Bounce? What bounce? A new Wall Street Journal poll shows that voters remain unmoved by Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech, and by Democratic leadership in general. Biden remains 15 points underwater on overall job approval, but Democrats have lost ground on major issues — in fact, nearly all of them:

President Biden and his fellow Democrats have lost ground to Republicans on several of the issues most important to voters, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds, a troubling sign for the party seeking to extend its controlling majority of Congress for another two years.

The new survey showed that 57% of voters remained unhappy with Mr. Biden’s job performance, despite favorable marks for the president’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a recent State of the Union speech, which provided him an opportunity to directly speak to millions of Americans. Just 42% said they approved of Mr. Biden’s performance in office, which was virtually unchanged from the previous Journal poll in mid-November.

The top-line job approval number is bad enough. Biden’s ratings on other issues look even worse. Biden manages to get a barely positive rating on “tries to do the right thing” (50/48), and has a slightly better edge on handling Russia (50/44), although hardly the stuff of rally-round-the-leader sentiment — and does slightly worse on Ukraine (47/46).  About the only other non-negative result for Biden is on COVID-19 management, and that’s far off from Biden’s large support on this issue last year. Now it’s a dead-heat tie at 49/49.

Everything else tipped over into the negative:

  • Economy: 39/59
  • Inflation: 34/63
  • Strong leadership: 41/57
  • Securing the border: 33/57
  • Crime: 33/56

These aren’t even close. Biden can’t even get into the 40s on these issue questions, and only barely clears that bar on leadership qualities. It’s an utter disaster.

But it’s worse for Democrats, as Josh Kraushaar points out:

The biggest issue on this list is the defense of middle-class families. Democrats usually own that issue, helped in no small part by a sympathetic media environment. Biden and his fellow Democrats have pulled out all the stops on this issue by reverting back to “corporate greed” as their excuse for economic policy failures, at least when they’re not blaming Vladimir Putin. This poll shows that the public’s not buying it, especially when it comes to economic policy agendas (GOP +8) and rebuilding the economy (GOP +13).

And the news gets even worse for Democrats in the demos:

The survey also found Republicans making gains among minority groups. By 9 percentage points, Hispanic voters in the new poll said they would back a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democrat. The two parties had been tied among Hispanic voters in the Journal’s survey in November.

Democratic margins also eroded among Black voters, who favored a Democrat for Congress by 35 percentage points in the new survey, down from 56 points in November. Support for a Republican candidate rose to 27% among Black voters, up from 12% in November.

Remember when demography was destiny? Good times, good times. Not only have Hispanics shifted along the traditional lines for immigrant groups in the US, black voters may finally be making the same transition. That’s a big red flag, Philip Klein points out, in more ways than one:

I just wanted to take a moment to flag this part of the poll, which is remarkable and not something I can recall ever seeing before … It’s fair to say that if these numbers are anywhere close to the actual results, Democrats will be massacred in November.

Meanwhile, the DNC continues to hold their self-congratulatory retreat, a word that also fits in more than one context. They’re retreating from reality in assuming that they’re rebounding back into electoral strength. Let’s hope they don’t return to reality before voters have a chance to impose it upon them.

Note: Take a look at the two pollsters hired by the WSJ for this survey, too. They’re across the aisle from each other, with Impact Research a particularly notable participant. They’re the authors of a campaign memo that advised Democrats and Biden to declare victory over COVID and depart the field as a way of correcting their collapse. Biden didn’t take that advice. I wonder if he’s paying attention to the results.

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