Slidin' Biden sinks in CBS/YouGov poll -- and even Dems agree economy is getting "bad"

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Quelle surprise. Objectively speaking, what isn’t getting worse? The economy? Inflation has eroded buying power far faster than wage growth has boosted it for well over a year now. Interest rates? Going up, and affordable housing choices are shrinking for most Americans as a result. Gas prices? Don’t even get me started.

So why should we expect the latest CBS/YouGov poll to reflect anything other than the fact that, as Cam Edwards always says, everything is stupid and it’s only getting worse?

Americans’ assessments and outlook for the economy are poor, with most anticipating at least a slowdown, if not a recession, in the coming year. On a personal level, views on their own finances are down from a year ago, and many voice concern about the ability to afford things, or to save, going forward. It’s an important sentiment because Americans’ views on spending can in turn impact the economy. On a brighter note, however, feelings about job security remain relatively more confident by comparison.

That’s about the only rosy assessment out of this poll. Views of the economy have grown sharply worse over the last two months, and not just among Republicans. Majorities of all three parties now rate the economy as “bad,” with six in ten Democrats joining that view:

Current assessments of the national economy are getting worse. Just 22% think it’s good — down even further from 26% in May — while the percentage saying it’s “bad” has gone up to 75% — a new high for the Biden presidency. That is a 12-point rise since April.

Majorities of Republicans, independents, and Democrats all rate the economy as bad. The 60% of Democrats who rate the economy bad is notable because it’s moving closer to the views of independents and Republicans, even though a president’s own party often gives rosier assessments than others. Democrats’ positive assessments have dropped over recent months. They were at 42% good last month.

In just one month, the percentage of Democrats who agree the economy is “bad” grew by eighteen points — not a gap change, but in an actual position shift. What changed? Gas prices, for one thing:

Interest rate hikes probably had some impact on that, although the big 75-basis-point hike came relatively late in June. Mostly, though, Democrats have to go to the same gas stations, supermarkets, and shops that the rest of us do. Their assessment of Joe Biden notwithstanding, their wallets are being drained and their retirement accounts discounted, too. The fiscal reality of Bidenomics has to intrude at some point.

It has intruded on Biden’s approval ratings for almost a full year now, and this poll is no exception:

Biden gets a 41/59 rating from CBS/YouGov, far worse than the previous YouGov rating of 44/51 in May, with only 15% strongly approving and 41% strongly disapproving. It’s not his worst rating lately, but it’s a sharp shift from previous YouGov polling, which had been the friendliest poll by far for Biden until now.

Biden’s issue ratings are almost all worse than his overall rating, too:

  • Economy: 34/66
  • Inflation: 29/71
  • Russia/Ukraine: 43/57
  • Immigration: 41/59
  • Abortion: 40/60
  • Gun policy: 38/62

The gun-policy rating is notable for the period in which this survey took place. During the polling from June 22-24, Biden had gotten the Senate deal on gun-violence legislation that he endorsed. John Cornyn and Chris Murphy announced the deal on June 21, and it passed out of the Senate that same evening. Either the deal didn’t satisfy too many people, or few are giving Biden much credit for it. Likely, this is both at play at the same time, and it’s likely the same dynamic on abortion — although the Dobbs decision came down on the final day of the survey and may not have impacted the overall results much.

The CBS/YouGov poll results on issues shows how much either will matter in the end, though:

The ordering here must be in the sequence asked, so let’s reorder this by “high priority” ratings. Inflation and the economy are essentially tied for first among voter priorities and closely related to each other, with crime and gun policy also closely relation and tied for a distant third place. Next up in fifth place is immigration. Abortion comes in sixth overall, at about half of the response given to the economy and inflation. Russia/Ukraine falls in behind that, and then COVID-19, with the January 6 issues coming in dead last among voter priorities.

If nothing else, this again reminds us of James Carville’s timeless electoral wisdom: It’s the economy, stupid. And more and more of Biden’s own voters are realizing that Biden’s stupid policies have created a fiasco that’s only getting worse.