Biden’s Support From Democrats Wanes Over Doubtful Delivery Of Election Promises
U.S. President Joe Biden has seen a decline in support since April, mostly from Democrats, as his administration wrestles with Congress to deliver on election promises and more Americans worry about an uneven economic recovery.
A national opinion poll from June 11-17 shows that Biden is still more popular than his Republican predecessor Donald Trump ever: 55% of adults approve of Biden’s performance in office and 65% like his response to the coronavirus pandemic. At that point, four years ago, about 36% of adults agreed to Trump’s job performance.
However, a growing number of Americans disapprove of Biden’s leadership in the areas of business, gun violence, and taxation, with the biggest drop occurring within Biden’s Democratic Party especially those under the age of 40, non-white Democrats, or those who have no college degree.
The economy has replaced health and illness as the main problem, with almost a quarter of adults surveyed citing this as the main problem. A majority of Americans are concerned about rising costs of living, and the public is almost evenly divided over how much the government should do to improve things, according to the survey.
Forty-eight percent of respondents said they approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, up 4 points from a similar poll in April. The number of Americans who disapproved of Biden’s economic record rose 4 points to 43%.
Democratic pollster Ryan Pougiales said many people still feel like they’re a long way from normal.
“There’s a great impatience” with the economy, said Pougiales. “Everyone has been locked in their homes. Many have lost their jobs or loved ones.”
Only 35% of the country think the US economy is going in the right direction and 44% say they are “very concerned” that prices will continue to rise, according to the Reuters / Ipsos poll.
Among Democrats, 78% said they endorse Biden’s economic agenda, 7 points less than in April, while the number of Democrats who opposed his economic plan rose 6 points to 15%. These include an 11 point drop in approval for Democrats under 40 and an 8 point drop in approval for minority Democrats and Democrats without a college degree.
Despite expected economic growth of 7% this year, government statistics show that post-pandemic job recovery has lagged the worst among racial and ethnic minorities and those without higher education.
For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in the black community was 9.1% in May, compared with 5.1% for whites. Unemployment for college graduates was 3.2% in May, less than half the unemployment rate of 6.8% for those with only a high school diploma.
The challenge for Biden will be to find workable solutions while keeping his party together, including many Democrats who initially favoured more liberal candidates like US Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as racial minorities and people with lower higher education.
“He’s in a sensitive position economically,” says Donald Green, a political scientist at Columbia University. “His coalition ranges from people in high-tech sectors to suburban swing voters to more traditional Democrats. They all want different things from the economy.”
Meanwhile, the number of Americans approving of Biden’s stance on gun violence fell by a total of 8 points between April and June, and by 11 points among the Democrats.
The dwindling support for Biden coincides with the Democrats struggling to get large chunks of his agenda through Congress. They failed to find enough support for state voting legislation this month, and the future of a $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure plan is still in flux after months of negotiations with Republicans.
Biden also faces growing impatience from gun security activists who want the president to deliver on a series of election promises to contain an “epidemic” of gun violence. He pledged this month to track down illegal arms dealers and increase federal funding and support for local law enforcement as murder rates skyrocketed in major cities.
Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said many Americans remain fixated on coronavirus, an area where Biden remains strong. As the pandemic subsides, the economy will continue to recover, and that would be a win for Biden, Kamarck said.
“Right now the dynamic is: you handle the virus and you handle the economy,” she said.