Wednesday, August 18, 2021


Unsurprisingly, Reuters had bad polling news for President Biden yesterday:
President Joe Biden's approval rating dropped by 7 percentage points and hit its lowest level so far as the U.S.-backed Afghan government collapsed over the weekend in an upheaval that sent thousands of civilians and Afghan military allies fleeing for their safety, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The national opinion poll, conducted on Monday, found that 46% of American adults approved of Biden's performance in office, the lowest recorded in weekly polls that started when Biden took office in January.

It is also down from the 53% who felt the same way in a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll that ran on Friday.
The disapproval number is 47%.

Donald Trump's job approval numbers also hit a low in August of his first year in office. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted August 11-15, 2017, 35% of Americans approved of the job Trump was doing and 58% disapproved. In a subsequent Reuters poll, conducted August 18-22, Trump's approval/disapproval numbers were 36%/59%.

The recent events that lowered Trump's approval rating included the effort to repeal Obamacare, which ended in failure in the Senate at the end of July, and the "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which took place on August 11 and 12 and resulted in the death of an anti-racist counterprotester. On August 15, Trump said that there were "very fine people on both sides" of the deadly rally.

There was dismay even at The Federalist, where a piece was published under the headline "Donald Trump Needs To Not Be President Yesterday." (Subhead: "We're done with the 'take what we can get' phase of Donald Trump's administration. It's time for the 'he's a disaster and needs to go' phase.")

So exactly four years ago, Republicans were more or less where Democrats are now. But in Trumpworld there was always a shiny object just over the horizon.

On August 1, the left-leaning American Prospect published an impolitic interview with then-White House adviser Steve Bannon. Bannon's white nationalist views were under scrutiny in the aftermath of Charlottesville, and he was soon fired. On August 25, Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, the racist former sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, who'd been found in criminal contempt of court for defying a federal judge's order to stop racially profiling Hispanics in his county. By early September, we were back in gossip mode again -- news outlets were reporting breathlessly that Chief of Staff John Kelly had pushed out Omarosa!

It took a while for Trump's numbers to return consistently to the 40s, but they got there, and remained there, after Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017.

I don't know whether the Biden administration can distract the public -- and especially the media -- with personnel drama or some other distraction. A big legislative win would help. But just remember that the Trump presidency seemed to be taking on water four years ago today, and he came within about 43,000 votes of an Electoral College win three years later.

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