‘The president’s decline is alarming’: Biden trapped in coronavirus malaise

Sarah Longwell, moderate Republican strategist, stated that there is a malaise. She was a vocal supporter for Biden in 2020 and led the focus group with Democratic voters. People don't feel that their lives are better. Some people felt that promises weren't being kept.
Biden and his staff claim that the pandemic's ravages are beginning to recede nearly nine months after he took office. They point out that polling shows strong support for Biden's legislative agenda. It is anchored on physical infrastructure and climate spending programs. They also note the rareness of Democratic legislators breaking ranks even in this difficult time.

However, Biden's popularity with Americans has declined. His average approval rating has fallen by almost 15 points since June. His approval rating has dropped among Democrats, and more so with Republicans. But the drop has been especially steep among independent voters. During the same period, the president tried to save his domestic initiatives amid infighting between Democrats about their size and sequence. He has supervised a chaotic, deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan. He also faced criticism for his handling of the inhumane treatment that was accorded to Haitian migrants at U.S.-Mexico borders.

The pandemic is what makes it even more difficult for the White House and Congress to reverse the slide.

Longwell stated that she was struck at how similar Republicans' concerns were to Democrats, and how little Democrats blame Republicans for standing in Bidens path. Nearly a dozen strategists have reviewed or compiled research on Biden's rapid decline.

Longwell said that Washington's Democrats and Biden are locked in a battle over bills that no one knows the contents of. It looks like a group.

The White House has never denied that Biden's political fate was tied to his handling the Covid-19 battle. They quickly passed a $1.9 trillion relief bill and put so much emphasis on getting people vaccined. Recognizing a problem is not the same as overcoming it. The bullish early proclamations of a country reopening were premature. So was the belief that they could increase vaccination rates through education, persuasion, and access.

Some Republicans, including ex-President Donald Trump, have made Biden's job more difficult by spreading anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and rejecting vaccine and mask-wearing regulations in red counties. Public health experts also criticize the administration's inability to communicate clearly and for slowing down in adopting new methods. Although vaccination rates have increased in recent years due to the push for mandatory vaccines, tens of thousands still have not been vaccinated.

The president and his associates have one clear option: According to reports from top party operatives (some shared with the White House, Democratic committees and POLITICO), Biden must get control of the virus to make it work.

Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist, stated that Biden's sharp drop in popularity can be explained only by public perceptions of Biden's poor handling of the pandemic. He also claimed that the public believes he doesn’t prioritize it. Rosenberg has been in contact with the White House and members of the party committee. He believes that the millions of dollars spent to promote Biden's Build Back Better agenda are reminding voters that President Obama is not focused on the virus. He said that even passing both bills will not be enough to improve Bidens standing unless Democrats prove they are the party responsible in defeating Covid.

It is alarming to see the president's declining health. Rosenberg stated that it is serious. It can also be reversed. It is not possible to reverse it by simply passing these bills. He must control Covid.

Interviews in Georgia's swing state and focus groups in other battlegrounds revealed that most Democratic base voters shared these concerns. Kayla Scott (30), a southeast Atlanta cafe worker, stated that more financial aid from the federal government would be a big help in addressing the pandemic.

Scott, a Black woman who voted in Biden in 2020, stated that many of us do not have children. Because there is no extra help, many of us must be in the public-facing service environment because people are getting sicker every day.

Bidens core voter base is also feeling pandemic fatigue. A nearly 100-page survey of 40 "gettable Democrats" and independents was done in Clark County, Nev. last month. It revealed that voters are feeling anxious, tired, and fatigued.

They are flat on their backs," Gretchen Barton (research director, Democratic-aligned Nonprofit Future Majority), told POLITICO.

Future Majority President Mark Riddle, who recently surveyed battleground states as well as swing congressional districts with Change Research, found it worrying that Biden's approval rating for handling Covid was only 46 percent in battleground state. The polling revealed that voters still trust Democrats (41%) and Republicans (24%), when asked which party has done a better job in defeating Covid.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, acknowledged Friday that the ongoing pandemic is having an impact on Biden's numbers.

This is a very difficult time for our country. Psaki said that we are still fighting Covid, and many people believed we would be over it. She said that the president's main focus isn't on the fluctuating polls but on getting the pandemic undercontrol, returning to normal, and ensuring people have the security of going to work.

Others in the orbit of the president take a longer view. John Anzalone (a long-time Biden pollster) said that he and you will have the conversation one year from now. It will be a different political climate. Biden's numbers will also change.

According to polling analysis and interviews, Democrats stated that they need to reach a point where Biden and the down-ballot candidates don't play offense to Covid. Riddle stated that Biden's directives on vaccine mandates were a good starting point, but he advised Democrats not to let Republicans down for their intransigence or stonewalling. Ron DeSantis from Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas.

Only two presidents, including Trump, have had lower approval ratings in post-World War II times than Biden. This may be due to a more divided nation but his foundering is causing nerves in Democrats across the country, especially Virginia where a governors race will present one of the first major political challenges since Biden assumed office.

Biden's problems are not just due to the virus resurgence. Although Afghanistan and the border are no longer in the news, polls indicate that they have contributed to Biden's slide, particularly in terms of how voters judge his competence in the job. Georgia Democrats stated that they were still confused and upset about Biden's decisions on Afghanistan, the migrants at the border and the intraparty conflict around his economic agenda. Most Black and White voters in Atlanta used the word disillusionment to describe Biden's time in office. However, none of them said that they would abandon Democrats in 2022 or 2024.

Sylvia Bernstein (a 71-year old Biden voter) said that Biden has made terrible mistakes in Afghanistan and refugee issues. Bernstein, a white woman, stated that the budget he's trying to pass is not feasible. He doesn't seem to have much support from the other Democrats. Everyone seems to be in a rut.

Legislative success is the hope of elected Democrats. It will eventually calm voters like Bernstein, and give Biden some relief from the seemingly interminable news cycles that he has endured on Afghanistan withdrawal or the Covid war.

If we get it done, those numbers will turn around," said Jim Clyburn, Majority Whip (D-S.C.), of Bidens job statistics. If we don't do this, those numbers won't turn around.

Clyburn specifically blamed President Trump's pain for the prolonged intraparty fighting over Build Back Better.

The president's programs seem to be what the people want on substance. He said that the problem with the polls is the sausage making, as with everything else. He will not reach 50 if he has the support of one or two senators.


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