Biden still slidin', Dems bailing in AP/NORC poll record-low 39% job approval

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The good news for Joe Biden: He can’t fall much lower in job approval among Republicans and independents. The bad news? The latest Associated Press/NORC poll provides plenty of it, including a brand-new record low approval rating. Biden has fallen below 40% in this series for the first time ever, and he can’t blame partisanship:

President Joe Biden’s approval rating dipped to the lowest point of his presidency in May, a new poll shows, with deepening pessimism emerging among members of his own Democratic Party.

Only 39% of U.S. adults approve of Biden’s performance as president, according to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Research, dipping from already negative ratings a month earlier.

Overall, only about 2 in 10 adults say the U.S. is heading in the right direction or the economy is good, both down from about 3 in 10 a month earlier. Those drops were concentrated among Democrats, with just 33% within the president’s party saying the country is headed in the right direction, down from 49% in April.

That brings us to the very bad news. Partisan loyalty has begun to run thin, just as the midterms approach:

Of particular concern for Biden ahead of the midterm elections, his approval among Democrats stands at 73%, a substantial drop since earlier in his presidency. In AP-NORC polls conducted in 2021, Biden’s approval rating among Democrats never dropped below 82%.

Unfortunately, AP didn’t make the crosstabs and other poll data immediately available, but they do have an extensive report on the toplines. It takes some picking through the text, but we find out that Biden’s disapproval on the economy has hit “two-thirds” of respondents, largely unchanged from recent iterations. However, a majority (51%) now say that Biden has hurt the economy while only 18% think he’s helped it, down six points from their March survey.

Again, the erosion here seems to be mainly among fellow Democrats. On that same question, now only 37% of Democrats think Biden has helped the economy, down eight points from March. Only 18% say Biden’s hurt the economy, so it’s not so bad, but that leaves 44% who think Biden hasn’t made a difference. Needless to say, this is not a model that suggests Democrats will get an enthusiastic response from their base in the elections less than six months from now.

Biden’s also getting a 38% approval rating on immigration, and the AP report includes a rather telling anecdote about one of their respondents:

Morales faults Biden on another area of persistent vulnerability to the president — immigration.

Only 38% back Biden on immigration, and Morales is disappointed at the scenes of migrants continuing to cross the southern border. Though he himself is a Mexican immigrant, Morales thinks the U.S. needs to more stringently control its border to have a hope of legalizing deserving migrants who are in the country illegally.

Also, Morales said, there have to be limits. “It’s impossible to bring the whole of Central America and Mexico into this country,” he said.

Biden does all right on Ukraine, relatively speaking, with an approval rating of 45/54. However, only 21% of Americans have “a great deal of confidence” in Biden’s ability to deal with the situation, while 39% say they don’t have much or any at all.

That is emblematic of Biden’s crash in polling. Ever since he botched the withdrawal from Afghanistan and abandoned 14,000 Americans to the Taliban, voters have had no confidence in Biden on anything. Democratic voters remained loyal for a long time, but as this poll demonstrates, even they have their limits. Biden’s crisis presidency has unleashed a confidence-crisis cascade that still continues — and Biden seemingly won’t acknowledge it, let alone try to counter it.