political fate is now at the mercy of forces beyond his control. Today he conceded publicly that he won’t be keeping his famous promise to “shut down the virus,” amending it by saying that we’ll eventually be able to control COVID better than we are right now. Which is true, but not a lot different from saying “hey, all pandemics end eventually.”

Herd immunity will happen, slowly but surely (but mostly slowly). When in doubt, remember the official White House COVID strategy: Cross your fingers and pray.

The problem for Biden’s party and the many political professionals it employs is that they’re obliged to be proactive in messaging for the midterms even though how they fare will depend much more on forces like inflation and the emergence of new variants than anything they could say. So, per CNN, in their quest for a winning campaign pitch, they’re going with … one of the most futile angles they could choose.


House Democrats’ campaign arm is leaning into a strategy of linking Republicans to the January 6 insurrection amid the one-year anniversary of the US Capitol riot, even as some in the Democratic Party debate how much to talk about the deadly attack on the campaign trail.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rolled out a new splash page on its website Thursday featuring a banner declaring that “Republicans incited an insurrection” against the backdrop of pictures of the pro-Trump mob as they stormed the Capitol. The page also highlights the 139 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election, as well as GOP lawmakers and congressional candidates who may have promoted the “Stop the Steal” rally or movement.

That comes in addition to a new DCCC memo, obtained by CNN, vowing to remind voters that many Republicans not only fueled the effort to subvert democracy by embracing former President Donald Trump’s election lies, but spent the past year trying to downplay or dismiss the violent attack.

Outside groups are doing it too. One new Super PAC called Stop Him Now aims to link Republican candidates who lie about the 2020 election to Trump, hoping to leverage his unpopularity. That might work if he was vastly less popular than the head of the Democratic Party, but as we’ve seen, he isn’t. And it’s unnecessary regardless: Trump will spend plenty of time and energy over the next 10 months reminding swing voters who he is and what he thinks. If they don’t recoil at what he has to say on the stump, no Democratic attack ad will persuade them to do so.


A few days ago writer Paul Blest reality-checked Democrats about January 6. As repulsive as it was, and as much as Republicans deserve to pay a political penalty for embracing the guy who incited it, there’s no evidence that the electorate particularly cares about it now. At least not so much that it’s going to get voters to lay aside their concerns about inflation, school closures, the Afghanistan debacle, federal spending, and a dozen other issues and vote D instead.

January 6, 2021, could have been much, much worse than it was, and it could still be the predecessor to something worse. But it was not the Civil War; contrary to the claims of Hill reporters and Lincoln Project bloviators, it wasn’t even 9/11. And a year after Trump supporters rioted the Capitol and temporarily delayed Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, it currently looks as though voters in the midterm elections coming up this year really don’t care…

January 6 cannot be the Democrats’ primary campaign theme this year, and it cannot be a fallback option if the Democrats don’t pass any of Biden’s agenda, if the child tax credit permanently dies and student loans are resumed, and if the Biden administration doesn’t end the pandemic as we know it or at least get a better handle on it. If the Democrats want to put themselves in the best possible position to win the election and ensure whatever it is we have left of democracy survives for a few more years, they’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way—talking to voters about the ways in which Democratic control has made and will continue to make their lives better. But before they talk about it, they have to have something to show.


Popular opinion about the GOP has actually improved across all three partisan groups since January 6:

Meanwhile, since July, opinion about the January 6 committee has declined, although the committee still enjoys majority support among Dems and plurality support among independents. But “plurality support among independents” on an issue which most voters don’t regard as salient isn’t the way you hold off a massive red wave in House races. Yet, if you believe CNN, Democrats are going to try.

Oh well. That’s what happens when you’re bad at policy and really, really bad at politics.

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