In his nine months of office, President Biden lost support from Americans of all stripes, Black voters and White voters, Zoomers, Baby Boomers, and other voters. Even Democrats at large are less enthused. Two groups have suffered the most from Biden's loss of support: Hispanics and independents. Biden's approval rating among independents is now at the level of the very negative ratings they gave to Donald Trump during his presidency. Hispanics are disapproving of Biden more than they were last November, when they began to shift toward Trump and the GOP.
It is not unusual for a president's approval rating to plummet during his first nine months of office. The president's honeymoon period usually ends by that time, as opposition to his agenda grows and new administration actions are criticized. The chart below shows that most presidents have seen their approval ratings drop within the first few months of their tenure, with some exceptions.
Biden, Trump, and Barack Obama, for example, all experienced clear declines in their first nine months of office. However, they started from different points. Obama dropped from the mid-50s and the mid-40s, while Biden fell from the mid-50s and the low 50s. Trump plummeted from the mid-40s and the high 30s. However, former Presidents Bill Clinton (and George W. Bush) didn't follow this pattern. Clinton's approval rating dropped a few months after he took office, but it rose again in the summer, possibly a sign of hope for Biden. Meanwhile, in 2001, Bushs approval rating didnt change much until it skyrocketed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a textbook example of the rally-around-the-flag effect.
However, the political climate is so hyperpolarized that Biden may have trouble gaining back support. Biden's approval rating seems to have stabilized at the low 40s. However, there is no sign that his approval rating will rebound. Part of this is due to Bidens rough numbers with independents and Hispanics as well as his position on important issues such COVID-19, and the economy.
Independents are perhaps the most obvious area where Biden is losing support. According to the chart below, Biden's approval among independents has fallen from 50 percent in late spring and earlysummer, when we measured support by party ID. His slide among Republicans and Democrats hasn't been nearly so significant.
While it is true that Biden was not given much chance by the Republicans and that many independents tend to lean towards one party, independents are still more political malleable than Democrats and Republicans. It is a problem for Biden in that the largest group of voters disapproves now of his job as president.
The decline in independent support for Biden may also be due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been America's number-one concern since Biden became president. While this has clearly hurt Biden among most Americans, the dissatisfaction of independents with Biden's handling of the pandemic is particularly evident. According to FiveThirtyEights coronavirus approval tracker, 60 percent of independents supported Biden's response to the coronavirus in June. However, that number has fallen to below 42 percent now.
The economy is also a major concern for Independents. The Economist/YouGov poll found that only 41% of Americans approve of Biden's handling of jobs, and a new Politico/Morning Consult poll found that just 41% of registered voters approve of his economy handling. This is a decrease from his numbers on these issues in June when he was 8 percentage points higher than The Economist/YouGov polling and 6 points higher by Politico/Morning Consult. Independents are even more dissatisfied with Biden's economy handling, as their approval has fallen from the low 40s in June down to around 30%.
It is important to win support from independents because it helps a president reach overall popularity. But support from the base is also vital and that is where Biden is having trouble. His job approval rating among Democrats is still very high. However, it has dropped from 90 percent in early summer to the low 80s now. There are signs of deteriorating support among Black Americans and Hispanic Americans who are more likely than white Americans to identify themselves as Democrats. The chart below shows that there has been a decline in support for Biden across all three racial/ethnic groups. However, the most dramatic drop was among Hispanics, who dropped from the high 60s down to just below 50 percent.
Recent polling shows that Hispanics are less satisfied with Biden's handling of the pandemic. The Economist/YouGov's latest poll found that only 45 percent of Hispanics approve of Biden's handling of the pandemic. This is a sharp drop from 65 percent in June. Politico/Morning Consults' new survey revealed that Hispanic approval for Biden's economy handling has fallen to 42 percent from 60 percent in June. Hispanics are also dissatisfied with the way Biden has handled immigration, long a weak issue in the public's eyes. Although it isn't the most important issue to Hispanic voters it is often the most salient. Quinnipiac University discovered that only 23% of Hispanic Americans approve of Biden's immigration work, compared to 49% in May. Although this might seem to be a low score for Biden's, the new Politico/Morning Consult poll also showed that he performed worse on the issue among Hispanic voters. Only 40% approved of him, compared to 51 percent in June.
Biden has lost ground with almost all demographic groups over the last few months. But, independents and Hispanics stand out as key groups where Biden's standing has been slipping. Biden's overall approval rating for Democrats is worrying enough. However, if Biden struggles to win Hispanics and independents, it could end any chance Democrats have of holding either the 2022 or 2023 midterms. Independents supported Democrats in the 2018 midterms, and Biden won last November. Despite Republicans making gains in Texass Rio Grande Valley with Hispanics, Hispanics still overwhelmingly backed Biden, which helped him win key swing states like Arizona. If Republicans can capitalize upon Biden's weakness among these groups, they could be their ticket to control Congress next year.