The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: biden approval

Is Joe Biden’s Approval Rating In ‘Free Fall’? Nope

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Amid breathless reports of a political "free fall" and reeling from the White House's "summer from hell," the Beltway press has leaned into the idea that Joe Biden's presidency is unraveling — that his approval rating is in a state of collapse.

Except it's not true. Instead, it's the media falling in love with their favorite Dems In Disarray storyline. The same media that shrugged at Trump's chronically awful approval rating.

In a typical, overheated dispatch, a CNBC report recently announced, "Biden's Approval Ratings Have Plummeted, and That Could Spell trouble for Democrats in Congress." First off, the idea that Biden's approval rating in September 2021, is going to impact the outcome of November 2022 midterms makes no sense. Secondly, Biden's approval rating has fallen a grand total of four points in the past month, according to the polling average tabulated at FiveThirtyEight. So much for the "plummet."

Is Biden's' approval rating down this summer? It is, to 46 percent. Is he in some sort of manic freefall as the press suggests, fueled by the troop pullout from Afghanistan and the Delta surge? He is not.

A true ratings collapse would be like when President Ronald Reagan's approval dropped nine points in five days when the Iran Contra scandal broke. Or when George W. Bush's cratered 16 points in three months following the launch of the disastrous Iraq War.

Here are the Biden approval ratings from last 15 polls posted at FiveThirtyEight, minus the Rasmussen surveys, which are notoriously pro-Republican: 46, 44, 47, 47, 49, 47, 48, 42, 48, 49, 47, 44, 47, 50, 48.

If you take out the high (50) and the low (42) data points, the results have been markedly consistent this month. Where's the plummet?

When a recent Quinnipiac poll showed Biden's approval at 42 percent, Newsweek announced, "Joe Biden's Approval Rating Continues to Sink, Shows No Signs of Improving." Newsweek then ignored the fact that the next seven polls released after Quinnipiac all showed him improving.

The cherry picking seems intentional. When a NPR/PBS voter survey in early September showed Biden's approval at 43 percent, CNN's Chris Cillizza pounced: "This Poll Number Will Send Democrats Into a Panic." A week later though, Cillizza was silent when CNN's own poll found Biden's approval climbing to 52 percent.

CNN seemed to struggle with how to cover its good-news-for-Biden poll when the Beltway's preferred narrative was his "summer from hell." This was CNN's online headline for a story that showed Biden with a strong approval rating: "Americans Turn Pessimistic Amid Concerns Over Economy and Coronavirus." Later in a news segment, when a CNN anchor suggested the network's latest showing had Biden's rating at 43 percent, she had to be corrected by a guest who pointed out CNN's survey showed a 52 percent mark.

Biden's summertime slide has been fueled by Afghanistan and Covid, two unique and pressing challenges. But it also represents a natural progression for first term presidents as the so-called "honeymoon" with voters slowly wears off. Between being sworn in January 2009, and September 1 of that year, President Barack Obama, a successful two-term president, lost seven points on his approval rating, which is exactly how many points Biden has dipped since his inauguration.

Note that as with Biden, the press often obsessed over minor downward movements in Obama's approval in order to concoct a narrative about a president "sinking" and "plunging." At one point, a New York Times editorial was so anxious to push a narrative about Obama's supposedly broken presidency, it fabricated his approval rating, claiming it was 40 percent in a new poll, when it was actually 50 percent in that new survey.

The contrast with how the press has treated the popularity of the last two Democratic presidents with how they treated Trump's unpopularity couldn't be more startling.

When Biden's approval rating first fell below 50 percent this summer, it was considered newsworthy, as pundits weigh in on the approval "slide" and wondered if the Afghanistan story was going to doom his presidency. Rarely included in that heavy-handed analysis was the fact that at the same point in his presidency, Trump was sitting at a woeful 37 percent approval rating.

While Trump wallowed in abysmal ratings for most of his presidency (he never cracked 50 percent), the press mostly looked away, treating his poor standing as being usual. It was normalized.

Here's a quick example. In October, 2018 Politico published a piece about Trump's fire hose, "new media strategy," where he appeared on TV without pause and constantly answered reporters' shouted questions at the White House. In the eyes of Politico, it was a novel and winning strategy — it "worked" for Trump. And Politico even singled out Trump's top aide who was responsible for the approach.

Of course, what Politico never mentioned, and what the D.C. press didn't really think mattered in October 2018, was that Trump's approval stood at a lowly 41 percent.

Can you imagine today if Biden's approval fell five more points, to 41 percent, and the Beltway press started writing stories about how smart his communications strategy was? It's inconceivable because Democrats are held to a tougher media standard.

