Slidin' Biden: "Mostly underwater" in Gallup, Cook shifts key Senate Dem seats to toss-ups

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

How low can he go? For Joe Biden, that question doesn’t just apply to overall job approval numbers, or even issue-approval polling. It also applies to his party and its standing in the midterm elections, and the answer is … we don’t know yet.

But it looks as though Biden may explore even further depths, according to Gallup. Biden has not only fallen to a -13 on overall job approval, he doesn’t score a positive in any issue area either:

President Joe Biden’s job rating remains underwater, with 42% of Americans approving and 55% disapproving. Likewise, majorities of U.S. adults disapprove of Biden’s handling of five key issues — immigration, the economy, foreign affairs, crime and healthcare. The public’s most positive rating of Biden — for his response to the coronavirus — finds the public evenly divided. …

Biden’s overall job approval rating is unchanged from last month and remains the lowest of his presidency thus far. It is the third consecutive month of majority-level disapproval. …

Just as Biden’s overall job approval rating has worsened in recent months, so too have his marks on the three issues that Gallup has been tracking since the early days of his presidency — the response to COVID-19, the economy and foreign affairs.

The slide has been steep, too. Since August, the first time Gallup polled on the topic, Biden has lost ten points overall on immigration and now scores only 31% approval on that issue. On the economy, Biden has gone from 54% in February to 38% this month. He also gets a 38% on foreign affairs — his supposed area of expertise — down from 56% at the beginning of his term. Even where Biden scores a tie, that’s a collapse from the 67% of approved of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In each of these policy areas, Biden has lost 16-18 points in the last nine months, as well as the ten points on immigration since August.

Gallup tries chalking this up to partisan responses, but warns at the end that it’s not all peaches and cream inside the Democratic tent either:

While Biden maintains nearly unanimous approval for his overall performance among his base, Democrats’ ratings on several issues are faltering. Economic woes, perceived missteps in the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and continuing debates about the southern border of the U.S. and refugees from other countries are all weighing on Americans’ minds. The pandemic is another serious pain point for the U.S., and cases are once again rising.

Gallup speculates that the passage of the infrastructure bill might help right the ship among the base in the next iteration. So far it’s not doing anything for Biden’s polling numbers, however. The BIF passed two weeks ago and got signed into law a few days later. In polling taken this week and aggregated at RCP, Biden’s best result is a -5 (44/49) from Reuters. The other five polls range from -8 (43/51 in Economist/YouGov) to -17 (41/58 in Rasmussen). If you’re inclined to mistrust Rasmussen, don’t miss the fact that three of the six polls taken in the past week put Biden underwater by double digits, which explains his overall RCP average hitting a new low:

Passing a massive spending bill didn’t stop the Biden Slide, and it’s not helping other Democrats either. The Cook Report has moved three key Senate races from Leans Dem to Toss-Up, movement that the GOP will no doubt appreciate:

The Cook Political Report is shifting three hotly contested 2022 Senate races toward the GOP and into the toss-up column, a move that suggests a more favorable environment for Republicans.

The Senate contests in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada once leaned toward Democrats. That changed on Friday, when the nonpartisan election handicapper reclassified them as toss-up races, meaning that they could go in either direction.

All three seats are currently held by Democratic incumbents, Sens. Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.). Republicans see those seats as their best pickup opportunities in 2022.

Warnock was always going to be a tough lift for Democrats, but the news on Cortez Masto and especially Kelly should rattle Chuck Schumer. Mitch McConnell only needs to net one pickup next year to retake control of the upper chamber, although he’s defending more seats than Schumer is — and has more retirements to boot (5:1 for now). If these seats and New Hampshire are in play for the GOP, then perhaps Schumer only has Pennsylvania truly in play for a pickup and may be looking at a wipeout otherwise.

That’s the price Senate Democrats may pay for foisting an incompetent extremist on voters while promising centrist expertise. House Democrats will pay a much steeper price, unless Biden can reverse this confidence-crisis cascade.