President Joe Biden has lost the support of a majority of Americans for the first time in office, according to approval rating trackers.
The dip in Biden’s approval ratings may be a sign of things to come, as Biden stakes his political standing on a risky geopolitical gambit.
- Now: Biden has a 49.8% approval rating in the FiveThirtyEight average and 49.6% approval rating in the Real Clear Politics average.
- Then: Biden’s approval rating peaked in the FiveThirtyEight tracker at 55.1% in March and in the Real Clear Politics tracker at 55.7% in April.
- The pandemic factor: Afghanistan aside, Biden’s popularity has likely been hit by another development – the surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant.
Support for U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan dropped 20 percentage points — from 69% to 49% — from April to August as the Taliban takeover of the country accelerated, according to a Morning Consult/POLITICO poll.
- The dip has been driven by a slow erosion among independents that seems tied to the Delta surge and predates the problems in Afghanistan.
- It also may have been inevitable: FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley wrote on Monday: “We don’t know the range in which Biden’s approval will ultimately settle, but if the past two presidents are any indication, it’ll be a narrow one: DONALD TRUMP’s approval mostly hovered between 40 and 45 percent during his presidency, while BARACK OBAMA’s approval tended to fall between 45 and 50 percent.”
- But it has Biden’s supporters worried about 2022: “It’s too early to make any judgments about Biden’s odds for reelection in 2024, assuming he runs,” New York Magazine’s Ed Killgore wrote this week. “But it’s not too early to begin to speculate about the 2022 midterms. … It’s not a very good bet that Biden will get the kind of approval bump he would need to put him in the territory of past midterm winners.”