Biden Approval Jumps 9 points from July, New Poll Finds

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden’s popularity improved substantially from his lowest point this summer, but concerns about his handling of the economy persist, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Biden’s support rose from 36% in July, to 45% in August. This was largely due to an increase in Democratic support just two months prior the midterm elections in November. In the midst of some very difficult summer months where gasoline prices were at their highest and the legislature appeared to be deadlocked, Democrats could face blowout losses.

Their outlook appears better after notching a string of legislative successes that left more Americans ready to judge the Democratic president on his preferred terms: “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.”

The president’s approval rating remains underwater, with 53% of U.S. adults disapproving of him, and the economy continues to be a weakness for Biden. As the nation struggles with stubbornly high inflation, only 38% support his economic leadership. Republicans will try to place household finances at the center of the next election.

However, this poll indicates that Biden is gaining momentum with his Democratic colleagues as voter enthusiasm and turnout take precedence.

The average gas price has fallen 26% to $3.71 per gallon since June, which is a significant decrease in the inflation pressure on families’ budgets. Two landmark bills were also approved by Congress in the month of June that have the potential to reshape America’s economy and decrease carbon emissions.

Republicans are also facing resistance after Roe v. Wade’s Supreme Court decision to overturn it and remove its protections for abortion. And Biden is openly casting former President Donald Trump as a fundamental threat to democracy, a charge that took on resonance after an FBI search of Trump’s Florida home found classified documents that belong to the U.S. government.

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Even though Americans are still skeptical about Biden’s leadership, this combination has earned Biden some respect from the Democratic faithful.

“I’m not under any belief that he’s the best person for the job — he’s the best from the people we had to choose from,” said Betty Bogacz, 74, a retiree from Portland, Oregon. “He represented stability, which I feel President Trump did not represent at all.”

Biden’s approval rating didn’t exceed 40% in May, June or July as inflation surged in the aftermath of Russia invading Ukraine. However, his streak of wins in the past month continues on Thursday when Biden announced an agreement between the unions and railways to avoid a strike which would have forced the closure of the railways. This could have resulted in a huge economic downturn.

The president’s rating now is similar to what it was throughout the first quarter of the year, but he continues to fall short of early highs. His six-month average approval rating from AP–NORC polling was 60 percent.

Driving the recent increase in Biden’s popularity is renewed support among Democrats, who had shown signs of dejection in the early summer. Now, 78% of Democrats approve of Biden’s job performance, up from 65% in July. Sixty-six% of Democrats are pleased with Biden’s economy performance, compared to 54% in June.

Interviews suggest a big reason for Biden’s rebound is the reemergence of Trump on the national stage, causing voters such as Stephen Jablonsky, who labeled Biden as “OK,” to say voting Democratic is a must for the nation’s survival.

“The country has a political virus by the name of Donald Trump,” said Jablonsky, a retired music professor from Stamford, Connecticut. “We have a man who is psychotic and seems to have no concern for law and order and democracy. The Republican Party has gone to a place that is so unattractive and so dangerous, this coming election in November could be the last election we ever have.”

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Biden’s image is just as bad as it was before. Like ratings from earlier in the summer, less than 1 percent of Republicans agree with President Obama’s economic policy or overall.

Christine Yannuzzi (51) doubts the leadership abilities of Biden at 79 years old.

“I don’t think he’s mentally, completely aware of everything that’s happening all the time,” said Yannuzzi, who lives in Binghamton, New York. “The economy’s doing super poorly and I have a hard time believing that the joblessness rate is as low as they say it is.”

“I think the middle class is being really phased out and families are working two and three jobs a person to make it,” the Republican added.

Twenty-nine percent of U.S. adults say the economy is in good shape, while 71% say it’s doing poorly. In June 20% of Americans said the conditions were favorable, while 79% stated they were not.

The 46% of Democrats who are positive today is higher than the 31% in June. Republicans remain largely negative, with only 10% saying conditions are good and 90% saying they’re bad.

An estimated 25% of Americans say that things in America are heading in the right directions, up from 17% at the end July. Seventy two percent believe things are heading in the wrong directions.

Close to half of Democrats — 44% — have an optimistic outlook, up from 27% in July. Just 9% of Republicans are optimistic about the nation’s direction.

Akila Atkins, a 27-year-old stay-at-home mom of two, thinks Biden is “OK” and doesn’t have much confidence that his solutions will curb rising prices.

Atkins says it’s gotten a little harder in the last year to manage her family’s expenses, and she’s frustrated that she can no longer rely on the expanded child tax credit. The tax credit paid out monthly was part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and has since lapsed.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau announced that the Child Poverty Rate was nearly half last year thanks to an expanded tax credit. The rate is now 5.2% according to Census Bureau. Atkins said it helped them “stay afloat with bills, the kids’ clothing, shoes, school supplies, everything.”

Despite any reservations the Democrat from Grand Forks in North Dakota may have about Biden’s character, she still believes he is better than Trump.

“I always feel like he could be better, but then again, he’s better than our last president,” she said.

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