Things are looking bleak for Joe Biden.
Although he will be remembered fondly by Democrats for his ability to win back rural, white, blue-collar and suburban votes to prevent Donald Trump winning the 2020 election, his record in office and his personal performance is a long way from stellar.
As he reaches the midway point of his term in office, and looks forward to the landscape shifting mid-term elections, the polls point to him being a drag on Democrat ambitions to hold on to control of Congress rather than adding the ‘boost’ an incumbent President can offer through smart policy and political announcements and updates.
The latest polls suggest he is underperforming, and badly, on the two main indicators which track political success for Presidents – Direction of Travel for the Nation and the Economy, and Is the President doing a Good Job?
Biden is way underwater on both.
On the direction the nation is heading Biden has seen the poll numbers slump to only 27% believing it is going the right way, from 51% only a year ago. And the President’s personal popularity is now down to 43% and, tellingly, it is lower with Black, Women and Hispanic voters – core to Democrat hopes in future elections.
Pollster Mark Zogby analyzed these numbers and said:
“While the official unemployment rate is low, currently 3.4%, the true state of the economy is in tatters. Millions of Americans have left the workforce, and there are five million more job openings than unemployed people in the U.S. Inflation has increased prices at the gas pump to record numbers and food prices are skyrocketing daily. More Americans are living paycheck to paycheck,”
Which goes to show that “It’s the economy, stupid” still rings true.
A gallon of gas in the US is now 5 bucks and while that is less than Brits are paying, for a nation for whom the car is an essential if uneconomical necessity, it bites.
And Biden and his close circle of advisors appear unable to take action or demonstrate they even recognise the challenge so many American households are struggling with.
The political instinct of the left is to busy themselves around the issues they are politically conscious about. The President and his advisors have been quick and visible to be calling on Congress to “do something, anything” on the matter of gun control in the wake of recent atrocities.
And the left has been outraged by the leaks of Supreme Court documents concerning the likely future of abortion rights if the landmark ruling in Roe v Wade is overturned.
Gun control and abortion, along with cancelling student debt and immigration reform, are central to left-leaning campaigners and activists but when putting food on the table and fuel in the car is a struggle for working families, it is no surprise they aren’t showing up as the hot topics which will decide an election.
Biden seems almost blind to the challenge and has failed to even demonstrate empathy for the millions struggling, let alone propose solutions.
In contrast, his opponents have been quick to point that he has presided over the highest inflation rate since the early 80’s, seen the stock market tumble and pension pots lose value, and failed to give Americans that all important ‘feel good factor’.
While Biden is struggling to get Latin American leaders to attend his meetings, stumbling on and off planes, and giving his first interview in nearly 4 months on the wise-cracking Jimmy Kimmel Live show, the perception that he is struggling to grasp the challenges ahead continue to grow.
Contrast Biden’s woes with the recent acts of the troubled UK Prime Minister. Despite having 40% of his own party express a lack of confidence in his leadership, he retains the support of many leading news media outlets and launched his fight back this week with a campaign to address if not solve the cost-of-living crisis with the smartly named “On Your Side” campaign.
Biden should take a leaf out of Boris’ playbook. While he detests Boris for his racially insensitive comments about Joe’s ex-boss Barack Obama, he needs to quickly connect with the concerns of those ‘hard working Americans’ who are core to his and the Democrats success in coming elections.
There is no 1922 Committee for the Democrats, but high dollar donors, unions, and business leaders will be wondering if Joe is the right man to be spearheading the Democrat campaign through November’s mid terms and then onto the next Presidential battle in 2024.
If not Joe, then who?