There’s not much good news for Joe Biden in two new polls from ABC and NBC. The president approval rating is plunging overall, and his handling of both crime and “gun violence” specifically are garnering some of the lowest ratings of any issues addressed in the polls.
The big takeaway from the ABC/Ipsos poll that was released over the weekend is that Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan isn’t exactly the winning issue that Democrats were hoping for. More Americans say that the plan would hurt them rather than help them, and even among Democrats support for the spending bill tops out at just 47%. As ugly as that number is for Biden, the news for the Left gets worse the more you dig into the poll.
His handling of the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding the United States’ infrastructure are the only issues where a majority of the public approves of Biden — 56% and 52%, respectively — and neither is an improvement compared with the last ABC News/Ipsos poll. On both issues, he’s bolstered by near-universal support from members of his own party, as well as about half of independents.
Just under a majority of Americans approve of the president’s handling of climate change (48%) and the economic recovery (47%). Again, relatively high support among Democrats — 78% and 86%, respectively — keeps his approval from sinking too far.
Republicans are generally unified against the president on all issues, but overall approval for Biden takes the biggest hit on issues where Democrats’ and independents’ confidence drops.
While about half (49%) of independents approve of Biden’s handling of climate change, on other issues — economic recovery, gun violence, crime and taxes — independents’ approval hovers around 4 in 10.
The president’s overall approval dips below 40% on three issues: gun violence (39%), Afghanistan (34%) and immigration and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border (31%).
Biden still has the support of about 2/3rds of Democrats when it comes to “gun violence,” which is somewhat surprising given the high-profile flameout of gun control activist David Chipman’s nomination as ATF director. Then again, more than half of all Democrats still back Biden when it comes to Afghanistan and immigration, which is mind boggling to me.
But Biden’s losing independents in a big way when it comes to violent crime, including acts of “gun violence,” and it’s not just in this ABC News poll. Another new survey, this one from NBC News, shows Biden’s overall approval underwater at 42/54, and when respondents were asked which party would be better at addressing violent crime, Republicans were the overwhelming choice of respondents.
Looking ahead to 2022 midterm elections, which will take place a year from now, 47 percent of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 45 percent say they want Republicans in charge — essentially unchanged from August.
But the GOP enjoys a significant enthusiasm advantage at this point in the election cycle, with 69 percent of Republicans expressing a high level of interest about the midterms (on a 1-to-10 scale), versus 58 percent of Democrats who hold the same level of interest.
When asked which party better handles particular issues, Republicans hold double-digit advantages on border security (by 27 points), inflation (24 points), crime (22 points), national security (21 points), the economy (18 points) and being effective and getting things done (13 points).
Now, it’s not unusual for Republicans to have the advantage over Democrats when it comes to dealing with crime, but the 22-point lead for the GOP is the largest recorded by NBC News in polling going back to 1993, and it’s not even close. The previous high for Republicans on the issue was an R+15 gap reported in June of 1995, less than a year after the GOP took control of both chambers of Congress in the 1994 midterms.
As bad as this is for Biden, it should also be an alarm bell for gun owners. I don’t think there’s any chance that Biden is able to move his gun ban through Congress between now and next November, but with his anti-gun legislation bottled up and gun control’s golden boy not installed as ATF director, Democrats are going to want to do something to appeal to the gun control lobby before the midterms, especially if the Supreme Court delivers a win for Second Amendment supporters in the upcoming case challenging New York’s carry laws. Biden’s already targeting home-built firearms and pistols with stabilizing braces through proposed ATF regulations, but with his approval in free fall, I expect we’re in for another round of anti-gun executive actions in the months ahead.