The top line on the latest NBC News poll isn’t so bad for President Biden: 45% approve of his performance, while 50% disapprove. Given how divisive politics are in American since…Clinton?…those numbers aren’t bad at all. Above 50% is much better, of course, but I would be pretty happy if I were in Biden’s camp given how sour the mood of the country is. An overwhelming majority–69%–are unhappy with how things are going.
But once you get beyond the top line, the numbers plummet. NBC focuses its story on the document scandals plaguing both Biden and Trump, but politically they are irrelevant. Both have problems, and while people don’t approve of how either of them has been dealing with the issue, nobody is going to vote based on it. So a wash.
But geez, voters sure don’t think highly of Biden’s presidential qualities. At all. People kinda like him, but think he is incapable of doing the job. Literally incapable.
First, regarding what Biden has done as president, people are not happy. Even less happy with Biden than under Trump, whose top line approval numbers are worse than Biden’s (presumably based upon opinions of his character, and less his actions).
Nine percent more people in 2019–the same point in Trump’s presidency–thought he had brought the right kind of change than under Biden, indicating that many of Biden’s own base think poorly of his performance. They may say they approve of him in the top line, but huge numbers drop off once asked about what he has done.
Biden’s likeability ratings match his total approval–telling you what his base will say openly about him. They approve of Biden as a person, but not much else.
But look at these numbers regarding qualities necessary to be an effective president: few people think he has the chops to do it.
Joe Biden is not honest, hasn’t the ability to handle a crisis, isn’t mentally or physically healthy enough to do the job, and sucks at uniting the country. That is what most people think.
Twenty-three percent on the latter. Seventy-seven percent of the country sees Biden as divisive, which of course he is. Not that Trump could unite people either.
Still, when 65% to 70% think you are dishonest, incompetent, decrepit, and even more think you are divisive it’s safe to say that Biden’s popularity as a president is far below that 45% number that the poll’s topline question claimed.
People want somebody else to be president. Not just Republicans, but Independents and Democrats as well.
It’s pretty impressive when you think about it…in 2012 two fairly well-liked and respected politicians were their party’s candidates for president. Obama was extremely well-liked in his own party, and while he was infuriating to Republicans and remains so to this day, few people thought he was an incompetent, decrepit boob. I sure didn’t. Romney was seen as a weak and far-too-moderate candidate by Republicans, but everybody thought he was smart and decent.
In the past 2 elections voters have been faced with choices between candidates they think very poorly of. It’s pretty bizarre, really. Trump, while he split his own party at least was able to build a new coalition that carried him to victory once and almost did again; Biden didn’t split his party, but almost everybody who voted for him sees him as a stinker of a candidate and a worse president.
Love Trump or hate him, he has a kind of charisma that attracts or repels people strongly; Biden is the opposite for most people. People who dislike Trump wrinkle their noses in distaste; people wrinkle their noses around Biden because he strikes them as decrepit and dishonest and worry he may poop his pants.
If the two of them face off again it will be the third presidential election in a row that will be determined by one factor alone: which candidate repels people more?
If Trump wins it would largely be because his base loves him to death and enough independents are scared that Biden will keel over, leaving us with Harris to finish out his term.
If Biden wins it would be because enough people dislike Trump with a hatred that burns as hot as the sun, so they crawled over broken glass to keep him from office.