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Democrats fear Biden’s flagging poll numbers may cost them their congressional majorities

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden

Democrats are worried that President Joe Biden’s sinking approval rating will cost them their slim majorities in Congress in next year’s midterm elections.

With historical midterm headwinds and a Republican-led redistricting effort already at work, many Democrats fear that unless their party leader reverses his current slide, Congress will be handed to Republicans in 2022, according to a report by POLITICO.

A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll found that 59 percent of voters disapprove of Biden’s job performance. A stunning 46 percent of respondents said they believe Biden is doing a worse job as president than expected.

The latest Harvard- Harris Poll also found that voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Biden’s agenda, with nearly 60 percent of voters opposing the president’s ambitious spending package. Furthermore, a majority of Americans believe that Biden is not addressing the nation's most pressing issues, according to CNN’s latest survey.

Even the Democratic Party's own polling paints a grim picture. A survey from House Democrats’ campaign arm earlier this month found that Biden is losing support in battleground districts across the United States, with more than half the voters disapproving of his job performance.

“What I know about his approval ratings right now versus my own is that I'm outpacing him (Biden) by about 30 points," said Rep. Jared Golden, Democrat of Maine, who is facing a tough reelection battle next year.

Three years ago, former President Donald Trump's flagging poll numbers sank the Republican majority in the House, though Republicans managed to keep the Senate. Biden and congressional Democrats may face a similar dynamic next year.

While they have only a handful of vulnerable seats in the Senate, they are already worried about the prospect of losing the House.

But even a favorable Senate map might not be enough. Morning Consult found Biden underwater in the battleground states of Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada and Arizona. 

With elections 11 months away, Democrats hope that Biden will be able to pull out of his current slide once they have fully implemented their legislative agenda.

“We’re in a difficult period now. One of the challenges we have is, we’ve been legislating this year, as he has,” Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania told POLITICO. “While you’re legislating, you’re not communicating.”

Democrats acknowledge they are in trouble and propose finishing the legislating battles as quickly as possible and spending their next few months advertising their achievements.

“Maybe it would be the first time that the Democratic Party has ever been disciplined on message,” said Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut. “But 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.”

However, some lawmakers worry that even if Biden’s signature agenda item, the $1.7 trillion climate and social policy bill, is passed, it will not help Democrats at the ballot box as much as they hope, as voters will not realize its potential benefits for years.

“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,” House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal said.

The Massachusetts Democrat advised the party to focus on seizing “credit” for now.

However, if the COVID-19 pandemic and an ailing economy continue to make headlines next year, it may take more than a single piece of legislation for American voters to change their minds about President Biden’s job performance.


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