AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Roman
Is the war in Ukraine helping Joe Biden’s poll numbers? The consensus among political analysts is that foreign policy crises produce a “rally around the flag effect.” There is some evidence that Biden’s numbers, on a steady downward trajectory since the Afghanistan debacle followed by the collapse of his domestic agenda, have at least slightly stabilized. But it is important to put the proper stress on the word slightly.
Even the polls showing Biden improving tend to show him underwater when it comes to his handling of foreign policy in general, and the Ukrainian crisis in particular, albeit by less than his atrocious numbers on other issues. Insofar as the conflict has sucked all oxygen from other issues, it has frozen American politics in place. If that means Biden has stopped the bleeding, at least for now, it is cold comfort for Democrats. The current political alignments merely frozen in place are a disaster for the party: it’s a place in which a Republican House majority appears a foregone conclusion, and a GOP Senate victory highly probable.
Joe Biden’s approval rating in the Real Clear Politics average as of March 18th, 2022, was 40.9% approving and 54.8% disapproving, just above his January 23rd nadir of 40.5%/55.2% but still below the 43%/51% split in November when voters in Virginia elected Glenn Youngkin governor of a state Joe Biden had won by 10 points. Furthermore, there is some evidence that Biden’s small initial “bounce” from the Ukrainian conflict has dissipated. After the Russian invasion, Biden’s numbers began an upward movement, peaking on March 12th when his average on RCP reached 42.9%/51.7%, before falling again.
There are plenty of specific explanations for this. Some observers have argued that Biden’s failure to fulfill his pledge to help Ukraine has contributed to his further decline in the polls. But while there are undoubtedly criticisms to be made of Biden’s response, if anything Ukraine’s apparent success at stalling the Russian advance should reduce pressure to take further action, and Americans are hesitant when it comes to actions that could provoke a direct military confrontation with Russia. Others have cited rising gas prices as reason for Biden’s declining numbers, but gas prices peaked in the first two weeks of the war and have in fact been slightly falling since, even if they are trailing falling oil prices. So why are Biden’s numbers static no matter what he does?
One reason might be that regardless of whether voters favor what Biden is doing on a given issue, they no longer have faith in his ability to carry it out. This is not to suggest that Biden’s policies are popular. But Biden’s handling of issues consistently polls below the public’s support for his policies. Ukraine is a prime example of this. YouGov found voters by a margin of 64%-17% favored sending weapons to Ukraine, and 72% favored sanctions on Russia even if it increased prices at home, while a mere 20% favored sending U.S. troops to directly fight the Russians. On paper then, Biden’s policy should line up with the desired approach of a large majority of Americans. Yet in that same poll, only 41% of respondents approved of Biden’s handling of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, while 44% disapproved. Monmouth found similar numbers. 81% approved of sanctions, yet Biden’s numbers on the issue were underwater at 46%-48%. Despite agreeing with the actions and positions Biden was taking, voters did not approve of how he took them.
Biden seems to have established a “confidence” or “credibility” deficit with a large segment of the American public. It is not so much that they disagree with what he is trying to do (although the more radical parts of his party’s agenda remain unpopular). Americans have simply lost confidence in Biden’s ability to do the job. When it comes to foreign policy, the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan clearly played a role in establishing the perception of haplessness and incompetence, but the impression extends to domestic issues as well. Take COVID-19. YouGov found that by a 52%-48% margin, voters favored protecting health over the economy – exactly the policy position Biden claimed to be pursuing. Moreover, polls consistently showed that respondents favored a gradual or phased approach to returning to normal, another approach Biden said he was following. Yet Biden could only manage 43% approval on COVID-19 compared to 46% disapproving, indicating even those who are open to continued restrictions do not fully trust him.
Perhaps the most striking example lies in the results for whether Biden is a “strong or weak leader.” By a margin of 61%-39%, respondents in YouGov said Biden was somewhat or very weak.
