We don’t often hear from Grinnell/Selzer, but when we do, we should pay attention. According to their latest polling, Joe Biden’s approval rating has plunged to 37/50, an even lower level and bigger gap than yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll. It’s the first poll aggregated by RealClearPolitics that puts Biden below 40%.
That results in the lowest average approval rating for Biden thus far in RCP’s aggregation:
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) October 20, 2021
Who are Grinnell and Selzer? Grinnell College conducts national polls a couple of times a year in partnership with Selzer and Company. The latter gets an A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight, with the slightest of leanings … toward Democrats. They use the preferred live-phone methodology and their track record on elections is decent, if not outstanding.
In other words, there’s no reason to believe that this is some sort of oppo-research report. The only potential lean here would be likely toward Biden rather than away from him, not dramatically in the other direction. It’s worth noting that this appears to be the first job-approval rating from Grinnell/Selzer this year, but their survey in March showed Biden doing pretty well on trust and favorability:
More than half of respondents (56%) report having high or medium trust in President Biden to tell them the truth about problems facing the country and 49% indicate their feelings are mostly favorable toward the new President.
That has changed dramatically in the new survey conducted over the past week, and not just in overall job approval. Take a gander at Biden’s approval ratings on immigration and the economy:
When asked whether they approve of the job President Biden is doing, only 37% approve (50% disapprove). Disapproval is highest when it comes to his handling of immigration (27% approve; 58% disapprove) and the economy (36% approve; 53% disapprove). Additionally, only 36% of Americans believe the economy will be in a stronger position 12 months from now – an 11-point drop from March 2021.
If national politics is “the economy, stupid,” then Democrats are in yuuge trouble next fall. Speaking of yuuge, independents have almost entirely bailed on Biden — so much so that they’re demonstrating some serious buyers’ remorse from the 2020 election:
“In 2020 exit polling, President Biden won independent voters by a 54% to 41% margin,” said J. Ann Selzer of Selzer & Company. “If the election were held today, our poll shows former President Trump winning that group 45% to 28%. It is a massive shift in a demographic that helped carry Biden to victory less than two years ago.”
Less than one year ago, actually, even if it seems like a lifetime now.
Biden’s approval ratings look even worse in the demos. He’s fallen to 41/45 among women, 39/42 among voters under 35, and gets a weak 47/37 among non-white respondents. College graduates only give Biden a 45/45 wash, and urban voters have him slightly underwater at 42/44 (suburbs at 44/44). Even Biden’s fellow Catholics are unhappy with his performance at 36/54.
Can Biden recover? Perhaps if he boosted confidence in his leadership by stepping up publicly, but the White House is doing everything it can to keep Biden out of public sight these days. The confidence-crisis cascade I predicted a month ago after the disgrace of abandoning Americans in Afghanistan continues to unfold, and right now it doesn’t appear an end is in sight — or even a floor.