As more and more polls are showing the Republicans could do very well in the midterm elections, some Democrat strategists and politicians are increasingly distancing themselves from President Joe Biden, who’s run the economy into the ground and overseen the highest U.S. inflation in 40 years. Biden’s approval rating has ticked up slightly since the summer, but it still comes in at a pretty sad 39 percent, according to a YouGov poll:
YouGov Poll: after increasing last week, Biden’s job approval has fallen to 39%, with a net rating of -15, driven largely by independents
Biden Job Approval
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) October 19, 2022
Who will get the blame if the Dems perform badly in House and Senate races on November 8? One Democrat source told The Hill that Joe will be the “fall guy,” while another strategist concurred:
It’s all about the economy, and at the end of the day, everything is more expensive than it was a year ago, retirement accounts are plummeting, and gas prices are lower but they’re inching up again. And President Biden is in charge, so of course people are going to point to him, unfairly or not.
Oh, it’s fair all right. When you’re the captain of the ship, you’re responsible for what happens on it. Biden deserves plenty of blame, having brought this mess down on himself starting the first day of his disastrous presidency when he canceled the Keystone Pipeline.
The Dems are right to be worried, with polling showing renewed enthusiasm for Republicans. A New York Times-Siena College poll released Monday shows solid support for the GOP, with 49 percent saying they’d vote for a Republican for Congress and only 45 percent leaning Democrat.
Meanwhile, plenty of Democrat hopefuls are doing their best to avoid the president. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan was blunt:
“I won’t be asking the president to come in — or very, very few, if any, national people to come in and actually campaign with us,” he told CBS News, “because I want to be the main face, the main messenger of that of this campaign.”
Ryan is currently locked in a tight Senate race against Republican JD Vance, and presumably doesn’t need Joe blundering and bumbling around the stage to torpedo his chances. I’m sure if there was a popular president in office—say, Barack Obama—Ryan would be begging him to stop by. He’s not the only one: here’s Democrat Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock sounding less than enthusiastic while speaking of Biden during a debate with GOP challenger Herschel Walker last week:
“Would you support Pres. Biden running for a second term in 2024?”
Warnock: “I have not spent a minute thinking about what politician should run for what in 2024”
Total fraud. Warnock votes with Biden 96% of the time. pic.twitter.com/ss0husUbip
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 14, 2022
Even noted election denier and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams skipped a Biden event in Atlanta earlier this year over a “scheduling” issue. She has time for an upcoming event with Oprah, though.
The president is meeting this Thursday with… you guessed it, Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman. That one could be seriously interesting because both men have trouble speaking in complete sentences. I’m not sure which is more surprising: that Fetterman would want to be seen with Biden, or that Biden would want to be seen with Fetterman.
Some Democrats are already calling for a cleanup on aisle 6, claiming that Biden’s low approval rating won’t bring down their side. Democratic pollster and strategist Paul Maslin:
Biden’s numbers, while not great, have picked up a bit recently. And turnout matters a lot. So I would not term him either harm or help.
Don’t believe it. Many of these races will be referendums on Biden’s many failures. If the polling holds to form, expect to see more Democrats distancing themselves from the President—and for his potential second-term ambitions to take a big hit.