President Joe Biden’s approval rating has hit a new low of 43% and a majority disapprove of his performance, according to a new Gallup poll:
Eight months after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, his job approval rating has fallen six percentage points to 43%, the lowest of his presidency. For the first time, a majority, 53%, now disapproves of Biden’s performance.
These findings are from a Sept. 1-17 Gallup poll that was conducted after the U.S. military evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan. The United States’ exit from the nation’s longest war was marred by the Taliban’s quick takeover of most of the country and a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, which killed 13 U.S. service members. Over the same period, COVID-19 infection rates, nationally, were surging, leading to hospital overflows in some regions.
The latest drop in Biden’s job approval score is the second significant decline since June. Biden’s honeymoon ratings near 55% first faltered in July, falling to 50% amid rising COVID-19 cases caused largely by the delta variant. In Gallup’s Aug. 2-17 poll, Biden’s rating was essentially unchanged, at 49%.
Midway through the most recent poll’s field period, as U.S. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continued to rise, Biden announced new directives to limit the spread of the disease, including vaccine requirements for private-sector businesses, healthcare workers and federal government contractors.
Except for Donald Trump, every U.S. president since Harry Truman has enjoyed a honeymoon period characterized by above-average approval ratings upon taking office. Biden’s recent slides in approval put him in the company of Trump and Bill Clinton, whose ratings were at or below Biden’s current 43% at some point in the first eight months of their presidencies. However, by September 1993, Clinton’s approval ratings began to recover and averaged 50% that month. Thus, among elected presidents since World War II, only Trump has had a lower job approval rating than Biden does at a similar point in their presidencies.
A major causd for Biden’s sharp approval drop: he’s losing independent voters.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris’ 49% approval rate is higher than Biden’s.
For the first time, Gallup asked Americans to evaluate how Vice President Kamala Harris is doing in her role. Her ratings are better than Biden’s by six points, with 49% approving and 49% disapproving.
Because Gallup has not measured vice presidential job approval frequently across presidential administrations, it is not possible to compare Harris’ ratings with those of most other vice presidents. However, Gallup did measure Biden’s job approval rating as vice president in July 2009, about six months into his term in the Obama administration.
At that time, Biden had a 49% approval rating, identical to Harris’ now, but fewer (39%) disapproved of Biden and more (10%) did not have an opinion. Yet, in contrast to today’s pattern with Harris exceeding Biden in approval, in 2009, Biden’s rating lagged behind Obama’s 61% approval by 12 points.
Pundits and partisans often go into breathless mode when a new poll comes out favoring or not favoring their preferred politician. It’s often said that what really matters is a)how polls trend b)the average of polls.
In both areas Biden seems in trouble. His polling trending has generally been down and an average of polls shows a decline as well. Real Clear Politics’ average of polls has shows 46% approval and 51% disapproval, a drop of 4.1.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.