White House

Biden Job Approval Falls to Record Low amid COVID Resurgence

President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Washington, D.C., August 22, 2021. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

After a politically tumultuous summer, marked by a COVID rebound, partisan gridlock over domestic legislative packages, a spiraling immigration crisis, and now a botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden’s job-approval rating has slumped below 50 percent among adults for the first time in his presidency.

Forty-nine percent of adults approve of Biden’s overall job performance, while 48 percent disapprove, according to a new NBC News poll. This represents a decrease from an  April NBC News poll, in which 53 percent of adults approved of Biden’s job and 39 percent disapproved. Rural and white voters account for much of the drop-off, NBC reports.

The survey also found that American support for Biden’s management of the pandemic and economy has dwindled since last spring. And the vast majority of those polled, 60 percent, are disappointed with the president’s conduct of the Afghanistan exit.

Specifically focused on the virus issue, 53 percent of Americans approve of the president’s job, marking a 16-point drop from April. Meanwhile, 47 percent approve his handling of the economy, which is now experiencing ballooning inflation, marking a 5-point drop from the spring.

Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who created the poll alongside Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, said all the compounding turbulent events have resulted in a  “summer of discontent” for Biden.

“The promise of April has led to the peril of August,” Horwitt told NBC, claiming that Biden’s performance suffered more because of the delayed COVID recovery and less because of the chaos erupting in Afghanistan. “It is the domestic storm, Covid’s delta wave, that is causing more difficulties at this stage here at home and for President Biden.”

McInturff also believes the survey’s numbers mostly account for dissatisfaction with Biden’s handling of the pandemic.

“The best way to understand this poll is to forget Afghanistan,” he said.

The pollsters advise disregarding the Afghanistan effect because the survey was conducted August 14 to 17, prior to the Taliban’s takeover and the Afghan government’s collapse and therefore before Americans could internalize the episode as a foreign policy failure.

As for more general metrics, the poll indicated that most Americans, 54 percent, are concerned about the nation’s trajectory. Only 29 percent of Americans believe the country is on the right path, the poll confirmed.

The one statistic that remained relatively constant was Democratic approval, which still stands by Biden at 88 percent, a small backslide from 90 percent in April.

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