Can President Biden Recover From The Worst Monthly Drop In The Presidential Leadership Index In Two Decades?

Can President Biden Recover From The Worst Monthly Drop In The Presidential Leadership Index In Two Decades?

The editorial team of tippinsights delves deep into the Presidential Leadership Index's historic drop.

tippinsights Editorial Board

September was the biggest monthly decline in the IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index's history, plunging 9.3 points, from 58.7 to 49.8, a 15.8 percent decline.

President Biden's decline surpasses President George W. Bush's previous monthly record of 15.6% set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

It is also the largest monthly point drop, surpassing President Bush's April 2001 drop of 8.7 points.

The Leadership Index by party reads:

  • 85.2 for Democrats,
  • 14.1 for Republicans, and
  • 38.7 for Independents

The Leadership Index showed a significant drop of 13.9 points, or 26.4%, among independents. Republicans showed a drop of 4.6 points or 24.6%. Democrats’ decline of 3.3 points was 3.7%, relatively small in comparison.

TIPP Poll Presidential Leadership Index by Party

Presidential Leadership Index

Job approval has been around since George Gallup's time, and every pollster uses it.

On the other hand, TIPP went above and beyond two decades ago by innovating and developing the Presidential Leadership Index metric.

Our Presidential Leadership Index takes into account three factors: favorability, job approval, and Presidential Leadership.

We compute the favorability component based on the survey question, "Overall, is your opinion of Joe Biden generally favorable, generally unfavorable, or are you not familiar enough to say one way or the other?"

The basis for the index's approval component is the question:   In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as President, or are you not familiar enough to say one way or the other?

The question "How would you describe the leadership that Joe Biden is providing for the country?" is the basis for the leadership component.

For the index and its components, a reading above 50.0 signals optimism, and below 50.0 indicates pessimism.

All three index components fell in September, posting their lows for President Biden's eight-month tenure.

  • The Favorability component declined by 17.3%, dropping from 60.8 in August to 50.3 in September.
  • The Approval component, a measure of how Americans feel about their finances in the next six months, dropped 16.3%, from 60.6 in August to 50.7 this month.
  • The Leadership component declined 13.3% from 54.7 in August to 47.2 in September.
TIPP Poll Presidential Leadership Index Components

The Historic Decline

President Biden ranks third among the six presidencies of the last two decades, eight months after his inauguration. His Presidential Leadership Index falls in between that of Obama's two terms.

  • 53.5 Bush (term 1)
  • 57.0 Obama (term 1)
  • 49.4 Biden
  • 44.8 Obama (term 2)
  • 42.8 Bush (term 2)
  • 40.2 Trump
TIPP Poll Comparing Presidents Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden.

It's also worth noting that Biden's September decline parallels Bush's second-term decline in the same month (the green-colored line and the red dotted line).

Both Bush's second term and Biden's first term saw significant declines in the eighth month following their inaugurations.

Remarkably, President Bush's popularity plummeted after Hurricane Katrina, while President Biden's plummeted after Hurricane Ida.

Of course, the withdrawal from Afghanistan lowered President Biden's Leadership Index.

Under The Hood

The Presidential Leadership Index fell across the board in September.

We compared September's data for 36 demographic groups to the average of the Presidential Leadership Index for the seven months from February to August this year.

The comparison revealed that:

  • September saw decreases of more than 10% for 33 of the 36 demographic groups.
  • Only three groups, Democrats(4%), liberals (8%), and the West Coast (9.5%), experienced less than a 10% decline.
TIPP Poll Presidential Leadership Index Table comparison
Presidential Leadership Index 

President Biden's Report Card

President Biden’s performance dropped on every single issue we track.

  • The proportion of Americans who give him an A (Excellent) or B (Good) for the economy has dropped 11 percentage points, from 48% in August to 37% in September.
  • He took an eight-point drop in immigration and border security (38% in August to 30% in September).
  • He showed a seven-point decrease for handling the coronavirus, handling of crime, and handling of spending and taxes.
  • His foreign policy ratings also fell, with China down 8 points, Iran down 6 points, and Russia down 7 points.
  • Americans who give him an A or B for overall performance dropped from 47% in August to 37% in September.
TIPP Poll President Biden's Performance Ratings Changes

Handling The Coronavirus

78% of Democrats give President Biden an A or B, while only 13% of Republicans and 39% of independents give him good grades.

TIPP Presidential Leadership Polling, Bidens Handling Of the coronavirus

Handling The Economy

While 69% of Democrats give him an A or B, 76% of Republicans and 47% of independents give him a D or F.

