As regular Black Ink readers during the Trump years may have noticed, I was fairly obsessed with the now-defeated former president’s approval rating.
Every day, I saw, heard or read more evidence that he was unfit to be president, and his approval rating during pretty much his entire term suggested that by a substantial, roughly 10-percentage-point margin, more Americans disapproved of his performance in office than approved.
No other president in the age of modern polling has been “under water” (as they call a presidential approval poll with more disapprovers than approvers) during his entire term.
On the other hand, to my surprise, Trump’s numbers were staggeringly stable. Nothing made them go up much, nor down either. It almost justified his ridiculous boast that he could shoot someone in broad daylight on New York’s Fifth Avenue and it wouldn’t cost him any support (although when making that boast he never, ever acknowledged that the measurable level of his support was below water).
In trying to understand the larger Trump story it was difficult, for me at least, but necessary to acknowledge that his terrible approval/disapproval numbers were never going to go down/up. But so it was.
During the first seven months of his presidency, Joe Biden’s approval numbers have been above water, but never very high, in the mid-50s approval, versus disapproval in the 40s.
That’s not great. And it is probably more evidence that we are a nation deeply divided along partisan lines. It’s really didn’t used to be like this. But now it is.
Still, in the interests of staying honest about these things, I feel the need report that, seven months into his term, Biden’s approval numbers have slumped, especially recently, and – based on the FiveThirtyEight.com average of many approval polls, recently fell below 50 percent approval for the first time during his term.
On Thursday morning, Biden’s FiveThirtyEight.com approval/disapproval average stood at 49.1 percent approval (his lowest number since taking office), and his average disapproval number stood at 44.5 percent.
Still above water. Still better than Trump’s numbers. But if the trend of the past six months or so holds up, Biden could find himself below water soon.
I won’t speculate on what’s driving them. Some might say it’s the natural end of the “honeymoon” period. Obviously, we remain a polarized nation on such matters. But I would never want to be accused of ignoring the trend just because it isn’t heading the way I wish it would.