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Biden’s job approval is falling because of these 3 issues

Americans aren’t as optimistic as they used to be about Biden’s handling of the pandemic, economic recovery and crime, according to new polling

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President Joe Biden speaks as he announces that he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


Weeks before the start of a midterm election year, President Joe Biden finds his approval falling across several top issues, a new poll found.

Biden’s job approval rating has been underwater since August, and an ABC News-Ipsos poll released Sunday showed public opinion is down when it comes to his handling of the pandemic, economic recovery and crime.

The pandemic

Although a majority of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, it’s fallen from a high of 72% of people who said they approved in March, before the delta variant, to 53% in December. Biden’s highest marks as president in ABC News’ polling have come from his response to the pandemic, so the dip is an especially worrying trend for Democrats.

The increasingly partisan path of COVID-19 poses a unique challenge. The effectiveness of the vaccine means COVID-19 is hitting communities that voted for former President Donald Trump the hardest, since they have lower vaccination rates. A recent analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University showed people who live in states that voted for Trump are at a 50% higher risk of dying from COVID-19. Republican politicians have pounced on Biden for not getting COVID-19 under control, while opposing vaccine and mask mandates meant to slow the virus’ spread.

Biden announced new steps to fight COVID-19 earlier this month, including reimbursing at-home tests through private health insurance, extending mask mandates for planes and public transportation, and a new push for vaccinations and booster shots through public education campaigns, family vaccination clinics and outreach efforts from federal pharmacy partners.

Economic recovery

Biden’s handling of the economic recovery is another issue the public has soured on, with his approval falling from a high of 60% in March to 41% in December.

Consumer prices rose 6.8% in November compared with last year, the steepest increase since 1982, and the Federal Reserve indicated it could raise interest rates three times in 2022. Republicans are making the economy a central plank in their 2022 messaging.

“The American people are fed up with President Biden’s utter lack of leadership,” National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said during remarks on the Senate floor last week. “Democrats in this body are joining hands with the White House to institute policies that make life more difficult and more expensive.”


Biden’s also seen his approval on crime fall, from 43% in October to 36% in December. FBI data from 2020, which is before Biden took office but is the latest that’s available, shows a 29% increase in murders and a 5% increase in violent crime, but a drop of about 4% to 5% for overall major crime. Analysts believe the murder and violent crime spike is due in part to factors including heightened distrust between police and the public following last summer’s protests for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd.

Republicans are hitting Democrats on crime, but the visuals they use are sometimes misleading. An ad last month from the National Republican Congressional Committee included footage of violence that occurred in 2020 when Trump was president alongside selectively edited audio, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker found.