Why Biden’s Approval Ratings Will Rise Again

When President Joe Biden announced his new plan to mandate vaccinations and additional strong measures to curtail the spreading coronavirus, he was refreshingly brisk and blunt. It was a speech that marked an important step toward restoration of American political sanity.

"My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient," the president said. And then he sounded the bass note: "We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us."

Evidently the president now realizes that the great majority of this country's citizens — after enduring the lockdowns, wearing the masks, taking the shots — are frustrated and yearning for effective action against the pandemic and its human accomplices. They see no reason to tolerate collusion in the spread of a deadly disease that has killed hundreds of thousands and threatens to kill many more with surging variants. They are ready to crack down on the selfish, stupid minority who cannot be bothered to protect their neighbors or themselves.

Does that sound angry? Until now, most expressions of rage, not to mention violent threats and acts, have come from the opposite direction. Everyone has seen viral videos of outrageous misconduct and vile assaults from the opponents of masking and vaccination, encouraged by right-wing media outlets that confuse "freedom" with promiscuous infection. This week, millions watched a disgusting person intentionally cough on a woman and her daughter in a grocery store because they were masked. Happily, that person's employers at SAP watched it too, and fired her sorry ass.

Yes, Americans have seen enough of that literally sickening behavior. When Biden said, "our patience is wearing thin," he was putting it mildly. He knows, because recent polls have suggested that patience with him was beginning to diminish too.

While the chaotic U.S. departure from Afghanistan may have influenced the dip in Biden's approval ratings, his deeper problem was the raging wave of coronavirus infections and deaths brought on by the Delta variant. The high ratings he enjoyed since taking office owed much to his deliberate and determined offensive against the pandemic; when he was perceived to falter over the past few months, his numbers slipped. Meanwhile, public support has been rising for vaccine mandates and a tougher approach overall.

The trend first became obvious in California, as so many trends do. The recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom, it should be emphasized, caught fire when he was caught flouting his own COVID-19 regulations at a fancy Napa restaurant. The latest surveys, however, show Newsom pulling ahead because of his own government's vaccination mandates — and because he has rightly warned against the "anti-vax Republican government" that would take over if voters boot him. He has saved his political career by putting vaccine mandates at the center of his administration. If the election were held today, he would likely win by as much as 20 percent, perhaps more.

Even before Biden announced his own new suite of policies, the vaccination rate was steadily increasing again, largely thanks to public and private sector mandates that have gained traction since early summer. By overwhelming majorities, the public approves of those requirements at work and at school — and the result is that vaccine hesitancy has been steadily diminishing, with polls showing resistance at its lowest level since the question was first asked.

The most bracing moment in Biden's speech came when he informed the governors of Texas and Florida, and any others who might follow them, that his administration will financially and legally bolster any school district they attempt to intimidate from protecting teachers and students. In that instant, he confronted the toxic bullying by Republicans who want to prolong the pandemic for partisan gain — and showed who is tougher.

What Americans want from their leaders is usually simple enough. They want compassion, common sense, decency, and above all strength of conviction. In a word, they want the kind of leadership that Biden is providing. His numbers will soon rise again as the infection numbers fall.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Fox Poll Shows Broad Support For Biden As GOP Attacks Flop

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new Fox News poll released Wednesday shows congressional Republicans are way out of step with the American public. Months of GOP attacks on the President Joe Biden, his economic policies, and COVID-19 safety requirementshave failed to sway most of the American public.

Conducted between August 7 and August 10, the poll surveyed 1,002 registered voters. It found majority support for Biden and all his proposed economic investments.

By a 53 pecrent -- 46 percent majority, voters said they approve of the job Biden is doing as president, much better than any Fox News poll approval rating for Donald Trump over his single term as president.

Asked about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan plan to invest $550 billion in transportation, broadband, electrical, and water system infrastructure that passed in the Senate on Tuesday, 62 percent said they favor the package, while 30 pecent said they oppose it.

Asked about Democrats' $3.5 trillion plan to "address climate change, healthcare, and child care," 56 percent backed that as well, while 38 percent did not.

Most Senate Republicans voted against the bipartisan infrastructure package, and not one of them backed the budget resolution, the first step toward passing the $3.5 trillion spending package, though previous polling had also shown both measures to be broadly popular.

Across the country, Republicans have also pushed to prohibit governments and businesses from instituting requirements that people get COVID-19 vaccines or wear masks to curb transmission of the coronavirus in schools and indoor workplaces.

But the Fox News poll shows the public backs both.

Asked, "Do you favor or oppose cities and towns requiring all workers and customers to have proof of a coronavirus vaccine for indoor activities such as restaurants, gyms, and performances," 50 percent said they favored those measures and 46 percent said they oppose them.

