Pro-Biden group promoting gun control deal in pitch to swing state voters

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Inflation and the shaky state of the economy is by far the biggest issue on the minds of voters at the moment, but Democrats are hoping that their focus on abortion and gun control will save them from an Election Day drubbing in November. To that end, the pro-Biden group Building Back Together is buying hundreds of thousands of dollars in air time in key swing states like Nevada, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in order to promote the signing of the Safer Communities Act and attempt to woo undecided voters ahead of the midterms.

The Hill was the first to report on the ad buy, as well as details of the 30-second ad, which you can watch below.

Biden “got it done,” huh? That’s weird, because I don’t remember Joe Biden having anything to do with the negotiations on the bill, other than getting a visit from Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy to update him on the discussions between Senate Democrats and Republicans. In fact, while those negotiations were taking place, Biden was busy talking up the “need” for things that weren’t ever a part of those talks, including a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

Even during the recent White House “celebration” of the new gun control law Biden wasn’t content to try to talk up all of its supposed benefits. Instead he used the event to push for his proposed gun ban and other restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms that would run afoul of the Constitution but wouldn’t do anything to actually reduce violent crime (reducing legal gun ownership, on the other hand…).

The new ad from Building Back Together nods at the president’s pursuit of his gun ban by declaring that “Biden knows we need more action”, but its main thrust is that Biden has actually accomplished something (even if in reality he had little to do with what got to his desk).

Biden’s not on the ballot this fall, however, so why is BBT even running this ad? Probably because he’s the face of the Democratic Party at the moment, and he now has the lowest mid-term approval rating of any president since World War II. Even worse for Democrats, as my friend and colleague Ed Morrissey points out at HotAir, the low approval ratings are coupled with a sharp decline in his favorability numbers as well.

Biden went into office reasonable well-liked too, but the avuncular act has utterly flopped since the fiasco in Afghanistan. Between his inauguration and the retreat/rout in mid-August, Biden didn’t have a single net-negative favorability poll result in the surveys tracked by RCP. After the end of Afghanistan, Biden has not had a single net-positive result on personal favorability, although he’s managed a few ties. Right now the RCP aggregate average on Biden’s personal favorability is 42.2/53.9, and the latest NYT/Siena poll puts it at 39/58.

Not only do a record level of voters disapprove of Biden’s performance, he’s also massively unpopular on a personal basis. And that makes it much more difficult for Biden to get off the canvas, and for Democrats to do so as well. The more he shouts and demagogues, the worse he will do on favorability, which will infect any attempts to rehabilitate his job approval. About the only thing that would solve both is for Biden to take firm, effective, and strategic action to address inflation and have that put a dent in its trajectory.

Instead, Biden and his team are insisting that inflation reports are overblown, that people aren’t really getting hurt by it, and/or that it’s all corporate greed, the fault of Vladimir Putin, or caused by Republicans that refuse to allow Biden to spend a few trillion dollars more on his progressive climate-change agenda. That is the product of Biden’s fantasy that his utter failure and collapse in voter confidence is simply a product of messaging rather than a rational evaluation of his incompetence.

Joe Biden has indeed achieved records in both job-approval and favorability collapses the old-fashioned way — by being a thoroughly incompetent crank. Democrats may hope to avoid accountability for foisting a thoroughly incompetent crank on the electorate, but that will take a lot more than a messaging strategy.

Will the Senate’s gun control deal be the magic bullet (no pun intended) for Biden and the Democrats’ attempt to salvage the midterms? Not a chance. Not only are economic concerns far more important to most voters, a majority of Americans surveyed by Pew Research think the new law will not do much to improve public safety or reduce crime. Less than 10% of survey respondents feel like the Senate’s gun deal will have a major impact on violent crime, and more than one third of respondents say the new law will have no impact whatsoever.

This is not the stuff that midterm miracles are made of, but given the paucity of Biden successes to point I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Democrats trying to puff up the president by touting the new gun control measures. Like the new law itself, however, I don’t think this ad is going to make much difference to voters fed up with Bidenflation when Election Day rolls around.

Aug 18, 2022 5:30 PM ET