Sep 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Biden approval rating flashes warnings in two new polls

Joe Biden walks alone toward the White House.

President Biden returns to the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Two new national polls reflect discontent among voters with how President Biden's term is going.

Why it matters: Biden's disapproval rating — 56% in polls from The Washington Post-ABC News and NBC News — is a warning sign for Democrats. The president appears locked in a dead heat with former President Trump in most general-election polling.

  • In the Post-ABC poll, 44% said they're worse off — the most for any president in the poll since Ronald Reagan in 1986, ABC News' Gary Langer said in his poll analysis.
  • In NBC, Biden's disapproval rating is the highest of his term for that poll.

By the numbers: A majority of voters polled in the Post-ABC poll felt the economy; prices of food, energy and gas; the unemployment rate; and average wages were all either "poor" or "not so good."

  • 91% agreed the cost of food was a negative. 87% felt the same about gas and energy prices.
  • 74% are concerned about the state of the U.S. economy, and 75% about wages.

In the NBC poll, 50% said they were "very dissatisfied" with the economy.

What they're saying: "A variety of factors may be at play," Langer writes in his analysis. "Biden's poor performance ratings, the extent of economic discontent, the immigration crisis and doubts about his age clearly are relevant."

  • "All have been the subject of extensive recent news coverage, focusing public discourse on negatives for the president."

Worth noting: Among respondents who say Trump should be prohibited by the Constitution from serving again, 18% support him over Biden, Langer said:

  • "Such people seem to be expressing their antipathy toward Biden, not their support for Trump."
  • NBC has Trump and Biden in a dead heat nationally among registered voters, 46% apiece. The Post-ABC poll found Trump beating Biden by 10 points — 52% to 42%.

Reality check: The Post acknowledged today that the poll results are "probably an outlier."

  • Trump's sizable lead "is significantly at odds with other public polls that show the general election contest a virtual dead heat."

Methodologies: The P0st-NBC poll was conducted by landline and cellphone Sept. 15-20, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,006 adults, with a sampling error of ±3.5 percentage points.

  • The NBC News poll was conducted Sept. 15-19 of 1,000 registered voters — including 848 contacted by cellphone — and has a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points.
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