President Biden’s Approval Rating Need to Bounce Back

On March 1st at 9 pm, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, gave his 2022 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. With Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looking on, the President described an agenda that seeks to lift impoverished Americans out of poverty and into the middle class through mass public investment from the government. This ambitious agenda is in jeopardy, however, if Biden is unable to improve what American’s think of his performance so far. To put it simply: he needs to improve his approval ratings.

Before making the address, things were looking pretty bad for the President. The Democratic Party was also performing poorly on the generic ballot with a mere 42.7% approval rating. Biden also had the problem of a low approval rating of 41%, while having to deal with the issue of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On the other hand, states and schools across the country began lifting COVID-19 mask and social distancing restrictions due to decreases in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. While this was much-needed good news for the President, he still has a long way to go.

It is important for him to get his approval rating back on track for many reasons. First of all, it will increase his political capital to negotiate with Democrats and Republicans, a tool that is important for passing legislation through Congress. Secondly, the party in power, which in this case is the Democrats, needs his approval rating to go up in order to win the midterms and the important independent voters that decide elections.

Though it is normal for Presidents to see a drop in their support, it is not a good normal for a sitting president. If the opposition party wins control of one or both chambers of Congress, new problems arise that they did not face before. These issues include not being able to confirm members of their cabinet or administration, the opposition filibustering pieces of legislation supported by the President, and setting up the President’s challengers for success.

If Biden beats back history and is able to improve his approval ratings, he might be able to pass transformative legislation such as the Equality Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and continue the rapid pace of confirmations to important positions in the government.