Everybody do the Joe Biden Limbo — how low can he go? According to the latest data from Civiqs, Biden has managed to get to his all-time low in job approval, as well as states in which he’s appreciated. His 33/56 is his lowest on approval and ties his highest in disapproval, while only Hawaii and Vermont put him in positive territory.
It’s not just job approval, either. While Barack Obama could maintain his likability even when his policies became unpopular, Biden has no such cushion with the electorate. His favorability ratings have fallen to the lowest levels of his presidency at 38/56, but that’s not the lowest levels Civiqs has tracked for Biden overall:
Biden was much less likable during the campaign. He hit 31/60 during the New Hampshire primary, his nadir on this measure over the past few years. In fact, Biden was barely favorable even in retirement, as it turns out, and he has been net-unfavorable ever since jumping into the Democratic presidential primary in April 2019.
We should recognize this dynamic. Hillary Clinton had the same issue; she was relatively popular as long as she wasn’t running for office. As soon as Hillary began running for office, the Washington Post’s Philip Bump deduced from Gallup data, her favorables became instantly toxic. The dynamic isn’t as pronounced for Biden, but it’s there nonetheless, and it matters in terms of his ability to recover. Obama had a deep wellspring of good faith and benefit of doubt from voters. Whatever amount of either or both Biden had at the beginning of his presidency, he has squandered in Afghanistan and an uninterrupted sequence of incompetencies and failures.
Put aside the approval numbers and check out how bad it’s gotten for Biden on his personal favorability rating. Only five states give him a net positive rating, and one of those — New York — is only a 47/47 tie. (Presumably he’s leading before rounding.) His favorability is negative in double digits among all age demos except seniors (-9), it’s underwater among women (-5), double-digit negative among college grads and non-college voters and only 47/48 among post-grads. He’s barely above water among Hispanics (+4), and while 74% of black voters see him favorably, the 17% who don’t should give Democrats night sweats heading into the midterms — as should the 68% of independents who likewise don’t like Biden.
Clearly, the voters didn’t like Biden all that much to begin with. He was the alternate to Donald Trump, whom voters also disliked, and that was the extent of his mandate. Democrats’ attempts to paint him as some sort of long-beloved figure of American politics misses the mark so badly that it’s almost a self-satire. Biden was a means to an end, a way to get past Trump into some sort of centrist caretaker position while both parties got their acts together — and both Biden and Democrats badly misread the moment. And are still misreading it to this day.