38 Percent


President Joe Biden looks on as he delivers remarks on the U.S. debt ceiling from the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. October 4, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

I used to say, you know, like a week ago, that if Biden cratered, he’d be in the high 30s in approval. I think I need to update my view of what would constitute true cratering, because he’s already at 38 percent in the new USA Today poll:

Biden’s job approval rating is dismal, too, at 38% approve, 59% disapprove. He has the lowest rating of any modern president at this point in his term except Trump. Studies have concluded that a president’s job approval rating is one of the most powerful factors affecting midterm elections.

The generic ballot, which usually doesn’t fully capture the Republican advantage when the GOP is ahead, is also flashing red for Democrats:

If the election were today, those surveyed say, they would vote for their Republican congressional candidate over the Democratic one by 46%-38%, an advantage that would bode well for GOP hopes of gaining a majority in the House and the Senate.

Other worrisome findings for Biden:

— Nearly half of those surveyed, 46%, say Biden has done a worse job as president than they expected, including 16% of those who voted for him. Independents, by 7–1 (44%-6%), say he’s done worse, not better, than they expected.

— Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 64%, say they don’t want Biden to run for a second term in 2024. That includes 28% of Democrats. Opposition to Trump running for another term in 2024 is nearly as high, at 58%. That includes 24% of Republicans.

— Vice President Kamala Harris’s approval rating is 28% — even worse than Biden’s. The poll shows that 51% disapprove of the job she’s doing. One in five, 21%, are undecided.

The good news for Democrats is that there’s two-to-one support for the infrastructure bill, so its passage could take some of the edge off this discontent, although I’m not sure how much people really care about it one way or the other.

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