‘It’s a tough time’: why is Biden one of the most unpopular US presidents?

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The Guardian

Puzzle of Biden’s unpopularity has some pieces within his control and some not, experts say, as Covid casts a shadow over his first year in office

Joe Biden ends his first year in office at a particularly bleak moment for a US president who promised competency and normalcy.

Much of his domestic agenda is stalled on Capitol Hill, impeded by members of his own party. The virus is once again raging out of control: daily infections of Covid-19 have soared to record levels, hospitalizing more Americans than at any previous point during the pandemic. The administration’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers was blocked by the supreme court’s conservative supermajority. Inflation is at a nearly 40-year high. Diplomatic talks have so far failed to pull Russia back from the brink of war with Ukraine.

After winning more votes than any presidential candidate in American history, Biden is now – just 12 months later – one of the country’s most unpopular presidents.

For months, Biden’s approval ratings have languished in the mid to low 40s, with an average approval rating of 42%. ​​A Quinnipiac poll released last week found him at a dire 33%, which the White House has dismissed as an outlier. Nevertheless, among his modern predecessors, only Donald Trump fared worse at this point in their presidencies.

The puzzle of Biden’s unpopularity has many pieces, pollsters and political analysts say. How much of it is within his control is difficult to say.

Biden came to office with lofty ambitions: he promised to lift the threat of deadly virus and to usher in a new era of responsive governance and bipartisanship in Washington. One year into his presidency, Biden remains confronted by an unabating pandemic, a nation still very much divided and a Republican party that continues to embrace the “big lie” that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

“Whenever a president disappoints expectations, that’s a problem,” said Bill Galston, a senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution who also served as a White House policy adviser to former President Clinton.

By Lauren Gambin

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