By a 50 percent -- 47 percent margin, respondents also said that it was more important to protect "the safety of Americans by requiring the vaccine to participate in everyday activities" than "the freedom of Americans to choose whether or not to get vaccinated."

A majority of 54 percent said that schools and school districts should be free to require masks or proof of vaccination for in-person learning; 31 percent said they should not be.

Just 36 percent of those surveyed support the idea that their local public schools should "reopen fully in-person as usual" this fall without requiring masks or social distancing.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Poll: Nearly One-Third Of Republicans Believe Trump Will Be ‘Reinstated’

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

I'll never understand why anyone listens to Donald Trump on any subject. He wanted to nuke hurricanes. He wanted to put alligator-filled moats along the southern border. He thinks windmills cause cancer, asbestos is swell, and exercise is bad for you. He seriously suggested pumping our bodies full of UV light and disinfectant. He thinks we have planes that are literally invisible, for God's sake!

Nevertheless, millions of Trump fans have bent their brains into pretzels trying to make his doofus proclamations sound presidential—or even marginally nonsimian (see also: hydroxychloroquine).

We've pretty well established that Trump's brain is, at best, masticated circus peanut and, at worst, Lucifer's molten boom-booms, and yet when he dry-heaves utter batshit nonsense, plenty of his fans seem all too ready to lick it up like feral purse poodles.

Case in point: Fully 29 percent of Republicans think Donald Trump is returning before the year is out—possibly riding in on a cloud or a flaming chariot or (more likely) a golf cart with a cupholder and custom-installed deep fryer.

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll asked survey respondents this straightforward question: "How likely do you think it is that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated as U.S. President this year, if at all?" The question was no doubt included in the poll because Trump himself has been telling insiders that he thinks he'll be back in office by August. (Narrator: He won't.)

The results? (You still have time to bail if you've had your yearly quota of frothing insanity. You're still here? Okay, gird your loins.)

Among Republicans surveyed, 17 percent think it's "very likely" that Trump will return to the White House this year, 12 percent think it's "somewhat likely," and ten percent don't know or have no opinion. Taken together, this shows that two-fifths of Republicans have not yet accepted that Joe Biden won the presidency.

Of course, that wasn't the only eye-opening result. Asked whether things are going in the right direction in the U.S. or on the wrong track, only 15 percent of Republicans thought things were going in a positive direction, while 85 percent said we're veering off course. Guess 85 percent of Republicans prefer raging pandemics and collapsing economies to Democratic presidents.

Is this what it's like to lick hallucinogenic toads for breakfast in lieu of frosted Pop-Tarts? At some point, do you just surrender to the unreality of your environment?

Over at Civiqs, even more Republicans report they're worried; a stunning 93 percent of card-carrying GOPers think we're all gonna die.

If you enjoy watching Donald Trump eat the Republican Party from within, like a genetically modified tropical eyeball worm, you'll be happy to know that the Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 80 percent of Republicans want to stick around so they can see him play either a major role (59 percent) or a minor role (21 percent) in the party going forward. If you'd prefer he stay in Florida chucking oyster shells at flamingos from his balcony, you'll likely be disappointed by the 13 percent of Republicans who want him to slink away.

There's also some good news, of course. President Biden's approval rating is at 53 percent among all registered voters, with 28 percent of respondents "strongly" approving of the job he's doing, 25 percent "somewhat" approving, 43 percent disapproving, and the rest offering no opinion.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of registered voters want Congress to pass an infrastructure bill—so maybe we should get that done, huh?

There's still some sanity left in the world, so long as you look in the right place. And that right place is clearly nowhere in the vicinity of the right wing. I invite Republicans to hurry on back to planet Earth. The water's fine. At least it is for now—unfortunately, only 12 percent of Republicans consider passing a bill to address climate change a "top priority."

Go figure.

Congressional Republicans Frustrated As Biden Rides Strong Approval Ratings

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Congressional Republicans have repeatedly tried to claim that President Joe Biden is already a failure, just a few months into his presidency. But a new poll shows the American public is not buying it.

"It took less than 5 months for President Biden and Speaker Pelosi's Socialist Democratic Agenda to fail," New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the new chair of the House Republican Conference, tweeted on Tuesday. "Unemployment is up, inflation is rising, & our economy is crippled by unnecessary spending."

Unemployment is actually down since Donald Trump left office in January and the economy is growing.

But that has not stopped numerous Republicans from making similar attacks on Biden.

Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff tweeted Thursday that Biden's "policies are failing the American people. We need a President who will open up our economy and get people back to work."

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed Friday — incorrectly — that "Biden is failing so fast that his own voters are ready to vote for Trump in '24," apparently unaware of Biden's strong approval ratings.

