Biden Graded Worse Than Trump in First Year

Polls aren't kind to commander in chief, whose approval rating sits at 40%
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2022 12:35 PM CST
Biden Graded Worse Than Trump in First Year
President Joe Biden leaves after speaking about the coronavirus pandemic in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Aug. 3, 2021.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Wrapping up his first year in office, President Biden is "undeniably weaker than [when] he began it, with his poll numbers having plummeted and his party in danger of being swept out of power on Capitol Hill," reports Politico. A look at the victories, the failures, the challenges ahead, and how American voters see it all:

  • Grades worse than Trump's: Biden fares worse than his predecessor did at this point in his presidency, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll out Wednesday. Some 37% of 2,005 registered voters give Biden an "F" grade, compared to 31% who assign an "A" or "B" grade. In 2018, 35% of respondents gave Trump a failing mark, while 34% gave him an "A" or "B."
  • Unhappy Democrats: More than 85% of Republicans and almost half of independents give Biden a "D" or "F." Democrats have their gripes, too, with 25% assigning a "C" grade and 11% assigning a "D" or "F." However, about 37% of Democrats and 18% of overall respondents give Biden an "A" for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • More approval ratings: Biden's approval rating stands at 40% in the Politico/Morning Consult poll, with 56% disapproval—compared to 44% approval for Trump in early 2018. Gallup also describes a 40% approval rating this month, but puts Biden's first-year average approval rating at 48.9%—higher than Trump's 38.4%, which is the worst on record for a commander in chief, per the Hill. Biden's rating reached as high as 57% in the first half of 2021 before falling to 43% in late summer.
  • Failures: That drop coincided with the deadly US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which followed Biden's premature declaration of "independence" from the coronavirus. Amidst the virus' continued spread, the country remains "as exhausted, angry and divided as ever," despite Biden's promise to bring unity, per CNN. Even Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledges a "level of malaise."

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  • Victories: On the other hand, there have been wins for Biden, among them the passage of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill and a massive vaccine distribution program, per the BBC. Politico points to passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to fix decaying roads, bridges, and water pipes, while CNN describes "a drop in poverty" and "a boom in hiring." Some 6.4 million jobs have been added, per the BBC.
  • 'The job is not done': With continued inflation, a threat of conflict with Russia, and the potential failure of voting rights legislation looming, Biden's team now looks to reassure voters. "President Biden was elected to a four-year term, not a one-year term," White House chief of staff Ron Klain tells Politico. White House press secretary Jen Psaki adds Biden entered office under "an incredibly difficult circumstance," per CNN. And "the job is not done."
(More President Biden stories.)

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