The latest Associated Press/NORC poll numbers were released yesterday and the news wasn’t very encouraging for President Joe Biden or his supporters. Following several weeks of consistently bad headlines, it would seem that people are beginning to sour on the “Build Back Better” presidency. This poll has consistently been a bit kinder to Biden than some of the other major polling outfits and that was once again the case this week. The report from the AP also seems to try to paint a somewhat more charitable picture, but the reality is that Biden’s numbers were down across the board. But the decline we’re seeing isn’t coming from Republicans and conservatives who weren’t too wild about Uncle Joe to begin with. The dips are coming from his own party and the demographic groups that have traditionally been the most supportive of him.
President Joe Biden’s popularity has slumped after a slew of challenges in recent weeks at home and abroad for the leader who pledged to bring the country together and restore competence in government, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Fifty percent now say they approve of Biden, while 49% disapprove. Fifty-four percent approved in August, and 59% did in July. The results come as Americans process the harried and deadly evacuation from Afghanistan, mounted border patrol agents charging at Haitian refugees, the unshakable threat of the coronavirus with its delta variant and the legislative drama of Biden trying to negotiate his economic, infrastructure and tax policies through Congress.
So AP/NORC still has Biden at 50/49 while the majority of polling outlets are showing him being underwater. As I said, that’s probably par for the course, but it’s a very low number to drop to this soon in a first presidential term. Support among Democrats is still strong, but it dropped from 92 to 85 percent. The AP describes this as having “dipped slightly,” but they curiously apply the same label to his support from the critical category of independent voters. That’s one area where Biden actually cratered, falling from 62 to 38 percent. The only party demographic where he stayed the same was with Republicans, where he has the same 11% support he had last time.
The real eye-openers came with the shift in support along racial lines. Biden is doing slightly worse with white voters, falling from 49% to 42%. But with Black voters, one of the key demographics he relied on in 2020, his support absolutely tanked, dropping from 86% to 64%. It’s hard to imagine this being attributable to much beyond his vaccine mandates and protests against those policies coming from Black Lives Matter. If Joe slips much further and actually goes underwater with Black voters he can pretty much forget about any future election chances. No Democrat can survive with those sorts of numbers.
In their follow-up questions with survey participants, the Associated Press amazingly still finds a way to blame Donald Trump. Check out this passage.
In follow-up interviews, some of those who had mixed feelings about Biden’s performance still saw him as preferable to former President Donald Trump. They said that Biden was dealing with a pandemic that began under the former president, an Afghanistan withdrawal negotiated on Trump’s behalf and an economy that tilted in favor of corporations and the wealthy because of Trump’s tax cuts.
“Trump had a lot to do with what’s going on now,” said Acarla Strickland, 41, a health care worker from Atlanta who voted for Biden yet now feels lukewarm about him.
They actually found somebody who is so out of touch with reality that they believe that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was “negotiated on Trump’s behalf.” Trump had a nascent plan to end the war, but Joe Biden was under no obligation to follow it and he actually didn’t. And she also feels that since the pandemic erupted (in China, by the way) “under the former president” that the current situation must somehow be his fault as well. Simply amazing.
The last number to touch on is the percentage of people who feel the country is heading in the right direction. Three months into Biden’s presidency it stood at slightly more than 50. This week it’s at 34. Barely one-third of the country thinks we’re on a positive course, and that’s coming from a poll that’s usually quite Biden-friendly. I’m guessing that nobody got a good night’s sleep at the White House on Friday.