Despite an adoring media, Joe Biden’s approval ratings have been terrible for three months now. Most probably expected that after the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan faded from the front pages his approval ratings would improve.
They haven’t. Instead, they kept getting worse as the border crisis remained unresolved, COVID got worse, and high gas prices and inflation took their toll on our wallets.
But, the media, bless them, have done their best to boost Biden whenever possible.
Two weeks ago, Newsweek predicted that the infrastructure bill would stop the bleeding and resuscitate Biden’s presidency. Joe Biden’s approval rating, they said, “could be set to bounce back following the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as a new poll shows wide support for the measure.” They weren’t alone. “Biden’s approval ratings rise as infrastructure bill heads to his desk,” read the headline at the Independent. Wishful thinking, for sure, as Biden’s approval ratings overall have continued to go down since then.
It wouldn’t be the last time the media would get excited over a poll showing Biden’s approval rating going up, however marginally.
The media is going to do what the media is going to do.
Newsweek, which lamented last week that Biden’s approval rating “remains stubbornly low going into Thanksgiving,” giddily declared days later that Biden’s approval rating had risen in a new poll “as pandemic proves strongest Issue.”
The Hill boasted recently that Biden’s approval rating in the Hill-HarrisX poll had gone up two points since October. Two points! What a turnaround! Never mind that Biden is still underwater in that same poll or that those two points Biden gained were just outside the poll’s 1.85 point margin of error.
I’m sure they’re celebrating at the White House over that. Despite my sarcasm, I’m sure they’re happy that the media is at least trying to make it sound like Biden’s bouncing back, as if to give the public permission to forget the historic inflation, high gas prices, the border crisis, the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, etc., etc., etc.
Still, this begs the question: Are Joe Biden’s approval ratings bouncing back?
Well, let’s look at his Real Clear Politics average:
MSM be like: “Biden’s approval ratings bounce back!” pic.twitter.com/9UxrKZ2r84
— Matt Margolis (@mattmargolis) November 29, 2021
Biden’s average approval has ticked up, while his disapproval has ticked down, but when you look at the recent polls that make up Biden’s RealClear Politics average, the aforementioned Hill-HarrisX poll—which shows Biden with a net approval of -1—sticks out as an outlier compared to other polls that show him much lower. Several of those polls have him underwater by double digits, including Rasmussen, Gallup, and Quinnipiac. A USA Today poll from earlier this month had Biden at -21 points.
One thing is clear: Biden’s average approval ratings have ticked up and down while trending downward overall. So, in short, it’s very premature for the media to be popping open the champagne to celebrate Biden’s revival, especially when we don’t know how people will respond to the omicron variant, which hasn’t yet arrived in the U.S. but is likely to at some point.
Ultimately, the media is grasping at straws by hyping small changes in Biden’s approval that may not indicate a trend. But, I guess when you’re desperate to find good news, that’s what you do.