by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s hopes of bolstering his job approval numbers by passing his spending packages soon may be diminished as Democrats disagree on what should be in their sweeping partisan social welfare and climate proposal — as well as how to pay for it.
But even if Democrats coalesce behind a social welfare and climate measure after months of stalled negotiations and missed deadlines, some strategists, pollsters, and presidential historians are skeptical it will permanently boost Biden’s popularity.
Biden’s average job approval is hovering around 42% this week, his presidency’s nadir so far, according to RealClearPolitics . His average disapproval is 52%, according to the same source.
For pollster Charles Franklin, legislative success can elevate presidential job approval ratings, but “it can’t work miracles.”
Franklin referenced former President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump’s approval fell to 37% when he failed, a first-year low, according to the director of battleground state Wisconsin’s Marquette Law School Poll. The former president’s numbers then rose to 42% in December 2017 after Congress cleared his tax reforms.
“Having a ‘success’ is helpful, and a 5-point recovery is significant, but it is unlikely to return approval to Biden’s June and July levels [of] about 52%,” Franklin said. “[It] could get him to the high 40s rather than the low 40s.”
For Republican pollster Whit Ayres, the social welfare and climate package alone would also not restore Biden’s approval because the drop was caused by multiple factors.
Ayres, the president of North Star Opinion Research, listed the COVID-19 pandemic, a sluggish post-lockdown economy, the “unresolved” illegal migrant situation at the southern border, and the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “fiasco” as other explanations for Biden’s polling dip.
“The ultimate problem is that he presented himself as someone who is competent at the job and knows how the system works, and the system doesn’t seem to be working,” he said.