A new poll conducted by Fox News was released this Sunday, which indicates that the percentage of respondents who feel the country is more united under President Joe Biden has declined. It has fallen to the point where those who think the country is less united are now in the majority, according to the poll.
The numbers show a huge discrepancy between the campaign rhetoric and public perception. A whopping 54 percent feel the country is less united since Biden took office, while only 37 percent felt it was more united.
The poll also measured perceptions about Biden in terms of empathy and caring as a leader. Only 51 percent think Biden “cares about people like you,” which is down from last year, just before the election (October of 2020), where the same question prompted 56 percent agreement. While Democrats and Republicans continued to feel mostly the same, the 5 percent drop was from crucial voters who identify as Independent, where the answer shifted 15 percent down from 2020.
There appeared to be some lack of confidence in Biden’s mental faculties among respondents as well. Only 49 percent believe Biden is mentally sound to serve as president, though it should be noted that apparently, the same amount felt that way in 2020. Only 45 percent described Biden as a strong leader, which is down from 49 percent last year.
As far as managing the government, and overall competence in general, Biden’s administration still enjoys a small lead, with 51 percent agreeing with the statement “has [the] Biden administration been competent and effective in managing government?” The percentage of those polled who disagreed was 45. There is a similar even split on the economy, with 50 percent in approval versus 49 percent disapproval.
One of Biden’s strongest numbers came from his Covid-19 pandemic response, with 55 percent of respondents approving with his job performance (on that subject), while 44 percent disapproved. While that isn’t a big change from August of this year, which had a 54-42 percent split, it is significantly lower from the same poll taken in June of this year, when he enjoyed a comfortable 64 percent to 34 percent lead in approval (again, of Covid-19 management specifically).
Biden’s biggest drag on his popularity is indisputably on the subject of Afghanistan, and the disastrous pullout last month. The overall number that approved in the poll was a crushing 36 percent, against 60 percent disapproval. This is a sore subject even among Democrats, the poll reveals: while respondents who identified as Democrat showed 89 percent approval on Covid-19 and 86 percent on the economy, the support drops dramatically to 65 percent on how he handled Afghanistan.
The poll found an overall rating of 50 percent approval for Biden’s performance, against 49 percent disapproval. These mark the lowest point in his popularity since taking office, as it was 53-46 percent in August, and below his peak of 56-43 percent in June.
When those who gave Biden an overall approval (50 percent of all respondents) were asked why they approved of him overall, the answers were varied. Unsurprisingly, the most common reason for why they approved of him (overall) cited his Covid-19 response (25 percent), confirming that subject as his strongest in the public eye. Many also felt that he was just “doing a good job” in general (19 percent), while others compared him favorably to Trump, saying that Biden was doing a better job (15 percent). Biden’s presidential demeanor and perceived empathy accounted for 9 percent, approval of the economy for 9 percent, and 8 percent simply said he “helps people.”
Among those who disapproved of his overall job performance, 22 percent cited a general feeling of incompetence and poor leadership. To some surprise (given the poll’s findings on the subject), Afghanistan came in second, with 19 percent citing that as reason for overall disapproval. Those who said he was “doing a bad job” just in general accounted for 13 percent, while the economy and Covid-19 both came in at 8 percent. Biden’s handling of the southern border was the reason given by 7 percent of respondents.
While Biden personally appears to enjoy the confidence of half the country, the poll also found that 56 percent were dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the nation, confirming another poll from the Morning Consult organization. This has been consistent with his presidency so far (there were 53 percent who were dissatisfied in April of this year), and a sharp drop from summer of 2020, which found 66 percent unhappy with things.
Overall, the situation as expressed in this poll remains tenuous but not catastrophic for Biden’s public approval, as expressed by Republican pollster Daron Shaw: “Biden has had solid numbers so far, but his handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Delta variant has taken a toll.” Perhaps the more ominous signs come from a Rasmussen poll, showing only 37 of respondents would vote to re-elect Biden in 2024.
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