Here lies the existential problem for the Democrats as long as they are led by the Biden-Harris tandem. Democrats already have a problem with the unpopularity of many of their positions, especially when it comes to education and cultural issues. Yet their deeper problem is a lack of credibility. That undermines them in two ways. First, it prevents them from being able to shift course on the issues where they are unpopular. If Biden says he is abandoning CRT or he wants kids back in schools many voters do not believe him, or do not believe he will be able to keep his word and carry out what he promises. Second, Democrats are unable to rally or even mobilize the voters who do agree with them.
It is hardly surprising then that Biden has not received much of a “Ukraine bounce.” Even if voters do not oppose what he is doing, they lack any confidence in his ability to carry out his own policies effectively. The suspicion must exist in the back of their minds that even if he “warned” about a Russian invasion, both those warnings and the steps he took to avert it were carried out in a way which contributed to the lack of success in preventing Russia’s invasion.
Democrats are praying for circumstances to improve before November. They are praying for gas prices to go down, inflation to slow, and for COVID-19 to go away. Yet it is unclear how much any of that would help them now. Voters quite simply do not believe Biden is up to the job, and are increasingly unlikely to credit him for anything which improves. Biden might complain that he is unfairly blamed for everything that has gone wrong, but his situation is far worse. Increasingly, a majority do not blame or credit him with anything.
Daniel Roman is the pen name of a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics.
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The biggest threat to the United States of America is JOE BIDEN.
You say Democrats are praying for lower gasoline prices and inflation. To whom do they pray? Surely not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Great I AM. The party of Satan exists on lies, delusion, and corruption. That over 40% of those polled still support them shows that we are doomed as a nation.
He and his son belong in prison, right along with Hillary Clinton. Too bad our government and media are so corrupt that these criminals get away with what they are doing to our country, all in the name of personal power and money. Sad.
Biden and the words credibility, integrity, honesty, and intelligent do not go together.
I still can;t get over that the liberals, democrats, progressives committed voter fraud to put this complete phuc up in office.
hey liberals, democrats, progressives TRUMP WAS MUCH BETTER. Now you all just look more stupid every day.
Biden criticizes Putin BUT uses him to negotiate a nuclear treaty with Iran! How crooked is that? Liars dealing with liars!
Obama is friends with putin. I am certain that both putin and obama know exactly what the plan is. Why else woudl putin be bringing in other countries and mercenaries to fight in Ukraine while the USA says oh no one can get involved because it could start world war three.
Biden has no integrity. Proof in point is the now discovery of his son’s computer that is acknowledged by the NY Times. Biden’s presidency is actually Obama’s third term. The people he hangs with all points to his illegitimate presidency.
Face the facts, Biden is a self-absorbed, arrogant, evil person. He does not give a tinker’s damn about anyone but himself and his money hungry family.
Joe Biden’s reputation preceded him. He just isn’t presidential material. He and the Obama leftovers are making a mess of the United States of America! I think he would do better at the Knights of Columbus!!
Biden is finishing what Obama started he was elected 2nd time speaks for itself
The president is in “grasping at straws” mode. No matter what happens, he continues to be the bungler. I believe he will remain the most damaging president we have ever had and perhaps ever will have…..and this is not all on him….the people around him are as much to blame as the man in the seat of power. My hope is that in the end, when he has been voted out, the damage will not be beyond repair….sadly it will take years to course correct and get the ship of state back to where it should be…providing there are people upcoming who can accomplish the task….and for me that is the great doubt.
Joe’s credibility wouldn’t improve if the Pope gave him an endorsement.
Recently the Russian Ambassador cited Pres. Biden’s confusion meaning his cognitive impairment which if you’re watching him on various tv appearances you will see it has only gotten worse. Alzheimer’s disease is a slow but steady disease the steals one’s ability to function. Given his Job description depth of responsibility, that is to defend and protect the Constitution and citizens of the United States he is steadily becoming more and more incapable of doing just that. As a result we are in a leadership crisis. As just one example If he cannot recall the name of ambassadors whom he appointed then how can we expect him to function effectively and efficiently in managing the complexity of a war, broken economy and border crisis. Remember the game “ Tag You’re it” we played as kids? Unfortunately President Biden cannot manage the fact that He is it, he must look to tag someone else to be “it” which only serves to further damage our precious Republic.
