AMAC Exclusive – By Claire Brighn
It’s no secret by now that President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are historically bad. But Biden isn’t the one who should be most immediately concerned with that fact. With the presidential election still more than two years away, voters are likely to turn their ire toward Congressional Democrats – and if history is any guide, there’s not much Biden or Democrats can do about it at this point.
According to a poll released this week from Trafalgar, one of the most accurate polling groups from 2016, 2020, and 2021, on a generic 2022 Congressional ballot, Americans would vote for a Republican as opposed to a Democrat by a margin of 54.4% to 41.9%. Translation? Things are already looking very grim for Democrats, and that’s probably not going to change.
To make matters worse, Nancy Pelosi announced recently that she will indeed be running for re-election. A Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted January 11 – 12 shows that 59% of American voters have an unfavorable opinion of her – a nearly 10 point jump in her unfavorables from April 2021, just around the time she and House Democrats were warming up the jets to try and ram through their radical progressive agenda.
Over in the Senate, Republicans need just one seat to flip control of the chamber in their favor. Already, Democrat Senators from swing states who hitched their wagons to Biden’s radical agenda are underwater with their voters. Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire – who won by a mere 1,017 votes in 2016 – has an approval rating of 45 percent among New Hampshire voters, according to a Saint Anselm College poll (January 11-12). Democrat Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, who beat Republican Martha McSally in 2020, also has a serious problem on his hands, with a Data for Progress poll (January 21-24) putting him at just a 46 percent favorable rating. It goes without saying that both of those embattled incumbents will need more than 45-46% of the vote to win this November.
Hypothetical Senate 2022 matchups add yet another layer to the troubling outlook for Democrats. A Cygnal poll (January 12-13) shows incumbent Democrat Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado losing out to a generic Republican 44.8% to 45.9%, with education being a main flash point for Colorado voters. In Georgia, a Quinnipiac poll (Jan. 19-24) also has first-time candidate Herschel Walker narrowly leading incumbent Raphael Warnock. But while 30% of respondents say they haven’t heard enough about Walker to weigh in on him, only 13% say the same for Warnock – in other words, while Walker likely still has more potential support out there to win with increased name recognition and messaging efforts, Warnock has already proven who he is to most voters, and they don’t like what they see.
So that means Senate seats in Colorado, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona that Democrats were feeling comfortable about not too long ago now seem to have endangered incumbents.
Across the board, however, one thing is certain: with many incumbent Democrat Senators sitting below the 50 percent approval mark, they are on the chopping block. In 2010 and 2014, for context, even some Senate Democrats who had comfortable leads at this point later lost their elections.
While radical policies in Congress certainly have plenty to do with Congressional Democrats’ polling woes, much of the blame also lies with Joe Biden’s own historic unpopularity. According to Gallup, among every president, from Nixon to Trump, presidential approval ratings actually dropped on average 9.3 points between January and October before the first midterm election. That 9.3-point drop in approval translated to an average loss of 26 House seats for the president’s party.
According to a recent CNN poll (Jan. 10 – Feb. 6), only 41% of Americans approve of Biden’s job performance, a 12 point drop from April of last year. An astounding 56% said Biden has done “nothing” for them since he came into office. After Biden ran on a central campaign promise of shutting down the virus and not the economy, 75% say that they are now “burned out” by COVID, and 62% do not approve of Biden’s handling of the economy.
Another CNN poll (Jan. 12-Feb. 6) showed Biden is so disliked that an incredible 51% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents want a different candidate for their party in the 2024 election. For comparison, only 20% said this of Obama in 2010.
Biden’s dismal polls are already notable in modern Presidential history. According to an aggregate of polls, Biden’s approval rating on day 388 is nearly 10 points lower than Jimmy Carter’s at the same time during his Presidency. RealClearPolitics showed on February 9 that Biden’s approval fell below 40% to 39.8% for the first time. For context, when Biden first came into office, his approval stood near 55%.
Further exacerbating Democrats’ problems is the fact that they do not have an even somewhat popular leader to turn to in an attempt to save face with the American people. Kamala Harris, for example, has an approval rating even worse than Biden, sitting at a meager 37.3% on RealClearPolitics. Most polls show Chuck Schumer’s favorability rating sitting around just 30%, while around 45% have an unfavorable view of the Senate majority leader. Aside from Harris and Schumer, Democrats’ other high-profile leaders are extremely polarizing figures like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – hardly the moderate voices Democrats need at the moment.
This leads to an especially dangerous territory for Democrats. Independents—proxies for the pulse of the electorate—are soundly rejecting Biden and the Democrat agenda. Interactive Polls dug into comparisons, revealing just how far left from center the Democratic Party has gone: In 2020, a NYTimes exit poll showed that 54% of independents voted for Biden. Fast forward, and on February 4 Biden’s approval among independents had shot down to just 24%.
In short, things are very bad for Democrats, and there is reason to believe they might get worse. However, as the last few election cycles have shown, nothing is certain. As Robert Cahaly of Trafalgar warned just a few months ago, “we are a political lifetime away from midterms.” In a desperate attempt to correct course, some Democrats, including Joe Biden, are reversing their COVID lockdown policies and taking a tougher public stance on crime. As much as Democrats have self-destructed, how well Republicans fare in November will likely ultimately depend on how effectively the GOP continues messaging to voters, hammering home the differences between their vision for the country and the disastrous consequences of Democrats rule.
Claire Brighn is the pen name of a conservative researcher and writer with previous domestic and foreign policy experience in the Executive Branch.
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