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Why is President Joe Biden's approval rating decreasing among Democrats?

Recent polling shows President Biden’s approval among Democrats is slipping but nothing compared to the hit Congress’s approval rating has taken.

Why is President Joe Biden's approval rating decreasing among Democrats?
BRIAN SNYDER REUTERS

A recent Monmouth University Poll showed that President Joe Biden’s approval dipped since its high in April as his spending proposals have stalled. Congress for its part has seen its approval rating cut nearly in half from a brief historical high as negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure deal drag out.

At the end of March President Biden presented his vision of the investment needed “to reimagine and rebuild a new economy” in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic and to undo decades of underinvestment in American infrastructure. President Biden met with Republican Senators led by Senator Shelley Capito of West Virginia in his determination to strike a bipartisan deal over the ensuing months until finally calling off negotiations after “the latest offer from [Sen. Capito’s] group did not, in his view, meet the essential needs of our country to restore our roads and bridges, prepare us for our clean energy future, and create jobs," according to a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Biden not meeting expectations for boosting the middle class

Support for President Biden’s spending proposals remains strong with 68 percent favorable opinion of his American Jobs Plan, his originally $2.2 trillion infrastructure investment plan. The American Families Plan, “an investment in our kids, our families, and our economic future” costing another $1.8 trillion receives 61 percent approval. Support for both proposals has changed little from other polls taken earlier in the year. Just under half, 46 percent, of those who participated in the survey would like to see the proposals passed as is even if the Republicans will not vote for them.

“The plans are broadly popular, but the path to getting there is not so clear-cut. This is one of those situations where the administration has to weigh short-term blowback in public opinion against what they hope will be long-term gains,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Among Democrats, 80 percent feel that the President and congressional Democrats should go it alone. Support for passing the spending measures along party lines drops among independents with just 36 percent supporting such a move and 18 percent among Republicans.

“Biden is not quite meeting the public’s expectations for helping the middle class”

When President Biden came into office nearly 70 percent expected his policies to benefit the middle class to some degree, 30 percent a lot, and 39 percent a little. However, in Monmouth’s recent poll those numbers have fallen to levels comparable with where they were for former President Trump two years ago. Only 19 percent of Americans say that President Biden’s policies have helped the middle class a lot, with another 32 percent saying they have benefited a little.

This has been reflected in his overall approval ratings from a previous Monmouth poll dropping to 48 percent from 54 percent in April. Among Democrats he still has extremely strong support with 86 percent giving him a positive rating but down from 95 pecent. Independents also gave him lower marks dropping 11 percentage points to 36 percent approval. Surprisingly, Republicans gave him higher marks in recent weeks hitting 19 percent approval up from 11 percent.

Congress back in the doldrums

During the initial months of Biden’s presidency as congressional Democrats moved quickly to pass the American Rescue Plan lawmakers enjoyed a relatively high approval rating, albeit paltry, hovering just over 30 percent. Now the public’s job rating of national lawmakers at 21 percent has returned to its level during the Trump presidency when it ranged between 16 and 25 percent. That is down from its historic high set in April of 35 percent, the question was first asked back in 2013, similar to high marks it received last year when Congress took action in the early days of the pandemic.

April also saw the public the most confident it has been in the direction of the country is going. The percentage of Americans who said the country is headed in the right direction hit an eight-year high at 46 percent compared to 50 percent saying the nation is on the wrong track. In the recent survey those numbers dropped to 37 percent and 57 percent respectively.