Biden's Polling Remains Underwater, but There's Something Else for Republicans

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

NBC News dropped a poll today largely focusing on President Joe Biden and his approval numbers, and it’s good news for Republicans. While this poll has him beating the RealClearPolitics average by three points, he’s still underwater with 44 percent approval versus 54 percent disapproval.

The numbers are almost universally bleak for the President.

In his inaugural address one year ago, President Joe Biden championed unity, promised a bold governing agenda and prioritized defeating the coronavirus.

Now, as Biden begins his second year as president, majorities of Americans give him low marks for uniting the country, being competent and having the ability to handle a crisis, according to results from a new national NBC News poll.

What’s more, 6 in 10 disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, while more than half give him a thumbs-down on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

His overall job rating among adults stands at 43 percent approve and 54 percent disapprove — unchanged in essence from October’s survey. (Among registered voters, it is 44 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove.)

  • On the economy: 38-60
  • On the coronavirus: 44-53
  • On the US-Russia relationship: 37-50
  • On foreign policy: 37-54

I mentioned yesterday that the issues hitting Americans hardest – the economy and COVID-19 – are going unaddressed while Biden and the Democrats continue to focus on issues that are distant to the vast majority of American voters. They are not seen as properly handing the virus or the economy (if they’re even being seen as handling it at all). Supply shortages and omicron surges are dominating their concerns right now.

But, buried within this poll is a sign that the Republican Party’s future is still up in the air.

Trump, future Republican candidate?
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

This NBC News poll has been asking since January 2019 if Republican voters support Trump or the Republican Party. More most of that question’s history, Trump has hovered in the low 50s/high 40s on that question while the GOP has mostly been coming in second. But in the August poll, Trump hit a low of 40 percent preference versus the GOP’s 50 percent. In October, he crept back up to 43 percent to the GOP’s 50 percent.

This month, Trump hit a new low of 36 percent while the GOP surged to 56 percent.

So while all of Biden’s woes keep piling up, Trump has not been able to keep much of a platform with Republican voters. Some rallies here and there help, as does the media coverage (good or bad) that they get, but his lack of a social media platform and little daily press coverage has hurt his ability to stay in front of voters’ eyes consistently enough for them to want to see more.

Meanwhile, Biden’s agenda and lack of political skill have been a gift to Republicans. They don’t even have to come out and do or say anything as the Democrats just constantly trip over themselves through their chaotic control of the House and Senate. It’s made the GOP look much better in moderate/centrist voters’ eyes. They are seeing polling surges and Democrats are acting very terrified because of it.

This is giving several Republicans a new avenue to build up their own platforms and make their names better known. It’s led to Ron DeSantis of Florida getting bigger name recognition. It’s allowed Glenn Youngkin to shock Virginians and the rest of the country. It’s given an opening for Josh Hawley. It’s provided Ted Cruz an opportunity at a soft re-launch of his image.

That’s not to say that Trump can’t or won’t be a force in the future. His best shot will be at trying to get his preferred candidates into office in 2022. He’s attempting that in Georgia and elsewhere.

But if he can’t win those elections, then it’s time to rethink his position within the party. 2024 candidate may not be the optimal way forward. He can still play kingmaker (and perhaps better ensure a longer-lasting legacy) and guide the party if he wants to continue being a political force.

Right now, though, he simply can’t be. He doesn’t have a platform to do it from.

Yet.