President Joe Biden’s popularity has slumped after a slew of failures in recent weeks at home and abroad, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Even sympathetic media and polling outlets are now being forced to acknowledge that the leader who pledged to bring the country together and restore competence in government has taken the country backward on both accounts.
According to the poll, which is more generous than a recent one by Rasmussen Reports, 50% 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; an ongoing border crisis and the outrageous scapegoating of US Border Patrol officers; the unshakable threat of the coronavirus and divisive rhetoric over vaccinations; and the legislative drama of Biden trying unsuccessfully to negotiate his massive economic, infrastructure and tax policies through Congress.
Since July, Biden’s approval rating has dipped among Democrats (from 92% to 85%) and more substantially among independents who don’t lean toward either party (from 62% to 38%). Just 11% of Republicans approve of the president, which is similar to July.
Approval also dipped somewhat among both white Americans (49% to 42%) and black Americans (86% to 64%), with blacks in particular punishing him for his objectively racist approach to vaccine mandates.
Just 34% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction, down from about half who said that through the first months of Biden’s presidency.
Trump supporters such as Larry Schuth feel as though Biden is damaging the nation by seeking to enlarge government and mismanaging the southern border. The Hilton, New York, resident added that he would like to travel to Canada but can’t because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“If he had a plan to destroy this country and divide this country, I don’t know how you could carry it out any better,” said Schuth, 81. “We’re spending way too much money. We’re planning on spending even more. We don’t have a southern border.”
Despite inflation at levels higher than it has been in a generation, the poll shows that 47% of Americans still approve of how Biden is handling the economy, down from a high of 60% in March but similar to where it stood in August.
Biden’s pledge to bring back the economy following pandemic shutdowns has been tempered with the hard realities of employers struggling to find workers and higher-than-expected inflation as supply chain issues have made it harder to find automobiles, household appliances and other goods.
Roni Klass, a tutor in her 70s living in Miami, said she was glad to vote Trump out, but is beginning to have buyer’s remorse on Biden. She’s worried about inflation given her dependence on Social Security and wages that have yet to rise.
“When I go to the grocery store, the prices have really shot up,” she said. “My money coming in is not keeping up with the money that I have to spend going out, and I have to cut back as much as I can.”
Even though Biden has done little to mitigate the spread of the deadly coronavirus—and his own Homeland Security officials admit that one in five illegal immigrants crossing the open border may be infected, a majority of respondents (57%) still applauded Biden’s handling of the pandemic.
That number is similar to August but remains significantly below where it stood as recently as July, when 66% approved. Still, it remains Biden’s strongest issue in the poll. Close to 9 in 10 Democrats approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, compared with about 2 in 10 Republicans. In July, about 3 in 10 Republicans said they approved.
More also approve than disapprove of Biden’s decision to require that most U.S. workers be vaccinated or face regular testing, 51% to 34%, with 14% saying they neither approve nor disapprove. About 8 in 10 Democrats approve; roughly 6 in 10 of Republicans disapprove.
Biden struggles on several issues related to foreign policy. Forty-three percent say they approve of his handling of foreign policy overall, and only 34% approve of his handling of the situation in Afghanistan. Even among Democrats, only 54% say they approve of Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. Just 10% of Republicans say the same.
At the same time, Americans are slightly more likely to approve than disapprove of the decision to remove the last remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan at the end of August, with 45% saying they approve of that decision and 39% saying they disapprove. About two-thirds of Democrats approve of the decision to withdraw troops, compared with about a quarter of Republicans. Roughly two-thirds of Republicans disapprove.
Forty-six percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of national security, while 52% disapprove.
The poll was conducted just after tensions emerged with France over a submarine deal with Australia, but it finds 50% approve of how Biden is handling relationships with allies—similar to his approval rating overall.
Just 35% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of immigration, down from 43% in April, when it was already one of Biden’s worst issues. Immigration is a relative low point for Biden within his own party with 60% of Democrats saying they approve, along with 6% of Republicans.
“There isn’t enough money to take care of our own, why do we have to take care of some other country?” said Anthony Beard, 48, a chef from Lansing, Michigan.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,099 adults was conducted Sept. 23-27 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.