Hmmm: Biden approval crashes to 37% ... in progressive tracking poll

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

It’s quite an achievement to score worse in a poll from your own side than you do in a poll from the other side. Not that Joe Biden’s doing well in anyone’s polls these days, but the 37% job approval rating in Civiqs’ tracking poll has to sting, considering that Civiqs was founded and is run by Markos “Daily Kos” Moulitsas. That’s significantly worse than the RCP aggregated average of 43/54, which itself has trended badly over the last week:

Compare that to the latest from Republican pollster Trafalgar, which has a similar gap but puts Biden at a slightly higher floor:

One side gives Biden a sixteen-point negative gap while the other gives him a seventeen-point negative gap. Who says we can’t find consensus in these bitterly polarized political times?

Trafalgar doesn’t give much data on demographics other than on partisan identification. Among independents, Biden gets a 39/52 job approval rating, but the difference between the two strong poles tells a story all its own. Only 7% of independents strongly approve of Biden’s job performance, while 43% — six times as many respondents — strongly disapprove.

In contrast, Civiqs delivers demographics by the barrel, and … few of them give Biden or Democrats in general any reason to celebrate. The split among independents is actually worse in this poll, 26/63, for a gap of thirty-seven points rather than thirteen among indies. Unlike other recent polling, Biden’s ahead with Hispanics but only 50/39, and only 65% of black voters approve of his job performance. Biden is underwater in almost every other Civiqs demo, even among 18-34YOs (29/55!), post-graduates (42/49), and even women (41/48). For the first time in a long while, a consensus has formed between college graduates (37/55) and non-college graduates (36/55).

Here’s a fun fact that ought to have Democratic Party strategists reaching for the temazepam, if not the hemlock: Biden’s job approval is above water in only five states. He only has majority job approval in two, deep-blue Hawaii and socialist-lite Vermont. In California, which went for Biden a year ago 64/34, his job approval is essentially a margin-of-error tie at 46/43.

Let’s take a look at Biden’s standing where key Senate races will take place in November:

  • Arizona, Mark Kelly (D) defending: 36/57
  • Colorado, Cory Gardner (R) defending: 41/50
  • Georgia, Raphael Warnock (D) defending: 30/59
  • Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto (D) defending: 37/54
  • New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan (D) defending: 43/50
  • North Carolina, Richard Burr (R) retiring: 35/57
  • Ohio, Rob Portman (R) retiring: 30/61
  • Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey (R) retiring: 39/54
  • Wisconsin, Ron Johnson (R) maybe defending: 38/54

And this is the view from a progressive polling outfit. To call that a grim scenario might be to push understatement to the point of satire. Not only will the midterm-as-referendum dynamic be in place, it’s clear that no one feels particularly enthusiastic for Biden among his base. Who’s going to step up for a robust GOTV effort, even in states where candidates might be able to distance themselves from the stench in the White House?

Of course, this is just one poll, but the latest RCP chart makes Civiqs look much more within the trend than an outlier. Note too that this chart does not include the Civiqs results, which RCP does not include in its aggregation:

This also largely mirrors the trend line at FiveThirtyEight, even after adjusting for partisan lean (again, without Civiqs). Now for the big question: How much of this is fixable? Probably not much of it, but the latest confusion from the White House on COVID-19 certainly hasn’t helped. Two weeks ago, shortly after Jen Psaki openly scoffed at the idea of expanding testing capabilities, the aggregate gap closed to single digits. It’s exploding outward again now, so perhaps Biden can a narrow this up a bit if and when COVID outbreaks start flattening out in the next couple of months. The disillusion over Biden is now so broad and so deep, though, that there is almost no way for Biden to recover from the confidence-crisis cascade that his Afghanistan disgrace triggered and the Delta wave exacerbated in the late summer.

Better buckle your seatbelts, Democrats, because 2022 will be a bumpy ride.