Over 70% of Americans Think US Going Wrong Way, More Than Half Disapprove of Biden, Poll Shows

© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEINU.S. President Joe Biden lowers his head before he delivers remarks at a proclamation signing to restore protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
U.S. President Joe Biden lowers his head before he delivers remarks at a proclamation signing to restore protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.10.2021
The dismal poll results come just days before a pivotal gubernatorial election in Virginia, which pits Democrat Terry McAuliffe against Republican Glenn Youngkin in a race viewed as a harbinger for next year's congressional elections. ​
According to an NBC News poll released on Sunday, more than half of Americans disapprove of President Biden's job performance, and 71% say the country is moving in the wrong direction.
Furthermore, out of those 7 out of 10 citizens, nearly half of Democrats believe the country is on the wrong track, and nearly 60% of respondents think Biden's economic stewardship is poor just nine months into his presidency.
“Democrats face a country whose opinion of President Biden has turned sharply to the negative since April,” Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, explained the results.
According to Horwitt, Biden's presidency pledge of "knowledge, competence, and stability" in difficult times has been called into question.
“What people voted for was stability and calm," Democratic pollster Peter Hart added. "And what they got was instability and chaos.”
According to the poll, 42% of Americans approve of Biden's overall job performance as president, a 7-point drop since August, with much of the attrition coming from crucial Democratic constituencies. In comparison, 54% disapprove of the president's job performance, up 6 percentage points since August.
With the exception of Donald Trump, whose approval averaged 37% in fall 2017, Biden's approval rating in this poll (42%) is lower than any other modern first-year president's at this point in time, Gallup's historical statistics show.
Biden's job approval rating among a smaller group of registered voters is 45% positive, 52% negative, down from 50% positive, 48% negative in August.
The new poll comes after a tumultuous summer and early fall for the first-term president, which saw him deal with a new wave of COVID-19 cases and deaths, the fallout from the bungled US withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising inflation, disappointing job numbers, and Democratic infighting over Biden's legislative agenda.
However, given that the COVID-19 infection rate and related deaths have recently decreased, according to the poll, 40% of Americans approve of the president's management of the economy and 51% approve of his handling of the coronavirus.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.10.2021
Psaki Defends Biden's Low Approval Ratings by Blaming COVID-19, Unvaccinated Americans
Perhaps, even more concerning for Biden, only 37% of those polled give him high grades for being competent and efficient as president, and only 28% give him high scores for uniting the country on a 5-point scale. In contrast, 50% give him bad marks for competence, and 51% give him low marks for bringing the country together.
Biden's favorable/unfavorable rating (40% positive, 48% negative) in the poll is nearly comparable to Trump's in the same poll (38% positive, 50% negative). This is a big shift from Biden's favorable/unfavorable rating in the 2020 general election, when it was much higher than Trump's.
Interestingly, the 71% of Americans who say the country is heading in the wrong direction include 48% of Democrats, 93% of Republicans and 70% of independents.
"When you see a wrong track of 71 percent, it is a flashing red light,” McInturff noted. “These folks are telling us that this is not going well."
When asked about the country's future, only 41% of those polled believe the country's best days are ahead of it, while 53% believe they are behind it. The responses are quite different when it comes to COVID-19 and the economy, however. The majority of respondents (56%) say the worst is over.
And, when it comes to their financial status, 30% of Americans feel they've improved their situation, while 45% say they've stayed the same. In comparison, 24% feel they're falling behind or falling backward.
In the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, 47% of registered voters favor a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 45% prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.
As for the president himself, when asked on Sunday at a press conference at the G20 summit in Rome about the polling numbers, Biden reiterated his assurance that he is not bothered by the bad approval ratings at all.
“The polls are going to go up and down and down. They were high early and then they went medium and then they went back up and now they’re low. Look at every other president, the same thing has happened,” Biden told reporters.
Instead of focusing on increasing his poll numbers, Biden added that he ran for office to focus on the environmental gains addressed during the conference and the legislative passage of his Build Back Better framework.

Trump Factor Isn't That Significant, Pollster Says

Last but not least, 20% of registered voters say their vote in 2022 will be a symbol of opposition to Trump, while 21% say it will be a signal of opposition to Biden, according to the study. But the absolute majority of voters (52%) said neither Trump nor Biden will have any bearing on their vote.
“Little to me indicates that Trump, a year after the election, is uniquely a figure that’s driving the vote,” McInturff said.
The outlet polled 1,000 American adults between October 23-26. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The full layout of the research results can be viewed at this link.
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