Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry


Joe Biden’s biggest problem is that his presidency is an utter failure

President Biden has suffered a collapse in his standing generally, but, fundamentally, it’s because so few people think he’s doing a good job that he’s in such a perilous state

Other than that, it’s going great. 

It’s hard to exaggerate how abysmal Biden’s polling has been lately. 

President Joe Biden is polling poorly. Gripas Yuri/ABACA/Shutterstock

No incumbent president should ever want to be near 43% in a head-to-head ballot test.

Yet here is Joe Biden at 43% in the latest CNN poll, 43% in the latest Morning Consult poll, 43% in the latest Economist/YouGov poll and 43% in the latest Harvard/Harris poll.

(NB: Biden ticked up to 48 when Harvard/Harris pushed respondents to choose between Trump and Biden, and the Economist/YouGov poll had RFK Jr. in the mix.)

Detect a trend? (There are other polls that have Biden a little higher.)

It’s no mystery why Biden’s polling is at crisis levels

An incumbent president’s level of support in a re-election bid is typically tethered closely to his job approval.

Oftentimes, an incumbent President’s re-electability is pin direct proportion to their approval rating. Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

It’s hard to get much more than a couple of points above it.

Biden’s job approval is at 40% in the RealClearPolitics polling average and at 39.3% in the 538 polling average. 

The CNN poll has Biden’s job approval right there at 40%, where it’s held steady for about a year, with 60% disapproving.

The Harvard/Harris has his approval rating a little higher at 44%, even though he’s at 43% in the ballot test. 

It’s not just that Biden’s job approval is low; he’s trailing Trump on the rather crucial metric of who was or is a successful president. 

According to the CNN poll, 55% of the public now considers the Trump presidency a success, and 44% look at it as a failure.

Biden, in contrast, is upside down. Only 39% say his presidency has been a success, while 61% say it’s been a failure. 

People may have all sorts of expectations for presidents — that they not get indicted, that they not post on TruthSocial in ALL CAPS, that they accept the results of elections, etc., etc. — but the most important one, surely, is that they succeed at the job. 

Being considered a failed president is not, needless to say, a status consistent with winning re-election. 

Of course, the economy is the biggest anchor on Biden.

His numbers there are in the tank: CNN has his approval on the economy at 34% and inflation at 29%.

The Economist/YouGov poll found the same thing — 39% approval on the economy and 29% on prices. 

In a normal election, these numbers simply wouldn’t be survivable.

But with two extremely well-known, unpopular candidates, this is not a normal race. 

Trump’s history and personal radioactivity give Biden a lot of material to work with.

While Joe Biden’s approval rating might not be ideal, his challenger Donald Trump is literally on trial in court for federal fraud charges. AP

And it’s a boon to him that his opponent is locked down in a courtroom several days a week. 

The problem for Biden is that many of the attacks on Trump — especially those based on his legal prosecutions — feel besides the point compared to the bigger questions in the race. 

Are more people going to care that Trump has been convicted of felonious bookkeeping related to a payment to a porn star eight years ago — or that they think he can do a better job handling inflation? 

And there’s more bad news for Biden: Besides disapproving of his job performance and his economy, people don’t particularly like him, don’t think he’s a strong leader and don’t think he’s fit to be president. 

If all that represents trouble for the incumbent, the biggest problem, again, is that he’s failing at his job.

The most direct way for Joe Biden to improve his chances in November would be to become a good president — although it’s unfair to place such unrealistic expectations on him at this juncture in his presidency and career. 

Twitter: @RichLowry