Has the Joe Biden Comeback Started?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Joe Biden has had one of the most disastrous first years of a presidential term in US history. Yeah, Abraham Lincoln had the Civil War and George W. Bush had 9/11, but there’s a difference between events being forced on a president and a president causing events.

Biden managed to completely screw up the response to COVID despite being handed vaccines upon taking office. More people ended up dying on his watch than under the Trump administration. Then there are the foreign policy boondoggles, from Afghanistan to what’s currently happening with Russia. But if that wasn’t bad enough, Biden also turned the border into a humanitarian disaster. I could keep going, but you get the point.

Things have not gone well, but is that all about to change? That’s the assertion from CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who believes the president is at the beginning stages of a comeback.

I’d quote the article, but there’s really nothing groundbreaking in it. The evidence used to support the idea that Biden is on the comeback trail boils down to a single NPR poll which has the president at 47 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval. No doubt, that’s a far better number than we’ve seen in the past. Just a week prior, four straight polls dropped showing Biden at 38, 38, 41, and 38 percent approval.

Of course, even dealing with the most recent period of polling, we can make some apples-to-apples comparisons. Yes, that NPR poll has Biden at 47 percent approval with a -4 disapproval spread, but two other polls released at the same time (Rasmussen and Reuters) have him at 42 and 43 percent respectively. The disapproval numbers on those polls are really bad as well, with spreads of -13 and -11.

Enough of the data nerd stuff, though. Take a look around and see if you think the current political environment is primed for the president to rebound? Gas prices are exploding, Russia is still invading Europe, and inflation is absolutely out of control. Biden’s public appearances also continue to be a disaster. A single outlier poll is hardly proof that he’s suddenly overcome those dynamics.

With that said, I will admit that it’s possible Biden gets a slight, temporary bump in the face of Russia’s aggression. Still, I think the idea that the president is marching back into the good graces of the broader electorate is wishful thinking. We’d need a lot more data points to even begin to entertain that thought. CNN’s rush to push that narrative is partisan, and that’s fine, but they should admit that’s all it is.