Pray for Joe Biden pray for our government leaders
Pray for our citizens pray for America.
God and His mercy are are only real hope.
The man is a sick embarrassment to the country along with his joke of an administration.
Should never have been allowed to steal the election!
After all is said & done concerning this article & how any & all angles one chooses to look at the 1st ( 14 ) months of arguably the worst president in US history, I don’t believe there is anything this administration can do to change the facts nor the hearts of the American people…The Biden/Harris duo has dug their graves so deep, the vast majority of American citizens have LOST any & all faith in JRB/HARRIS & crew if most ever had any faith in them to begin with, both sides of the aisle, party affiliation no longer matters on the score of FAITH…
The final sentence of the last paragraph says it somewhat clearly & I quote. ” Increasingly, a majority do not blame or credit him with anything. ” end quote, however I do NOT agree with ” not blame him ” part of that said quote, however I do agree with the majority that gives him ” NO ” credit for doing anything. The writer of this article could have done a better job on his wording of that final sentence imho…
I don’t care what anybody thinks. There is no way in hell one man can take a country down like Biden has unless it was on purpose!! Why? He is owned by Putin and China for past money dealings! He is Compromised totally! Something or somebody needs to investigate this, before the country is totally ruined. And that is close!! ( Iran deal). Buying oil from enemies while destroying US energy! Take your pick America!!
you give him too much credit. The assumption in your hypothesis is that he owes them favors, thus he feels morally obligated to give them something back. Biden is the ultimate politician. He will switch sides/views whenever the tide changes, without moral consideration.
Investigate? You’ve got to be kidding! You’re wanting congress to investigate Biden. That’s asking the fox to watch the hen house. As far as I’m concerned the entire apparatus in DC is corrupt to the core. If there were and investigation, what would the outcome be? President Harris, or maybe Pelosi? That’s going from really bad to really pitiful and would assure we would have seen our last election.
Credibility zero. Wonder why they kept him the basement during the campaign. The real Biden has surfaced. Incompetent, arrogant and pompous self serving politician ignoring the voice of the people with policies that have emboldened our enemies and weakened America.
Anyone who is still believing that Biden is honorable is either hugely apathetic and/or purposely ignoring the obvious. Biden’s own words prove that he is an opportunist who will say and do anything to further his political career. He has a long and troubled history of speaking in falsehoods, half-truths, and slanderous outbursts. Biden will pretend that he wants Republicans and Democrats to work together, and then he refuses to listen to ideas that are a hybrid of compromise and reason. He will aggressively paint politicians and citizens as irrational and lawless if they dare disagree with his destructive ideas, policies, and proclamations. He openly claims that America is a racist country. Instead of being the great supporter of our Constitutional Republic, he goes out of his way to divide the American people along lines of race and class.
Obama stated Joe DON’T DO IT! If Obama didn’t endorse him, the man who had him as Vice President, and for that matter, never endorsed him, then why did anyone in America have any confidence in him? Obama sure as heck didn’t. A President has to be intelligent to begin with, and this man never was. He or she has to know when they are being played by people, and he certainly doesn’t know that either. He has picked the worst people to surround him. He has divided this country, not united this country. If he could actually remember what he says from day to day, it would help, but a liar never does. A liar with dementia, truly does not. He has lied more than any other politician to date, and most of his is on video or on record. It’s truly awful. Tom FL, said it well, speaking of the Peter Principle.
Biden is who he’s always been, a lying, crooked Big Braggert!
The Peter Principle stated that “people tend to rise to their level of incompetence “ and Joe Biden hit that back in the 90s. Most intelligent voters recognized that back then, with the exception of the folks from the Scranton area.
Even now, with the help of his former babysitter he can’t seem to make reasonable decisions concerning his handlers.
Poor man doesn’t know what’s good for this country. That’s the unintended consequences of a dishonorable election, a dishonest press and too much money floating around Google, Facebook (Meta) Twitter, etc.
Perhaps we’ll get back to some Conservative values on the midterm.
Let us hope so Tom FL… Normalcy has been missing from our American political dialog for far to long now…
Great comment btw,