Some GOP lawmakers have specifically singled out his immigration policies for ridicule.

"The border policies of the Biden Administration are a complete failure and are leading to a massive increase in illegal immigration – with no end in sight," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina charged on May 11.

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn on May 6 claimed a drop in deportations was "a failure of leadership."

Others have attacked Biden's handling of jobs and the economy.

"The Dems' 'COVID' recovery plan to pay people MORE on unemployment assistance than they made in their previous job is killing small businesses," wrote Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas on April 26. "This socialist policy was doomed to fail."

"In just four months, Biden has created four crises," claimed Alabama Rep. Barry Moore, citing the "Biden Border Crisis, Economic Crisis, Energy Crisis, National Security Crisis," as alleged examples. "This administration is failing the American people."

But the repetition of the claim does not appear to have swayed the public.

A new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, released Monday, found 62 percent job approval for Biden.

His handling of immigration (53 percent approval), the economy (62 percent), stimulating jobs (62 percent) and curbing the pandemic (70 percent) also enjoy broad approval.

This comes as unemployment claims have dropped to pandemic lows and most American adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Still, despite the strong public support for Biden, Republicans are fighting against his agenda. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on May 5 that ""One-hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration."

And Republicans reportedly are pulling back from infrastructure talks, upset that Biden wants to spend $1.5 trillion more than they do. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) told Politico on Tuesday that Republicans won't come up to "anywhere near the number the White House has proposed" for the American Jobs Plan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Biden Rides High In Polls As Americans Approve His Handling Of Pandemic

President Joe Biden is riding a wave of approval as Americans overwhelmingly back his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a new AP-NORC poll revealed Monday. As he nears four months in the White House, Biden is seeing an enviable 63 percent overall approval rating. Even more Americans approve of his handling of the pandemic, with 71 percent giving him high marks, including a remarkable 47 percent of Republicans. Some 54 percent of those surveyed say the country is on the right track, higher than at any point in AP-NORC polls conducted since former President Donald Trump's first months in office. And 57 percent approve of Bide...

CNN Poll: GOP Efforts To Discredit Biden Are Failing

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republicans have been adamant that President Joe Biden's popularity will fall as they vilify his policy proposals, including the coronavirus relief package Congress passed in March and the infrastructure bill congressional Democrats are currently trying to pass.

Yet a new CNN poll released Wednesday found that their strategy has not worked, as Biden — and his policies — remain popular nearly 100 days into his tenure, despite the GOP's best efforts.

According to the CNN poll, 53 percent of Americans approve of the job Biden has done in his first 100 days in office. That approval rating tracks with Biden's approval rating average from FiveThirtyEight, which has hovered around 53 percent since he was sworn in on January 20 — a level he has maintained despite GOP criticism.

Other polls show that despite Republicans' attacks on his policies, both the coronavirus relief package and the infrastructure bill are even more popular than Biden is.

A CBS News/YouGov poll taken between April 21 to April 24 found 58 percent of adults in the United States approve of Biden's infrastructure plan, even though Republicans have been attacking it by saying it is not about infrastructure.

And that same poll found that 66 percent of adults believe the coronavirus relief package — which extended unemployment payments, authorized another round of direct checks, and made a child tax credit more generous to help alleviate childhood poverty — has been "helpful to the economy."

In all, that's a bad sign for Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who told Politico that Biden's "policies are going to be our road to comeback."

Polls show the GOP's strategy of attacking Biden's infrastructure plan because it includes things they argue aren't infrastructure while simultaneously attempting to vilify it because it raises taxes on corporations and the rich is also rife with peril.

A Morning Consult poll from April found that voters believe things like care for the elderly, internet access, and water pipes are infrastructure, despite GOP claims that they aren't.

And voters support raising taxes on those groups. A Monmouth University pollfrom Monday found that 64 percent of Americans support raising taxes on corporations, while 65 percent support raising taxes on those earning more than $400,000 annually.

The fact that Republicans can't seem to make a dent in Biden's popularity appears to be pushing them toward a strategy of running against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 2022 midterms.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee that seeks to elect Republicans to the House, released a memo this week saying Pelosi is unpopular and that tying her to Democratic candidates could help in the quest to win back the House.

But it's unclear that will be the political winner that Republicans think it is.

Stu Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political handicapper, told the American Independent Foundation that, at this stage, he doubts running against Pelosi would be what changed GOP fortunes in the midterms.

"They've got Nancy Pelosi on the brain here, but the reality is that 2022 midterms is likely to be about Joe Biden," Rothenberg said, referring to Republicans. "And, I'd have to see some numbers that would really blow my mind to think that running against Nancy Pelosi would be more effective than running against Joe Biden."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.