Published on October 4, 2021
Democrats are rightly worried about President Biden’s poor job approval ratings. A closer look at his ratings among independents shows Democrats should be even more worried than they are.
Biden’s overall job approval ratings are bad enough. Only 45.1 percent of Americans approve of his performance per Monday’s RealClearPolitics average; 47.9 percent disapprove. That alone makes Biden less popular at this stage of his presidency than any president in the past 40 years except for Donald Trump.
Among independents, however, Biden is about as unpopular as Trump was at this stage in his presidency. An average of only 39 percent of independents approved of Biden’s performance in the three polls taken between Sept. 18 and 26 that made data available for those voters; 52 percent disapproved. Trump’s comparable numbers among independents in three polls taken between Sept. 22 and 27, 2017, were 38 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval. That means Biden’s minus-13 net job approval among independents is statistically identical to Trump’s minus-12.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.