Disaster or outlier? Biden plummets to 36% in new Reuters/Ipsos poll

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Just one week ago, this same pollster offered an outlier single-digit gap for Joe Biden’s job approval rating, 42/50. Suddenly, however, the Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll has Biden at a -23 gap and 36/59 on overall job approval. That puts Reuters/Ipsos on the other side of the outlier category, with a gap fully ten points larger than the latest survey from … Rasmussen Reports.


What happened?

U.S. President Joe Biden’s public approval rating fell this week to 36%, the lowest level of his presidency, as Americans suffered from rising inflation, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll completed on Tuesday.

The two-day national poll found that 59% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance. His overall approval was down six percentage points from 42% last week.

Biden’s approval rating has been below 50% since August, raising alarms that his Democratic Party is on track to lose control of at least one chamber of Congress in the Nov. 8 midterm election.

In part, the shift comes from his base, which has grown as tired of Biden as Biden has grown tired in his job:

In a sign of weakening enthusiasm among Democrats, Biden’s approval rating within his own party fell to 72% from 76% the prior week. Only 10% of Republicans approve of his job in office.

That certainly would explain part of this collapse, but it doesn’t account for all of it. Biden fell six points on approval overall, which means that the four-point drop among Democrats can’t cover all of that ground.

Unfortunately, Reuters’ polling explorer hasn’t been updated since October, so the data itself is still unaccessible. They do provide some charting for the demos, although the actual numbers from previous polls aren’t available. The partisan trend lines haven’t changed, but a few others show sharp changes. Biden’s approval among white voters dropped dramatically to a 32/64, while his rating among non-whites crossed over a bit more incrementally into negative territory, 45/51. The changes were sharp for both college-degreed (38/59) and non-college (34/60) voters.


More ominously for Democrats — assuming this isn’t an outlier — the same sharp changes can be seen in community demos. Biden’s still up among urban voters, but only 53/43 in areas where Democrats usually win by wide margins. Biden’s standing in the suburbs has crashed dramatically to 33/64, almost as bad as Biden does among rural voters (26/67).

The same sharp shifts can be seen in most age and income demos as well, and in the regional demos — although it shifted positively for Biden in the Northeast, where’s back above water at 56/40. In all other regions, Biden’s in negative territory — 33/63 in the Midwest, 30/65 in the South, and 36/62 in the West, which has been trending well for Democrats over the last couple of decades.

So we can see where the changes may have come, but that doesn’t tell us why. The chart of issue priorities for voters might, however:

It’s still the economy, stupid, and since we are suffering from stupid economic and energy policies, it’s no wonder Biden’s underwater. It’s still unclear, though, whether this shows a sharp overall drop in Biden’s standing, or just a moment of clarity in the Reuters/Ipsos survey methods. Thanks to this update, though, Biden has almost broken through the 40% floor in his RCP aggregate average:


If this doesn’t turn out to be an outlier, we’ll see this in the 30s by the end of next week. Stay tuned.

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