Remember when media outlets reported on Joe Biden’s post-State of the Union “bounce” and his recharged job approval? Good times, good times. A look at the week-ending graph at RealClearPolitics shows that NPR/PBS poll and a lot of reporting turned out to be wishful thinking, if not cooked up entirely:
So let’s take a look at some of the polling that contributed to this aggregate flop. We can probably dispense with Rasmussen, not because it’s inaccurate — it’s closer than the NPR/PBS poll was to the aggregate, and it’s less than four points off the aggregate — but just because it’s not necessary. Every poll that has published over the last week-plus has Biden under water by double digits. That includes the latest tracking poll by Reuters/Ipsos (43/53), which initially showed a bounce for Biden after the SOTU speech (45/49).
Besides Reuters and Rasmussen, take a look at the polling of the past week:
- Monmouth: 39/55 (-16)
- Quinnipiac: 40/53 (-13)
- Economist/YouGov: 41/53 (-12)
- Politico/Morning Consult: 41/56 (-15)
- Trafalgar: 42/52 (-10)
Trafalgar is, of course, a Republican polling firm … and they give Biden his best marks this week.
Monmouth’s poll is particularly instructive, relating as it does to Biden’s SOTU:
President Biden currently holds a job performance rating of 39% approve and 54% disapprove, which is unchanged from January. This comes at the same time he receives a split decision on his handling of the Ukraine crisis. Trump had an identical 39% to 54% job rating at the same point in his term (March 2018) – which was down slightly from 42% to 50% in January 2018, shortly after passage of his signature tax reform plan.
Overall, 26% say that Biden’s first year agenda has focused a lot on issues important to average Americans, 38% say it has focused a little on these issues, and 35% say it has not focused at all on the concerns of average Americans. Trump did somewhat better on this metric (37% a lot, 34% a little, and 26% not at all in January 2018).
Just 38% of Americans feel optimistic about the policies Biden will pursue over the next few years, which is down significantly from 61% who felt optimistic as he took office last year. By comparison, 50% were optimistic about Trump’s policy agenda both when he first took office and a year into his term. Four in ten Americans (41%) feel very pessimistic right now about the policies Biden will pursue, which is more negative than it was a year ago (26%) as well as the same metric for Trump one year into his term (31%).
A look at the crosstabs makes Biden’s flop even more apparent:
- Independents: 36/52
- Women: 46/48
- 18-34YOs: 35/52
- 35-54: 33/62
- Childen in home: 31/61
- People of color: 45/48
Biden’s job approval is underwater in every age demo and every income demo. The income demos aren’t even close; among under-$50K households, his best result, Biden only gets to 42/50.
Remarkably, this comes at a time when Biden faces a foreign policy crisis and has largely backed popular actions in regard to it. Other polling shows that the American public is lined up almost entirely behind sanctions against Russia, for instance. Yet Biden isn’t getting any credit for it, likely because the American public lost confidence in Biden months ago after Afghanistan. This is not a president who can “bounce” back into favor on the basis of a tired retread of his campaign speeches. Either Biden needs to dramatically change direction or get left in his dead-cat bounce.