by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s dropping poll numbers are worse than they seem. A deep dive into the data shows two overlooked problems that most news stories haven’t caught: an intensity problem and a national mood problem.
An intensity problem happens when a politician’s “hard” negative ratings rise much higher than his or her “hard” positive ratings. Voters who hold strongly negative views are less likely to shift to the positive side than are voters who hold only somewhat negative views — and that spells trouble in the next election.
Put another way, Biden’s supporters tend to be only so-so in their esteem, while opponents are more passionate in their enmity.
In the recent Quinnipiac University poll , for example, Biden’s overall job approval rating is 40%, with 53% disapproving. That’s not good. But when you look at internal numbers that didn’t make it into the headlines, it gets worse: The number of voters who strongly disapprove of the job the president is doing is more than twice that of those who strongly approve, 45% to 20%.
The same is true for Biden’s personal popularity. Among voters, he’s 46% favorable and 51% unfavorable in an Economist poll . However, the very unfavorable is bigger than the very favorable, 40% to 26%.
Biden also has an intensity problem when it comes to his handling of important issues. Economist polling found that almost twice as many voters strongly disapprove of Biden’s handling of jobs and the economy than those who strongly approve, 39% to 20%. In addition, 35% strongly disapprove of Biden’s performance on healthcare, while only 17% strongly approve, and 35% strongly disapprove of his handling of the abortion issues, while only 15% strongly approve. On crime, 38% strongly disapprove and 12% strongly approve.