Polls: Slidin' Biden sinks to 38% in PA, 34% in NM -- and 38% in Delaware

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Remember a month ago when the media assured us that Joe Biden would experience a State of the Union bounceGood times, good times. Two new polls out show Biden’s job approval rating still hovering at or near his floor — so far — but one of the polls shows Biden deeply underwater even in relatively friendly territory.

Let’s start with the broader look from Quinnipiac, which debunked the idea of a Biden bounce last month and shows little change now too:

Americans give President Biden a negative 38 – 53 percent job approval rating with 9 percent not offering an opinion. This compares to a negative 36 – 55 percent job approval rating in a Quinnipiac University poll a week ago.

In today’s poll, registered voters give Biden a negative 40 – 54 percent job approval rating with 6 percent not offering an opinion. This compares to a negative 38 – 55 percent job approval rating a week ago.

Americans were asked about Biden’s handling of three issues:

  • the response to the coronavirus: 48 percent approve, while 47 percent disapprove;
  • the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: 42 percent approve, while 50 percent disapprove;
  • the economy: 35 percent approve, while 59 percent disapprove.

When it comes to Biden’s personal traits, Americans were asked whether or not Biden…

  • cares about average Americans: 48 percent say yes, while 49 percent say no;
  • is honest: 44 percent say yes, while 50 percent say no;
  • has good leadership skills: 39 percent say yes, while 57 percent say no.

Note that Biden’s collapse has not been limited to just overall job approval or approval on issues. Before taking office, Biden scored high on those personal-quality questions. Biden had a +16 on honesty after his inauguration (55/39) among registered voters, and has suffered a 22-point swing in the gap ever since. That first appeared in October’s iteration (46/48) from Quinnipiac, but they hadn’t polled on Biden’s honesty since April (52/46). Clearly this was a reaction to Biden’s lies about evacuating Americans from Afghanistan as well as his dishonest characterization of his retreat from the Taliban.

The same is true of leadership skills, too. He scored 56/39 in February 2021 and 52/46 two months later, only to see it sharply reverse to 43/55 in October 2021. He’s fallen 34 points in the gap on leadership since inauguration. Almost as dramatically, Biden has lost 26 points in the gap on caring about average Americans, starting off with a 61/36 two weeks after inauguration and falling to the present 48/49. The erosion on that point started later; as of October 2021, Biden still got a 51/47, but a month later it dipped below 50% for the first time, and now he has his highest “no” rating ever at 49%.

That is almost certainly tied to the economy and inflation. In December 2019, before the pandemic, registered voters rated the economy positively, 73/25. When Biden took office, voters rated it 26/73, with 28% rating it “poor.” It’s now 26/74, almost unchanged overall, except that 44% rate it “poor” now — and that’s down from 40/59 in May 2021, Biden’s high-water mark.

So this is a broad collapse in standing for Biden at the national level, on both performance and character. What does that mean in practice? It might be expanding the midterm field even more than Republicans would otherwise hope. A state-by-state breakdown in this poll by Civiqs shows Biden bottoming out in places from which he’d expect far more support:

Civiqs is a longitudinal tracking poll, so movement in the numbers happens more gradually. Biden’s overall numbers have improved slightly over the last few weeks, but not by much — he was at 34/56 last month on overall approval. He’s underwater in most demos and underperforming among blacks (66/16) and Hispanics (46/41). Women have him underwater at 41/48, a result that has to have midterm organizers reaching for the Alka-Seltzer already.

The state data should generate next-level anxiety, though. Biden’s only above water in four states and only at majority approval in three: Hawaii (54/39), Massachusetts (50/38), Vermont (54/35), and Maryland (47/42). He’s tied at 45/45 in California and Illinois, and at 46/46 in Rhode Island. Apart from the atrocious levels in the Civiqs tweet, consider these results as well:

  • Colorado: 40/51
  • Connecticut: 42/48
  • Delaware(!): 38/54
  • Minnesota: 41/50
  • Oregon: 41/48
  • Virginia: 37/53
  • Washington state: 44/47

Imagine being a Democratic president from a heavily blue state and being sixteen points underwater there, as Biden is in Delaware. And now imagine running as a Democrat for House and Senate races in all these states in anything but super-safe Democratic districts while voters revile your party leader even in the most sympathetic areas. Democrats may have gotten a taste of the red wave in local elections this week, but these polls show that they’re about to be forced to gorge on defeat in November unless Biden can pull himself out of this tailspin.

Hint: telling voters how great they have it now economically ain’t gonna do it.