Democrats on Capitol Hill are reportedly becoming increasingly worried that President Joe Biden’s cratering favorability ratings may lead to a bloodbath at the ballot box in 2022.
Multiple members acknowledged to Politico over the weekend that the poll numbers underscore a changing tide in American politics that the party needs to respond to — and fast. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called the president’s numbers downright “scary.”
The new president has seen his ratings plummet in recent months as multiple crises — including the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, the crisis at the southern border, and the struggling economy — continue to grip the country and voters place blame at the feet of Biden and the Democratic Party. That’s not even to mention the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, that has much of the world on edge.
Meanwhile, Biden and his team have insisted that Americans will come around and simply “don’t feel” the positive effects of his accomplishments yet. Democratic lawmakers facing re-election in the coming year are not so optimistic.
Politico reported Monday that “most Democrats are worried that Biden’s flagging polling numbers — with an approval hovering in the low 40s — will lead to a thrashing at the ballot box” come midterms, unless the president somehow pulls out of his current slide.
Even the party’s own polling has Biden under water, the outlet noted. Three members reportedly told Politico that a poll from House Democrats’ campaign arm earlier this month showed that 52% of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing and that the president is down in battleground districts across the country.
Some, like Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), are choosing to put a positive spin on the dilemma. They reportedly believe that things will turn around once the party finishes passing marquee legislation and gets back to campaigning.
“We’re in a difficult period now. One of the challenges we have is, we’ve been legislating this year, as he has,” Casey argued. “While you’re legislating, you’re not communicating.”
“Theoretically we could finish a historic year of legislating for the middle class in the next month and spend all of our next year talking about what we did,” Murphy added.
Others, such as Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), are not so sure the solution is that simple. They appear to be content to create some distance between themselves and the president.
“I really don’t care at all [about the president’s numbers], I’ve got my own approach to doing things,” Golden told Politico, adding that he outran Biden in Trump country. “What I know about his approval ratings right now versus my own is that I’m outpacing him by about 30 points.”
“I care more about my own numbers,” Wild added, noting, “I honestly believe that in my district, and in many districts, that it’s a mistake to try to tie your election or reelection to any president.”