An unchecked border crisis. Out-of-control spending and debt. Unwillingness to lead the way on a bipartisan deal to build and maintain roads, bridges, and broadband access. And now, inflation that’s making Americans pay more for the necessities of life – and at the worst possible time.

Over several weeks, I’ve talked with family and friends about the past year and what’s ahead. My family lost two people we loved to COVID-19. 2020 is a year that marked our lives in a way we never could have predicted. It will be remembered for our deep loss and the pre-vaccine reality that COVID-19 was deadly to the vulnerable and elderly.

While our sorrow has been palpable, the people in my circle have also experienced difficult economic times. Most don’t remember such a dreary 18 months in their lifetime. Only the older folks say they’ve seen this kind of economic strife before. They recall the gas lines and sky-high interest rates of the 70s, and they’ve passed on to their kids the stories their parents told about life during the Depression.

Policy choices have consequences. Government intervention has consequences. The American people see what’s happening and feel the pain today. For many, it’s the first time. Some in my circle voted for Joe Biden, thinking he would calm the political and economic waters. They now see that Mr. Biden has failed to deliver on their hopes and the leap of faith they took by casting their ballots for him. They’re not liking the consequences of their choice. From Gallup’s new presidential poll:

President Joe Biden’s latest job approval rating of 50% is down from 56% in June. Before this month, his ratings had not shown meaningful variation during his time in office, and the current figure marks the lowest measured for him to date.

If you’re the president, you’re likely most concerned about where support is declining. It’s not among Republicans, most of whom have already rejected the Biden view of the world and policy choices. The loss is among the president’s own party and those who leaned his way in 2020 (emphasis is mine):

Currently, 90% of Democrats, 12% of Republicans and 48% of independents approve of the job Biden is doing. His ratings among Democrats and independents are the lowest to date among those groups. The new poll marks the first time he has less-than majority approval among independents.

Those in my circle who voted for Biden are the independents noted above. They’re watching closely, and they’re not liking what they see.