Despite his vow to serve as a unifying figure, President Joe Biden’s approval ratings seem to be in a freefall.
With an approval rating of 51% as he approaches 100 days in office, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Biden’s numbers are lower than almost every other president since World War II.
Worse than all but two recent predecessors
While many in the mainstream media rush to point out that his approval rating is higher than former President Donald Trump’s at the same point in the previous administration, a historical comparison shows Biden struggling to convince voters that he is leading the country on the right track.
Of course, most news outlets denounced Trump from the inception of his term in the White House — but the truth about Biden’s numbers lies in a deeper exploration, as the Washington Examiner explained.
Aside from Trump, the only president since World War II with a worse average approval rating at this point in his administration was Gerald Ford, who assumed the presidency in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. As for why Biden is so unpopular, there are several theories.
For starters, he went longer than any president in more than a century without holding a solo press conference.
While his policy proposals are too progressive to appeal to most Republicans, his low numbers might also reflect the bait-and-switch campaign promises that have continued to frustrate many within his own party.
Factors behind the figures
He had signaled a plan to cancel student loan debt and implement a $15 federal minimum wage.
Instead, he raised the minimum wage to $15 only for federal employees, which was all he could do through an executive order. As for student loan relief, Biden has limited it to those in default and earning below a certain income while stalling the plan until some unconfirmed point in the future.
Then there is the issue of immigration, which he attacked by repealing or reversing as many of his predecessor’s policies as possible. Now his administration is facing a migrant surge on the southern border with more thousands of unaccompanied minors in the custody of federal agents.
Although his response to the COVID-19 crisis offers a rare point of bipartisan praise for the president, many Americans are also upset that he refuses to advocate a return to normal. Even as vaccine distribution exceeded his own goals, he advised that citizens could possibly gather for Independence Day, but only in small outdoor gatherings.
Given all of these factors, it should not be surprising that Biden’s approval rating is just 51%. What might be more surprising is that it is not even lower.