Put another data point in the trends toward a confidence-crisis cascade for the beleaguered and bemused Joe Biden. And for that matter, chalk Gallup up among pollsters who appear to miss the real inflection point for it. Earlier today, the nation’s most venerable pollster reported Biden’s worst job approval rating thus far — putting him ten points under water, a flip of eleven points in the gap from one month earlier:
Eight months after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, his job approval rating has fallen six percentage points to 43%, the lowest of his presidency. For the first time, a majority, 53%, now disapproves of Biden’s performance.
These findings are from a Sept. 1-17 Gallup poll that was conducted after the U.S. military evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan. The United States’ exit from the nation’s longest war was marred by the Taliban’s quick takeover of most of the country and a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul, which killed 13 U.S. service members. Over the same period, COVID-19 infection rates, nationally, were surging, leading to hospital overflows in some regions.
The latest drop in Biden’s job approval score is the second significant decline since June. Biden’s honeymoon ratings near 55% first faltered in July, falling to 50% amid rising COVID-19 cases caused largely by the delta variant. In Gallup’s Aug. 2-17 poll, Biden’s rating was essentially unchanged, at 49%.
Oddly — or perhaps not — Gallup doesn’t mention Biden’s one truly notable “achievement” over the past month. Nowhere in this poll does Gallup mention the abandonment of thousands of American citizens and legal permanent residents to the Taliban. Their lack of urgency in dealing with those Americans — and the Taliban’s ongoing search for them — likely had a significant impact on Biden’s standing. It would explain the eleven-point dive in net approval, for instance, especially since Gallup later notes that respondents “generally approve” of the withdrawal policy itself.
Just as with my earlier post on overall polling, the COVID-19 issues don’t correlate with the big flip from last month in the Gallup series. Unlike some of the other polling, the Gallup series did show some notable narrowing of Biden’s net-positive job approval quotient, but he was still up by one (49/48) with responses getting collected as late as August 17. That was at the same time as the collapse in Kabul, and just before Biden promised that we wouldn’t leave until we got all of the Americans out. A week later, he sarcastically told off a reporter who asked Biden to reconfirm it. A month later, Biden won’t even acknowledge the thousands of American citizens and LPRs he left behind. Gallup didn’t ask about that, apparently, but it’s a good bet that it has something to do with that 11-point flip in the gap over the last five weeks.
Earlier, I also warned of a confidence-crisis cascade with Biden’s disgraceful performance on Afghanistan as its inflection point. Here’s more data on that from within Gallup:
Independents have shown the greatest variation in their opinions of how Biden is doing. Biden’s current 37% approval rating among independents is his lowest to date and 24 points below his personal high of 61%. Two-thirds of Biden’s slide among independents since he took office has occurred in the past three months.
Note also that Biden’s at his lowest point with both Republicans (6%) and Democrats (90%), too. The movement among both is within the margin of error, but the combination of all that drag is pulling Biden underwater and not leaving much room for a rebound. If that confidence crisis spreads to moderate Democrats, Biden won’t even be able to hold his overall floor at 40% — and the pending failures in his domestic agenda will almost certainly erode Biden’s standing among voters in his own party.
A more adept politician might find a way to regain that voter confidence and trust. Biden’s incompetence, and his innate blindness to any defect, will prevent that from happening. Democrats, especially within the administration, might have to ask themselves if they really want to go down with this ship.