Aug 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Dems warm to Biden again

Side-by-side images of Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).
Left: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images); Right: Democratic Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

As President Biden's political fortunes improve, some swing-state Democrats are acting more comfortable about appearing with the president.

Why it matters: For most of the summer, the president was persona non grata for nearly any Democrat running in a tough race this November. But that's beginning to change.

What we're watching: Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate nominee, John Fetterman, told The New York Times he won't be attending Biden's Tuesday's event because he has a previously planned fundraiser in Pittsburgh.

  • But Fetterman's campaign told Axios he does plan on being at a Labor Day parade with Biden next Monday. "John will be marching in the Labor Day parade in Pittsburgh next week, and he looks forward to talking to the President there about the need to finally decriminalize marijuana," Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello said.

By the numbers: A new Gallup poll shows Biden's job approval jumping to 44% this month — up from 38% last month — with support among independents surging nine points (to 40%). Those aren't good numbers, but they're much better than rock-bottom levels earlier this year.

What they're saying: Cartwright, who represents Scranton, Biden's birthplace, is one of a few Democrats in a competitive race who's been willing to appear alongside the president. Trump carried Cartwright's district by three percentage points in 2020.

  • “I’ve been friends with Joe Biden for 30 years. What kind of person distances themselves from their friends just because their friends are a few points down in the polls?" Cartwright told the Washington Post.
  • Josh Shapiro, currently the state attorney general, considers supporting police and public safety — the subject of Biden's speech today — to be "a crucial priority" and "he will be speaking at the administration’s announcement on their efforts to support law enforcement," Shapiro's spokesman, Jacklin Rhoads, said in a statement to Axios.

The bottom line: It's probably easier for swing-state Democrats to explain to voters who are down on Biden a decision to appear with him at an official White House event than a purely political gathering.

  • But when a Democrat in a Trump-carried district is willing to publicly sing Biden's praises, it signals a vibe shift.
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