Mr Trump’s poll rating is increasing among independents and Mr Biden’s approval rating is in a downturn – a cause for worry among Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterms. Congressional elections in the middle of a first presidential term often become a referendum on the president and his leadership, with the conventional wisdom being that a president’s party usually loses their majority in the House in the first midterm following a presidential victory.
The Republicans lost their majority in the house after Mr Trump’s first two years in power in 2018 and the same thing happened to Democrats in 2010 after President Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory. A president’s party has not held on to the majority in the House since 2002, when the Republicans gained eight seats under the leadership of President George W Bush, who was backed up by the voters following the 9/11 2001 terrorist attacks.
A Grinnell College poll, surveying the US as a whole and not on the state by state basis that determines the winner of the electoral college, found that both Mr Biden and Mr Trump received the support of 40 per cent of the voters. Fourteen per cent said they would vote for a third candidate.
Among Republicans, 80 per cent said they supported Mr Trump, while 87 per cent of Democrats said they supported Mr Biden.
The former president leads among independents, 45 per cent of whom say they support Mr Trump and 28 per cent saying that they back Mr Biden.
A fifth – 20 per cent – of independents said they would support “someone else” if the election was held today and four per cent said that wouldn’t vote.
While neither has announced that they will run in 2024, there are expectations on both sides that they will.
Mr Trump has been teasing a campaign announcement for months and Mr Biden said during his first press conference as president in March that “the answer is yes, my plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation”.
Both the Grinnell College poll and a national survey from Quinnipiac University has shown that Mr Biden’s approval rating is dropping.
The poll from Quinnipiac shows that Mr Biden’s approval rating has dropped one per cent since 6 October – 36 per cent of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the job, while 52 per cent approve.
Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy said of the poll released 6 October: “Battered on trust, doubted on leadership, and challenged on overall competency, President Biden is being hammered on all sides as his approval rating continues its downward slide to a number not seen since the tough scrutiny of the Trump administration.”
In May, the number of Americans who had a favourable view of Mr Biden outnumbered those who had an unfavourable view – 49 to 42 per cent respectively. That dynamic has now been upended, with Quinnipiac’s poll published on Tuesday showing that 38 per cent hold a favourable view of Mr Biden and 50 per cent said their view of the president was unfavourable.
Concerning Mr Trump, 39 per cent of Americans said they have a favourable view of him, while 52 per cent said their view was on the negative side.
In the poll from Grinnell College, 50 per cent said they disapproved of Mr Biden’s job performance and 37 per cent approved. Mr Biden has been judged the hardest on his handling of immigration – an issue where 58 per cent disapprove of his leadership and 27 per cent approve.
When it comes to the economy, 53 per cent disapprove of Mr Biden’s job performance, and 36 per cent approve. The number of Americans who believe the economy will be in a better place in a year’s time stands at 36 per cent, a drop of 11 per cent since March.
“Right now, the math is simple: a majority of Americans believe the economy will be doing worse in 12 months than it is today, and that pessimism is keeping President Biden’s approval ratings in the basement,” Grinnell College National Poll Director Peter Hanson said in a statement. “The president has time to turn his political fortunes around. But if it doesn’t happen soon, Democrats are likely to face a serious reckoning in the 2022 midterm elections.”
Grinnell College polled 745 people between 13 and 17 October and their poll has a margin of error of 3.6 per cent.
Quinnipiac polled 1,342 Americans between 15 and 18 October and their poll has a margin of error of 2.7 per cent.
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