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Biden’s Lackluster Report Card — An Albatross For Reelection

Fewer than 30% give the President favorable grades on all ten issues we track.

The albatross visits the Mariner and his crew in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," as illustrated in 1876 by Gustave Doré. / Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

President Biden's job approval ratings improved from a 35-month low of 33% in December to 36% in January. It remains frozen at 36% in early February. That is the key finding of a nationwide TIPP Poll, which surveyed 1,402 Americans from January 31 to February 2. The credibility interval for the survey is +/- 2.7 percentage points.

Among Democrats, more than two-thirds (69%) approve of the job he is doing as president. In contrast, a majority of Republicans (84%) and a significant portion of independents (58%) disapprove. While two-thirds (66%) of liberals approve, only 19% of conservatives and a third of moderates express approval.

TIPP developed the Presidential Leadership Index to facilitate easy tracking, an innovative metric considering favorability, job approval, and Presidential Leadership.

The Presidential Leadership Index is calculated as the average of these three components. Readings above 50.0 signify approval, while readings below 50.0 indicate disapproval.

Overall, the index weakened 0.2 points to record 39.4 from 39.6 in January. Among the 36 demographic groups we track, only five posted readings above 50.

Breaking it down by party, Democrats dropped 4.5 points, declining from 76.3 in January to 71.8 in February. Republicans, on the other hand, saw a 0.6-point gain to 12.0, and independents improved 2.7 points to 32.2.

Overall Performance

When asked to grade Biden’s overall performance as president so far, only 27% give him an A or B, nine points less than his job approval of 36%.

Over one-half of Democrats (54%) give him good grades. Most Republicans (82%) and independents (54%) give failing grades.

The chart below summarizes how Americans see Biden’s handling of issues. Notice that Biden gets favorable ratings from fewer than 30% of people on all issues.

Further, a majority gives him a D or F for four issues and pegs him in the 40% to 50% range on six issues.

Why are President Biden's approval ratings weak? Let us dig deeper and look at a few issues important to Americans.

Handling Of The Economy

The economy is the #1 issue for Americans, and Biden fails miserably on that front. His economic policies, collectively branded as “Bidenomics,” have not favored Americans. Bidenflation, the price increase for goods and services under the President’s watch, runs at 17%.

Americans’ wages have stagnated, and many have taken up second jobs or rely on credit cards to make ends meet. Squeezed by high Bidenflation, Americans are racking up credit card debt.

In a recent TIPP Poll, 58% said they weren’t better off than they were four years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic, while only 34% said they were.

Further, two-thirds live ‘Paycheck To Paycheck’ under Biden, and 24% of Americans have $0 for financial emergencies.

Every day, Americans wake up to new layoffs.

Overall, one-half (53%) give Biden a “D” or “F” for his handling of the economy. Only 27% give him good grades.

52% of Democrats give him good grades. Meanwhile, most Republicans (80%) and independents (59%) give him failing grades.

Handling Spending

In January, the national debt crossed the $34 trillion mark, making the U.S. the most indebted country in the world. On average, the government has borrowed $250,000 for each American household. The debt clock is racing at $9 billion daily, with Americans paying $1 trillion as interest to service the debt.

Most Americans believe the debt situation is unsustainable and want to rein in government spending. Recently, President Biden's proposal to spend $100 billion on Ukraine, Israel, and border security was blocked by the Republican-controlled House.

Overall, one-half (54%) give Biden a “D” or “F” for his handling of spending and taxes. Only 25% give him good grades.

While 48% of Democrats give him good grades, Republicans (84%) and independents (56%) give him failing grades.


Americans consider immigration the country's second-most important issue after the economy. The importance of immigration increased sharply from 29% in December to 36% in January and remained at that level in February.

Biden has neglected the influx of migrants through the southern border. Estimates say as many as seven million people have crossed the border under the President’s watch. It is not an exaggeration to state that there is an invasion at the southern border, and the crisis results from the administration’s weak immigration policies.

Even Democratic politicians in several states have declared states of emergency due to the illegal migrant crisis. The issue alienates voters in large cities, who tend to support the Democratic party.

A majority (58%) are dissatisfied with his handling of immigration and border security. Only one in five (19%) are satisfied. While 38% of Democrats are satisfied, 87% of Republicans are dissatisfied. Meanwhile, nearly six in ten (60%) independents are dissatisfied.

