WaPo, Zogby: Dems starting to abandon Biden -- but is Biden's lying or GOP "intransigence" to blame?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Can Joe Biden’s polling get any worse? Yes indeed, as Washington Post analyst Philip Bump argues, and it may happen more quickly than one might think. Bump takes a look at the Pew poll analyzed by Allahpundit yesterday and looks more closely at the decline of Democrat confidence in Biden. The last bastion of confidence in his presidency has begun to crumble:

In new polling from the Pew Research Center, President Biden’s approval rating is at a remarkably low 41 percent. That’s in part because independents view him fairly negatively, as they have for a while. But it’s also because Democrats don’t love him as much as they used to.

In Pew’s data, Biden has gone from 95 percent approval among Democrats last spring to 76 percent in January. Since September, the percentage of Democrats who say they strongly approve of the job he’s doing has fallen from 27 to 21 percent. That’s a problem in part because approval ratings are a continuum: Voters don’t go from strongly approve to strongly disapprove in one fell swoop. First they transition from strong to less-strong approval — as many Democrats have.

On a slew of metrics, Democrats express far less confidence in Biden than they once had. The two biggest drops are on issues that he had repeatedly emphasized on the campaign trail and during his early days in office: managing the coronavirus pandemic and unifying the country. The former always seemed more feasible than the latter, and in March of last year, far more Democrats were confident that Biden could handle the pandemic (92 percent) than that he could unify the country (74 percent). Since then, though, Democratic confidence in each effort has dropped by more than 20 points. …

Pew’s data also suggests that Democrats have not only lost confidence in Biden’s ability to work across the aisle (understandably) but also are far less likely to even see that as a useful outcome. Since a year ago, there has been a 23-point net swing away from Democratic support for working with Republicans and toward standing up to the right. There was a larger swing among Republicans, even as they were far less likely to support congressional leaders’ working with Biden a year ago.

This looks like the final phase of a confidence-crisis cascade that began when Biden abandoned Americans in Afghanistan. Bump never once mentions that catalyst, even though it clearly provided the inflection point to negative approval ratings for Biden. This RCP chart, which both Allahpundit and I used yesterday, may not even make that as clear as its underlying data:

Before Biden’s disgraceful abandonment of Americans and Afghan allies in August, no national poll tracked by RCP showed Biden with a net-negative job approval rating. Since August, few polls have shown anything other than a net negative, and now most of the polling puts Biden underwater by double digits.

Instead, Bump blames the drain of Democratic support in significant part on Republican “intransigence”:

Of course, Biden’s inability to pass legislation is a function not only of intransigence from the opposing party but also from within his own. … Notice that much of this is out of Biden’s control. His pledges to unify the country — framed ambitiously to the point of near-delusion — were dependent on Republican acquiescence, which was always unlikely.

Ahem. Biden’s inability to pass massive progressive social engineering comes from the fact that the Senate is split 50/50 and Republicans opposed these agenda items all along. The intransigence isn’t in the GOP’s consistent opposition to these proposals but in Biden’s refusal to recognize the futility of attempting such large-scale social engineering while lacking the votes to pass it. Rather than work with Republicans to find common areas of policy interest (with the infrastructure bill a notable exception), Biden instead attempted to shove a hard-Left policy package down the GOP’s throat. And just as predictably from the obvious math in Congress, Biden failed miserably at it, which is why Democrats are left wondering whether Biden’s lost his marbles.

Biden got elected by promising to do exactly the opposite. He wooed voters by championing a reset on partisanship, promised to use his Senate relationships to find collaboration, and turn down the drama dial to 5 from 11. A new Zogby poll, used with the usual caveats about methodology and reliability, demonstrates one key reason for the acceleration of Biden’s confidence-crisis cascade. A plurality of Americans think Biden’s a liar who hoodwinked them in 2020:

Asked if Biden has “delivered” on campaign promises or “was lying just to get elected,” 45.7% chose lying and 38.2% chose delivering on promises. The rest of the voters were unsure.

The polling analysis cited Biden’s failure to end the COVID-19 crisis, but it also noted inflation and other problems that are driving key support groups into GOP arms.

“There are more Democrats abandoning ship and calling for the president not to run in 2024. Things are so bad for the Democrats right now; you are starting to see Bill and Hillary Clinton reappear in public. Imagine, Democrats trotting out Hillary as the change candidate in 2024! That could make Donald Trump look appealing to swing voters!” the poll analysis said.

And even worse, a wider plurality now feel they are worse off under Biden than a year ago. And we all know what a crappy year 2020 was:

In line with these situations, we posed the question to surveyed likely voters: “has President Biden made your life better or worse off?” As bad as things are going for Biden, only a plurality (44%) said they were their lives were worse off, while only 30% said better off and 27% stated the same. This is not good for Democrats going into the 2022 midterm elections. Like Republicans four years ago when Donald Trump was president, the Democrats may need to distance themselves from the President to have a chance of keeping the House or Senate.

Only one age group, 30-49-year-old likely voters (43% better off/33% worse off/24% the same), felt their lives were better off under Biden. The rest of the age groups, including the youngest voters aged 18-29 (29% better off/37% worse off/35% the same) and the oldest voters aged 65+ (21% better off/55% worse off/24% the same) felt that their lives were worse off under Biden, though with distinct levels of intensity.

When it came to political affiliation, a majority of Democrats (58% better off/11% worse off/31% the same) felt their lives were better off during Biden’s first year in office, while an overwhelming majority of Republicans (12% better off/73% worse off/15% the same) and half of Independents (14% better off/49% worse off/38% the same) did not feel life was better because of President Biden.

Only 58% of Democrats think their lives are better under a Democratic president and a Democrat-run Congress? That may indeed account for the slide we’re seeing among Democrats and Joe Biden’s approval levels. The longer inflation and intrusive government mandates run, the worse off that will get, too. That has nothing to do with GOP “intransigence,” and everything to do with Democrats’ bait-and-switch on Biden and their agenda.