- 37% approve of job Biden is doing, lowest in his presidency
- Approval among independents slides, tying term low of 31%
- Economic confidence weakens in April
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Joe Biden begins his reelection campaign, his job approval rating among the U.S. public has slipped to 37%, the lowest Gallup has measured for him to date. Biden’s job approval has been in the low 40% range for most of the past 19 months, apart from the current reading and a 38% score last July.
Biden’s latest approval rating is from an April 3-25 Gallup poll, which was completed the day he announced he will seek reelection, and marks a three-point dip from March and a five-point drop from February.
This decline has pulled down Biden’s job approval average for his recently completed ninth quarter in office, which spanned Jan. 20 through April 19, to 39.7%, the lowest quarterly average in his presidency.
Only Ronald Reagan in early 1983 had a lower ninth-quarter average among elected post-World War II presidents. Reagan’s low ratings came during a period when the unemployment rate exceeded 10% after the 1981-1982 economic recession.
Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump had slightly better approval ratings than Biden and Reagan; both were just above 40%. Four presidents, including George H.W. Bush, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and George W. Bush, averaged better than 60% approval during their ninth quarters in office.
The latest poll finds 83% of Democrats, 31% of independents and 4% of Republicans approving of the way Biden is handling his job. The reading among independents ties as his lowest for that group and represents a nine-point decline since February. Biden’s chances of winning a second term will depend heavily on his ability to win independents’ votes.
Biden’s current ratings from Democrats and Republicans are in line with the recent averages for those groups.
Economy Likely a Key Factor in Biden Ratings
The drop in Biden’s job approval corresponds with Americans’ worsening evaluations of the U.S. economy. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index for April is -44, down from -38 in March. It was last at this level in October.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index summarizes Americans’ ratings of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. In the new survey, 16% rate the economy as excellent or good, 37% say it is “only fair” and 47% poor (up from 43% in March).
Meanwhile, 19% say the economy is getting better and 75% worse, compared with ratings of 23% and 72%, respectively, in March.
The Economic Confidence Index has been mostly in negative territory during Biden’s presidency, except for registering +2 in April 2021 and +1 in June 2021. It fell to as low as -58 last June amid record-high gas prices and inflation.
Today, both gas prices and inflation remain elevated, though they are lower than a year ago. The Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates in an attempt to slow inflation. The job market remains strong, with unemployment at 3.5%. However, dozens of major U.S. companies have in recent months announced plans to cut their workforces. The U.S. also recently experienced two of the largest U.S. bank failures in its history, for Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
Many economists fear that a recession is possible in the near future, and the federal government is facing an impending deadline to raise the national debt limit or be unable to pay its bills.
A separate question in the survey finds 35% of U.S. adults expressing a great deal (10%) or a fair amount (25%) of confidence in Biden to do or to recommend the right thing for the economy. Those figures are similar to his 32% approval rating for handling the economy, measured in March. Both the confidence and approval ratings on the economy are down about five points from what Gallup measured a year ago.
Biden’s decision to seek a second term comes at the weakest point in his presidency, according to his Gallup job approval ratings. His support has mainly been stuck in the low 40% range since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Now it has fallen below the 40% mark for just the second time in his presidency, as Americans’ confidence in the economy slips further.
Biden is hardly alone in having sub-50% approval ratings at this stage of his presidency, as seven of 11 elected post-World War II presidents have earned marks averaging below 50% in their ninth quarters in office. But the standings of Reagan, the president with the lowest ratings at this point in his presidency, and George H.W. Bush, who had the highest, underscore how much things can change in the remaining time before Biden faces reelection, as Reagan easily won a second term while Bush was defeated.
Explore President Biden's approval ratings and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.
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