There has been a lot of publicity around Joe Biden’s poor approval ratings, but I think his actual standing with the electorate is worse than they indicate. Take, for example, the Rasmussen survey, which I think is valuable because 1) unlike other polls, it samples likely voters, and 2) it polls constantly, publishing a three-day rolling average. Thus, whether the numbers are “right” or not, they are a good indicator of trends.
In Joe Biden’s case, the trend has been obvious: his approval rating quickly dropped to around 42%, and there it sits. But I don’t believe that 40+% of voters, surveying the wreckage of the last year, actually think that Biden is doing a good job. Some of them are lying to the pollster, out of party loyalty. We saw the same thing during the Obama administration. It is more revealing to see how voters assess a president’s performance on specific issues.
Today, Rasmussen headlined: Rating President Biden on the Issues: Most Voters Give Biden ‘Poor’ Rating on Crime, Immigration.
President Joe Biden is doing a poor job on both immigration and crime, according to a majority of voters.
A new national telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports finds that only 31% of Likely U.S. voters rate Biden excellent or good for his handling of crime and law enforcement issues. That’s down from 34% in July. Fifty-one percent (51%) give Biden a poor rating for his handling of crime, up from 48% in July.
Voters rate Biden even worse on immigration, with just 27% rating him excellent or good for his handling of immigration-related issues, while 54% give him a poor rating. That continues the president’s declining approval from September, when 52% of voters rated him poor on immigration.
Crime and immigration are huge issues, and Biden is viewed as “poor” by a majority of voters on both. While Rasmussen didn’t ask the question this time, I don’t think his rating on the economy would be much better. (The saving grace for Democrats on this question is that for quite a few people, “the economy” means getting checks from the government.)
These numbers support my hypothesis:
On both crime and immigration, even Democratic voters now rate Biden less favorably than they did before. On crime and law enforcement issues, for example, 57% of Democrats rate Biden excellent or good, down from 62% in July, while on immigration, the share of Democrats rating the president handling as excellent or good declined to 50% from 52% in September.
The point is that, to see how a president is doing with voters, it is important to look beyond the overall favorability numbers, which are driven in part by party loyalty. Pollsters tend to get more honest answers when they focus on a specific issue area. And in the case of Joe Biden–no surprise here–when you ask voters about particular, important issues, most say he is doing an awful job. As he is.