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Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's average approval rating has dropped below 50% for the first time since taking office, according to trackers from FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics.

Driving the news: The dip in the president's approval rating is likely tied to the surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant. The downward trend precedes Biden's response to the crisis in Afghanistan, which has drawn intense criticism.

The big picture: Biden has a 49.8% approval rating in the FiveThirtyEight average and 49.4% approval rating in the RCP average.

  • This marks a precipitous decline from the FiveThirtyEight peak of 55.1% in March and the RCP peak of 55.7% in April.
  • Former President Trump's average approval rating mostly hovered between 40%-45% during his term, while former President Obama's largely stayed between 45%-50%, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Go deeper

Aug 23, 2021 - Health

Biden calls on public, private sectors to "step up" vaccine requirements

Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday called on public and private entities to "step up" coronavirus vaccine mandates hours after the Food and Drugs Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.

Why it matters: The U.S. has seen a recent boost in vaccinations, reaching six million shots in the last seven days, according to Biden. "This is critical progress, but we need to move faster," he said in a brief address.

12 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

12 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."