President Biden’s approval rating just keeps sinking and sinking—down to a low of just 39 percent in the FiveThirtyEight poll average, or about three points below where Donald Trump was at a similar point in his term. Unlike Trump, Biden’s poor numbers are mainly thanks to weak support among his own base. Where Trump commanded virtual lockstep loyalty among Republicans, Biden is staggeringly unpopular among wide swaths of Democrats—particularly young folks. Americans aged 18–29 have gone from +37 approval at the beginning of his term to 11 points net disapproval today.
Part of this has to do with how Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have obstructed Biden’s agenda, making him look weak and helpless. But a lot of it is entirely his own fault. At a time when Democrats are desperate for leadership—especially some kind of strategy to deal with a lawless and extreme Supreme Court—he is missing in action.
If Biden can’t shore up support among his core constituencies, he will undoubtedly attract primary challengers. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and California Gov. Gavin Newsom are already eyeing the possibility, and rightly so, because running a candidate with sub-40 percent approval is asking to get whipped in 2024. [Continue reading…]