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Biden’s Report Card - A Liability For Reelection

Divisive rhetoric cannot offset hard statistics.

Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

President Biden's job approval ratings improved from a 35-month low of 33% in December to 36% in early January. That is the key finding of a nationwide TIPP Poll conducted among 1,401 adults and completed on Friday. The poll has a credibility interval of +/- 2.6 percentage points.

Among Democrats, more than two-thirds (72%) approve of the job he is doing as president. In contrast, a majority of Republicans (87%) and a significant portion of independents (60%) disapprove. Six out of ten (62%) liberals approve, while only 22% 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 optimism, while readings below 50.0 indicate pessimism.

Overall, the index gained 2.4 points to record 39.6 from 37.2 in December, the lowest reading since Biden took office. Among the 36 demographic groups we track, only eight posted readings above 50.

Breaking it down by party, Democrats showed a 3.2-point gain, increasing from 73.1 in December to 76.3 in January. Republicans, on the other hand, saw a 0.1-point decline to 11.4, while independents improved 3.5 points to 29.5.

Why are President Biden's approval ratings taking a hit?

Under Biden's leadership, most Americans believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction. The survey reveals that only 13% are very satisfied with the country's direction, and an additional 20% are somewhat satisfied. Meanwhile, two-thirds (65%) are dissatisfied, with 29% not very satisfied and another 36% 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 January, Republicans (20.3) and independents (28.0) are pessimistic, while Democrats (57.5) are somewhat upbeat.

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 Biden’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. Also, 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.

Overall, one-half (52%) give Biden a “D” or “F” for his handling of the economy. Only 28% give him good grades.

56% of Democrats give him good grades. Meanwhile, most Republicans (80%) and independents (57%) give him failing grades.

Last week, the national debt crossed the $34 trillion mark. On average, the government has borrowed $250,000 for each American household. The government is paying upwards of $1 trillion annually in interest—more than it spends on the nation’s defense!

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 (51%) give Biden a “D” or “F” for his handling of spending and taxes. Only 26% give him good grades.

While 52% of Democrats give him good grades, Republicans (82%) and independents (56%) give him failing grades.


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 Biden administration’s weak immigration policies.

Americans consider immigration the country's second-most important issue after the economy. Even Democratic politicians in several states have declared states of emergency due to the border crisis.

A majority (57%) are dissatisfied with his handling of immigration and border security. Only one in five (20%) are satisfied. While 40% of Democrats are satisfied, 84% of Republicans are dissatisfied. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (63%) of 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.

Nearly half (45%) of Democrats give him an A or B. A large share (28%) gives him only a C. Another 22% give him a D or F.

Most Republicans (55%) give him an F, with another 25% giving him a D. Meanwhile, most independents grade him poorly: 35% 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. Only one-fourth (25%) give him good grades.

Foreign Policy

While Biden is not doing well on domestic issues, he is also not doing well with 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 (22.6) and independents (30.8) are pessimistic, while Democrats are barely optimistic at 57.2.

Handling The Israel-Hamas Conflict

Nearly half (47%) of the poll participants are unhappy with his handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Just a quarter (23%) give him good grades.

While nearly half (45%) of Democrats give him positive grades, a quarter (24%) give him a C, and another 24% give him failing grades of D or F.

Two-thirds (68%) of Republicans and half of independents (51%) give him failing grades.

Handling Iran

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

Nearly one-half (46%) give him failing grades, while one-fifth (22%) give him favorable grades.

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 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 (74%) and independents (50%), while 54% of Democrats are satisfied.

Handling China

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

Only one in five (24%) gives him good grades on the issue. Only Democrats (46%) are satisfied. Most Republicans (75%) and independents (49%) are unhappy.

Handling North Korea

In recent days, North Korea has fired missiles toward South Korea on three separate occasions.

Only one in five (23%) gives him good grades on his handling of the country. Nearly one-half of Democrats (46%) are satisfied. However, most Republicans (71%) and many independents (46%) are dissatisfied.

Overall Performance

When asked to grade Biden’s overall performance as president so far, only 28% give him an A or B, eight points less than his job approval of 36%.

Over one-half of Democrats (54%) give him good grades. Most Republicans (82%) and independents (58%) 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.

In summary, Biden’s approval rating of 36% is worrisome in the context of the coming elections. Despite the advantages of incumbency, Biden may have reached a point of no return, and his chances of reelection appear grim.

TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Our performance in 2020 for accuracy as rated by Washington Post:

Source: Washington Post