It’s getting real.
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) June 8, 2022
Ed flagged Biden’s downturn in the RCP average in a post a few hours ago but that was before Quinnipiac dropped a new poll that has Biden at — hoo boy — 35/56 approval. That 35 percent stinkeroo pushed the average down further, landing it in “new record” territory. Biden has always had a core problem in polling that Trump didn’t face, namely, that there’s nothing remotely like a cult of personality around him on the left. His voters are hanging with him, by and large, but as the news gets steadily worse, more of them continue to peel off in frustration.
Whereas, as Trump himself would tell you, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single Republican vote. That meant that his floor in job approval was around 43 percent no matter what misery the country was coping with. Not so with Biden. Sleepy Joe may yet have room to fall.
Every day lately brings new reports of fingerpointing inside and outside the White House, sometimes with Biden himself doing the honors. Democrats are being forced to cope with an unprecedented situation, a Republican midterm landslide that’s already baked in five months ahead of the election. In previous bad cycles, they always held out some hope that their core political problem might resolve itself before Election Day. E.g., in 2010 they thought voters might warm up to ObamaCare before November.
But there’s no hope of anyone warming up to inflation and no hope of it easing before the ballots this fall are cast. So all they can do is sit there, squirm, and contrive arguments that if only this one thing would change — usually the White House’s “messaging” — the complexion in November might look different. It’s silly, but human.
The latest contrivance is that Biden is too slow to react to new crises as they emerge. Which is true! But also not the reason they’re going to be obliterated in the midterms.
“It’s really simple: ‘Be the f—ing president!,” said one Democratic strategist frustrated by the administration. “I realize it’s tough and you’re drinking out of a fire hose every single day, but there are things you can do to control the public perception and they haven’t done any of that.”…
“It may come down to not understanding what they’re up against — both the media environment and today’s GOP,” Setzer said. “Biden did speak out on guns, on baby formula, on inflation … but the traditional tactics aren’t breaking through, and it doesn’t seem as though they’re taking in that information, re-trenching, and trying new approaches when it’s falling flat.”…
After Biden delivered his prime-time address calling for congressional action on an assault weapons ban and other reforms following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Democrats — who praised the tone and tenor of the speech — criticized the timing.
“It should have been done sooner,” one strategist said. “It felt like it was too late by the time he’d delivered the speech. The moment was already passing.”
There are indeed some prominent recent examples of the president waking up late to an emerging national crisis. One crisis in particular stands out:
BIDEN: "If we had been better mind readers, I guess we could've" taken action to address the baby formula crisis sooner.
Biden hadn't said ONE WORD in public about this crisis until today. pic.twitter.com/w3KFLd3kOO
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 13, 2022
BIDEN: “I don’t think anyone anticipated the impact of…the Abbott facility.”
REPORTER: “Didn’t the CEOs just tell you that they understood it would have a very big impact?”
BIDEN: “They did, but I didn’t.” pic.twitter.com/ge0go5gAPp
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 1, 2022
Some Dems complained that he should have reacted sooner to the leak of the Dobbs draft too. Uh, how? And it’s silly to think that Biden speaking sooner about guns after the Uvalde massacre would have affected public opinion. If anything, he shouldn’t have spoken at all lest his intrusion into the Senate debate polarize the subject and scare Senate Republicans away from a deal.
If he had taken his critics’ advice and emoted publicly sooner in every instance they’ve complained about, what do we think his job approval would be today? 39.9 percent, maybe?
All this nonsense about messaging and reaction time reeks of an attempt to ignore the meaningful blame Biden deserves for rubber-stamping a COVID mega-stimulus that turbo-charged inflation. You want to know why his numbers are really halfway down the toilet? Check this out from Quinnipiac:
Some of you are young so let me assure you: Until very recently, Hispanics were a solidly Democratic voting bloc. As it is, inflation has driven Biden down to a 20/68(!!!!!) rating on the economy among that group, right in line with whites without a college degree. Even black voters, one of his strongest demographics, can’t do better than 45/45.
Hispanics rate Biden’s overall job approval at 24/58, among his worst numbers in any segment. Asked if they’d rather see Republicans or Democrats control the House, they split 41/38. The president and his party have a big, big problem. And the solution isn’t “reacting faster” or doing more photo ops at factories or whatever.
The only good news for Dems in the Quinnipiac poll is that some of their favorite gun-control measures poll strongly. Universal background checks? 92 percent. Red-flag laws? 83 percent. A minimum age of 21 to buy any gun? 74 percent, including 78 percent of Hispanics. The catch to all of that, though, is this Nate Cohn post from a few days ago. When they’re on the phone with a pollster, Americans love gun restrictions. When they’re in the voting booth, not so much.