After a honeymoon of a few months, the president’s rating has fallen. While it is too early to end the disaster, the stakes are many.
After a typical improvement early in the mandate, gray clouds are gathering over Joe Biden.
These difficulties are explainable and the increase is not excluded, but it will depend on factors that the president does not fully control.
Among these factors are the economy, the epidemic and international tensions, but above all the cohesion of his party in Congress.
Things were going well for Biden in the spring.
COVID-19 appeared to be under control, the economy was recovering, and Congress approved a popular stimulus package.
More recently, the chaotic departure from Afghanistan, the devastation of a delta variable, and a slowing recovery in employment have had the effect of a cold shower.
Joe Biden’s approval rating ranged between 53% and 55% as of July (disapproval ranged between 37% and 43%) and has declined since early August.
According to survey averages, this rate is now around 45% (49% opposed).
It’s not much, but it’s still better than endorsing Donald Trump for most of his tenure.
With the polarization prevailing, Biden cannot expect a solid majority of support or opposition, but if he wants to keep Congress in 2022 and his job in 2024, he will have to do a better job.
The negative impact of Biden’s Afghan adventures should fade, as it is not a very promising issue for the majority of Americans.
The same cannot be said about COVID-19 and its economic impacts. Even if the continuing health crisis is largely due to Biden’s political opponents, who are slowing down vaccinations and refusing to implement appropriate health measures, it is the president who suffers from the negative consequences of these actions.
It must also be said that rifts among Democrats, which fuel an image of a dysfunctional government and lead to concessions that disappoint many gunmen, do not help maintain enthusiasm for the president.
The next month will be crucial for Biden, and his political future will depend in large part on his ability to convince all his allies in Congress – without exception – that their political survival depends on his life.
Biden needs unanimous Democratic support for his ambitious plan to rebuild infrastructure and for his more ambitious plan to reform social policies associated with a green transition.
And while the “moderate” Democrats are reluctant to endorse the $3.5 trillion plan, the party’s left wing is eager for it. They negotiate diligently, but since the Democrats know inaction will be fatal to them and since their differences are about the level of spending rather than the principles on which the project is based, common ground remains possible.
Without this success in Congress, President Joe Biden will find it difficult to get out of this mess.
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