Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Approval rating: How low will Biden go?

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That’s the lowest number for Biden in the Q poll so far in his presidency — and part of a broader several-months-long sag for the President.

There’s no real debate that Biden is in a bad place with the American public.  The question that Democrats have to be asking themselves is whether it will get worse and, if so, how much worse.

The answer, judging from recent history, is that Biden would seem to be nearing his lowest possible ebb.

The worst job approval rating Donald Trump ever scored in Gallup data was 37% in January 2019. Barack Obama’s low point was 40% in August 2011. (He also hit that number several times in early 2014.)

Those numbers suggest that, almost no matter what happens, Biden’s approval rating is unlikely to dip all that much below where it currently is.

The nightmare scenario for Biden (and his party) is the presidency of George W. Bush, who saw his approval rating go as low as 25% in the midst of the global financial crisis in October 2008. But that was also a drastically different time — Bush was three months away from the end of his second term (with two midterm elections already under his belt), while Biden is less than a year away from his first midterms. 

Barring that sort of massive global collapse, however, it seems unlikely Biden’s approval could come close to where Bush found himself.

The problem for Biden and his party is that even if he is now nearing his polling nadir, it needs him to begin to bounce back — and quickly.

Historically, seat losses for a president’s party in a midterm election when the president’s approval rating is less than 50% are in the upper 30s — a shift that would give Republicans not just the House majority but also a comfortable margin from which to govern.

The Point: Yes, the 2022 election is less than a year away. But presidential approval ratings don’t usually change drastically over a short period of time. Democrats need Biden to bottom out and begin the climb back — and soon.

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