TIPP Poll Leadership Index, President Bidnes Handling Of the Economy

Handling The Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Overall, 52% give him a D or F.  A majority (57%) of Democrats give him a good grade.  84% of Republicans and 61% of independents give him failing grades.

TIPP Poll Presidential Leadership Index, President Bidens Handling Of the withdrawal from Afghanistan

To recover from the historic decline, President Biden must ensure success on multiple fronts.

First, President Biden must bring every American home.

Second, as David Wilezol pointed out recently, Americans feel the U.S. is newly vulnerable to the kinds of attacks we fought for two decades to stop. By choosing not to leave behind a residual force that can appropriately monitor and strike al-Qaeda, the Biden Administration is playing with fire, both with our national security and politically. As a result, President Biden is faced with the difficult task of decoupling future terrorist events from the withdrawal.

President Biden should reconsider his position on vaccine mandates.
His administration must also investigate the origins of the coronavirus and shed more light on the possibility of U.S. involvement in virus research funding.

President Biden must resist the temptation to tax and spend.  More taxes are unaffordable for the economy and businesses during a pandemic.  Uncontrolled inflation is already wreaking havoc on the economy, and any unchecked spending is likely to exacerbate inflation.

Last but not least, Israel's defense chief Benny Gantz recently urged the international community to develop a "Plan B" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – which he alleged Tehran was only two months away from acquiring.  President Biden must ensure that events do not escalate to the point where we cannot regain control, as in Afghanistan.

TIPP Takes

Norway's Political Left Wins General Election, Early Projections Say

Labor leader Jonas Gahr Store makes his way to the Labor Party's election event in Folkets Hus in Oslo on September 13, 2021
Labor leader Jonas Gahr Store makes his way to the Labor Party's election event in Oslo on September 13, 2021

The left-wing opposition in Norway has won the country's general election, according to projections released as polls closed at 2100 CET on Monday.

As Norwegians turned out to cast their ballots across the country, fears about climate change put the future of the oil and gas industry at the top of the campaign agenda.

If the results are accurate, she (Former Prime Minister Erna Solberg) looks to be ousted by a left-wing coalition headed by Jonas Gahr Støre, a millionaire ally of former prime minister and now NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.

Larger parties rarely rule alone in Norway; smaller players are usually required to build a majority coalition, and they can have an outsize influence on the government agenda.

Some, like the Greens, are demanding a more radical severing with the country's dominant industry and income stream. Støre, who campaigned against social inequality -- had rejected this, and a parliamentary majority would strengthen his stance.

Deal Allowing Russian Mercenaries Into Mali Is Close

Malians hold a photograph with an image of Colonel Assimi Goita, leader of Mali's military junta, and Russia's flag during a pro-Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) demonstration in Bamako, Mali, May 28, 2021. Photo: Reuters
Malians hold a photograph with an image of Colonel Assimi Goita, leader of Mali's military junta, and Russia's flag during a pro-Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) demonstration in Bamako, Mali, May 28, 2021. Photo: Reuters 

A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa.

Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali from enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony.

A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved. Two other sources believed the number was lower but did not provide figures.

Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services. One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train the Malian military and protect senior officials.

N. Korea Test-Fires New Long-Range Cruise Missile

N. Korea Test-Fires New Long-Range Cruise Missile

North Korea has successfully test-fired a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend, a low-level provocation amid stalled talks with the United States.

The test-firings, which took place Saturday and Sunday without leader Kim Jong-un in attendance, came right after the North held a scaled-down military parade.  North Korea appeared to demonstrate its military power in a low-level provocation without violating U.N. sanctions.

The missiles "traveled for 7,580 seconds along an oval and pattern-8 flight orbits in the air above the territorial land and waters" in North Korea and "hit targets 1,500 km away," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Experts say the North's newly unveiled weapon resembles the U.S.' long-range Tomahawk and South Korea's Hyunmoo-3C cruise missiles.

Facebook Shields VIPs From Some Of Its Rules: Report


Facebook exempts certain celebrities, politicians, and other high-profile users from some of its own rules for posts as part of a program launched as a quality-control mechanism.

According to a report citing internal documents, the program, referred to as "cross-check" or "XCheck," shields millions of elite users from rules that Facebook claims to apply equally at the social network.

The report cites examples of posts from high-profile people, including one from soccer star Neymar showing nude images of a woman who accused him of rape and that Facebook subsequently removed.

A double standard regarding content moderation would defy assurances Facebook gave to an independent board set up as a final arbiter of disputes regarding what is allowed to be posted on the leading social network.


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