With President Joe Biden’s poll numbers lagging and a GOP-dominated redistricting process not in their favor, most Democrats are worried this will lead to losing the majority in Congress in the 2022 midterms, Politico reported.
A poll from the House Democrats’ campaign arm earlier this month showed the president down in battleground districts across the country, with 52% of voters disapproving of the job he’s doing, according to three party members briefed on the data. Some national polls have Biden in the low 40s.
FiveThirtyEight has Biden’s approval rating at 42.8% and disapproval at 50.8% in its latest poll, released Dec. 6.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Biden’s recent numbers are “scary,” Politico reported.
“We’re in a difficult period now. One of the challenges we have is, we’ve been legislating this year, as he has,” said Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, reported Politico. “While you’re legislating, you’re not communicating.”
Democrats have only a handful of vulnerable Senate seats, but multiple at-risk House seats.
While Biden’s poll numbers are below 50% in the battleground states of Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Arizona. Democrat senators in those states are generally running ahead of the president, according to the House Democrat campaign arm’s poll, Politico reported.
Despite low poll numbers, incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said “the president’s always welcome in New Hampshire,” and an aide to incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said she would campaign with Biden, calling him an “important ally” in her work for Nevada.
Biden’s legislative accomplishments like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal that Congress passed and the forthcoming Build Back Better Act, which awaits Senate action, could improve Democrats’ chances in Congressional elections next year.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said: “Theoretically we could finish a historic year of legislating for the middle class in the next month and spend all of our next year talking about what we did.”
House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., advised his party to focus on “seizing credit,” Politico reported.
“The messaging challenge is pretty apparent. When you look at the individual parts of what we’ve done, they’re all not just marginally popular, but they’re wildly popular with the American electorate,” Neal said.
While Build Back Better is a restructuring of the nation’s social safety net, voters won’t realize many of its benefits for years. The economy and bad news about COVID-19 could trump any legislative achievements.
Biden has faced several setbacks since the summer, Politico noted, including the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan and the loss in Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
The Washington Post noted in November after the passage of the infrastructure bill: “Despite the celebratory mood in the White House, it’s far from clear that the bill’s passage and the developments in the economy and the pandemic will solve the problems that have plagued Biden since the late summer. Dismal approval ratings, Democratic worries that he is too insular, struggles promoting his accomplishments, and foreign and domestic upheaval clashing with his campaign promises of calm and competence loomed over Biden’s momentary victory lap.”
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.. said that if Biden’s approval rating remains close to or even a little better than its current levels, Democrats wll have no chance of winning his state’s other open Senate seat, Politico reported.
“He’s got a perfect storm of bad issues,” Tillis said of Biden’s prospects in North Carolina. “At the moment we’ve got a great shot of taking the majority in the Senate.”
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