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Biden’s approval rating on the economy and pandemic response sinks to new low

Published Dec 10th, 2021 6:22PM EST
President Biden at the White House
Image: Oliver Contreras - Pool via CNP/MEGA

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His party controls the White House, as well as both chambers of Congress. He’s presided over an unprecedentedly swift and expansive vaccination program, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. He and his party also pushed major pieces of legislation through Congress that, among other things, put hundreds of dollars worth of stimulus checks into Americans’ pockets and bank accounts. And yet — President Biden’s approval rating? It’s now underwater, below 50%, on both his handling of the economy as well as the pandemic response.

Politicos like to brush off this kind of thing with that old canard about the only poll that matters being the one on election day. Nevertheless, the trend right now looks downright grim for Democrats, considering we’re about to enter a midterm election year. We’ll dive into the numbers below.

Biden approval rating – a pileup of bad headlines

Results from the latest CNBC All-America Economic survey, which polled 800 Americans around the country, reveal, among other things:

  • That Biden’s approval rating on his coronavirus response is now underwater for the first time. He’s at 46% approving, with 48% disapproval.
  • Approval of his handling of the economy is an even worse story. The survey has him with just 37% approval there, compared to 56% disapproval. Of course, issues like record-high inflation and supply chain snarls are no doubt partly to blame there.

“The COVID (approval) number is actually I think the more important one,” Micah Roberts, the Republican pollster for the survey, told CNBC. “As goes COVID, so goes the Biden presidency, and that’s really proving to be quite true.”

The disapproval has manifested itself this year in the form of things like the Let’s Go Brandon movement among conservatives. Which repurposed an error made by a reporter on-air, turning it into an anti-Biden rallying cry (one that also spawned a few hit songs on iTunes). And this movement isn’t slowing down. A Let’s Go Brandon store has even opened, in Massachusetts, in recent days.

Midterm elections

As bad as all this looks for the president, though, things seem even worse for congressional Democrats based on the latest polling data.

When survey respondents were asked which party they’d prefer to control Congress? Republicans ended up with a 10% gain over Democrats (44% to 34%). That’s the first time in the past 20 years CNBC and NBC surveys have identified a double-digit preference for voters toward Republican control of Congress.

Along these same lines, 41% of survey respondents said they think the economy will get worse next year. And as if all that wasn’t enough, Democrats are also falling out of favor in the survey results when it comes to the top issues that voters say are facing the country. Those issues are inflation, followed by the pandemic, then immigration, crime, and climate change.

For an example of the impact that inflation is having, Dollar Tree recently announced that the discount retail chain is permanently raising prices on most of its products to above $1. This comes as US inflation recently hit its highest rate in 31 years, with prices up sharply for a broad spectrum of consumer goods and services.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.