An outlier? Perhaps, as Republican-leaning Trafalgar has been one of the tougher polling series for Joe Biden ever since his bug-out from Afghanistan. On the other hand, this is still the worst result yet from this series, and that direction mirrors most of the rest of the polling over the last three-plus months.
In yesterday’s results, Biden hit 36% job approval and still appears to be searching for a floor. More problematic is that most voters who don’t approve are passionate about it; Biden gets a disapproval rating of 59%, with 52.2% strongly disapproving. Biden doesn’t inspire much middle ground as less than 7% only “disapprove” while less than 5% have no opinion. Biden doesn’t inspire much passion in the other direction, as his approval is precisely divided between “approve” and “strongly approve.”
That puts the passionate positions at 18.1/52.2. No wonder “Let’s Go Brandon” is taking off as a cultural phenomenon.
This, however, is likely why Biden’s fellow Democrats in the House are looking for the exits before the midterms:
In today’s hyper-partisan times, one would expect voters from a president’s party to fall into line, even if not terribly enthusiastically. Instead, almost a third of Democrats disapprove of Biden’s performance, and just about a quarter strongly disapprove. Only a third strongly approve. It’s the political equivalent of damning with faint praise, and in a midterm cycle where presidential performance will be critical to turnout and voter choice, it’s a disaster for Democrats.
But let’s say you don’t like Trafalgar, or consider it too much of an outlier. Let’s take a look at a much friendlier series for Biden, the Economist/YouGov series, which dropped its latest iteration yesterday too. Biden gets majority disapproval there too, 44/50, a result that The Economist didn’t bother to cover themselves. Strong disapproval there hits 37% while strong approval only reaches 17%. The big difference in this poll is that only 10% of Democrats disapprove of Biden’s performance, but only 41% of them strongly approve. Tellingly, 59% of independents still disapprove — and 45% of those strongly. Only 7% of independents strongly approve of Biden’s performance.
Another big problem in the demos are suburban voters. While Biden scores a wan 50/39 among his urban-core base, he only gets a 43/49 in the suburbs; on the passionate choices, Biden only gets an 18/37. (He gets a 33/57 in rural areas.) What kind of a turnout does that portend for midterm Democrats?
The Economist/YouGov series has issue breakouts as well, and it’s easy to see why Biden’s losing ground with voters. While he gets in front of cameras and talks about how great the economy is doing (as he did yesterday), almost everyone else sees it very differently. Only 4% see the economy as “excellent,” and only 24% see it positively at all. Six in ten see it as only fair or poor, and that goes to 75% for those earning under $50K. Seventy-one percent of women view it negatively, as does 63% of black Americans, 61% of Hispanics, and 71% of suburban voters.
Who does Biden think he’s convincing? Small wonder that Biden’s only getting a 41/47 on the economy, and in fact that’s probably surprisingly high under the circumstances. Among independents, it’s only a 32/54, which tells us that the Economist/YouGov may be oversampling Democrats in this survey. Given that their generic ballot question results in a D+5 outlier, I’d guess that the oversampling in this poll is fairly significant.
On the other hand, Biden only gets a 32/54 on immigration, so even that oversample isn’t helping as much as it should.