Handling Crime

Weak immigration policies contribute to an increase in crime. Americans are experiencing increased crime in their neighborhoods.

This month, over half (51%) give Biden failing grades for his handling of crime. Only 23% give him an A or B.

Among Democrats, over four in ten (43%) give him an A or B. A large share (30%) gives him only a C. Another 22% give him a D or F.

Most Republicans (54%) give him an F, with another 23% giving him a D. Meanwhile, most independents grade him poorly: 33% give him a F, and 21% give him a D.


The outbreak of conflict in the Middle East has brought attention to antisemitism in America. Three-fourths (76%) of respondents in a recent I&I/TIPP Poll called antisemitism and anti-Jewish prejudice either a very serious (43%) or a somewhat serious (33%) problem.

Many feel that Biden has not addressed the problem forcefully enough. Only one-fourth (26%) give him good grades on handling the situation.

Foreign Policy

While Biden is not doing well on domestic issues, he is also faltering on foreign affairs. The TIPP Standing In The World Index measures how Americans feel about the nation’s standing in the world, a proxy measure of the effectiveness of the president’s foreign policy.

The index ranges from 0 to 100, where scores above 50 are considered positive, scores below 50 are negative, and 50 represents a neutral standpoint.

The overall index has been in the pessimistic region since August 2021. In January, Republicans (24.1) and independents (29.6) are pessimistic, while Democrats are barely optimistic at 50.6.

Handling The Israel-Hamas Conflict

Nearly half (48%) of the survey participants are unhappy with Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Just over one-fifth (22%) of them give him good grades.

While over a third (39%) of Democrats give him positive grades, a quarter (28%) give him a C, and another 26% give him failing grades of D or F.

Two-thirds (70%) of Republicans and half of independents (50%) give him failing grades.

Handling Iran

A segment of Americans thinks that the $6 billion Biden gave to Iran has helped fund terrorist activities by Hamas and other proxy actors. Biden’s efforts to slow Iran's acquisition of a nuclear bomb have not been effective.

Further, the Red Sea attacks pose a significant risk to the American economy. If the situation gets out of hand, costs for imports, energy, and food could go up.

Nearly one-half (49%) give him failing grades for Biden's handling of Iran, while around one-fifth (22%) give him favorable grades. (The poll was taken before the U.S. and UK retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria.)

Russia-Ukraine War

The U.S. is fighting a proxy war with Russia, and President Biden has yet to develop a strategy to end the war. ‘As long as it takes’ is his disastrous strategy. Most Americans think Biden has not done enough to end the war. He has already committed over $100 billion, and the U.S. is on tap to fund Ukraine’s reconstruction, estimated at $750 billion.

The data echoes the dissatisfaction, with 45% giving him a D or F for handling the war. Only 28% see Biden in a positive light on this issue.

Dissatisfaction runs high among Republicans (71%) and independents (44%), while 48% of Democrats are satisfied.

Handling China

Americans don’t think President Biden is tough against China, the country’s biggest competitor.

A quarter (25%) gives him good grades on the issue. Only Democrats (45%) are satisfied. Most Republicans (75%) and independents (45%) are unhappy.

Handling North Korea

In recent weeks, North Korea has fired more missiles toward South Korea and the Yellow Sea. It also tested underwater nuclear weapons systems.

Only one in five (24%) gives him good grades on his handling of the country. Nearly one-half of Democrats (45%) are satisfied. However, most Republicans (70%) and many independents (41%) are dissatisfied.

In summary, most Americans believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction under Biden's leadership. The survey reveals that only 10% are very satisfied with the country's direction, and an additional 23% are somewhat satisfied. Meanwhile, two-thirds (65%) are dissatisfied, with 37% not very satisfied and another 28% not at all satisfied.

Our Direction of Country Index converts these responses to facilitate easy tracking and ranges from 0 to 100, where scores above 50 are considered positive, below 50 are negative, and 50 represents a neutral standpoint.

The overall index has been in the pessimistic region since August 2021. In February, Republicans (20.4) and independents (29.2) are pessimistic, while Democrats (53.4) are somewhat upbeat.

In short, Biden’s approval rating of 36% is problematic in the context of the coming elections. Despite the advantages of incumbency, Biden may have reached a point of no return, and his reelection chances don’t appear bright.

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Source: Washington Post