by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s the rare poll that makes an entire party sit up and take notice. The new Iowa poll is one of those polls.
Just 31% of Iowans approved of how Joe Biden is handling his duties as president while a whopping 62% disapprove. Biden’s disapproval number is below the lowest ever measured by ace pollster J. Ann Selzer for former presidents Donald Trump (35%) and Barack Obama (36%).
“This is a bad poll for Joe Biden, and it’s playing out in everything that he touches right now,” Selzer told the Des Moines Register.
Biden’s approval on pulling American troops out of Afghanistan stands at a meager 22%. Approval for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is now just 36% among Iowans.
This poll is rightly understood as a blaring red alarm for not just Biden but especially down-ballot Democrats — in Iowa and elsewhere — who will be running in the 2022 midterms.
While Iowa is not the pure swing state that it was in, say, 2000, it remains a place where Democrats can and do win — both in statewide elections and in congressional districts. Democrats, as recently as 2020, controlled three of the state’s four House seats although Republicans won both the first and second districts back last November. And both are considered Democratic re-takeover targets in 2022 — depending, of course, on what the congressional map winds up looking like.
If Biden’s numbers are anywhere close to this bad in other swing states — and districts — Democrats’ hopes of holding onto their very narrow three-seat House majority are somewhere close to nonexistent.
While first-term, midterm elections are, historically, very difficult for the president’s party in the House, that trend is made far, far worse if the president’s approval rating is below 50%.