FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver: Biden ‘Promised a Return to Normal and We Haven’t Really Gotten One’

Statistician Nate Silver said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that President Joe Biden had not fulfilled his promise to “return to normal.”

Partial transcript as follows:

SILVER: If you have to sum up Joe Biden’s problem in a nutshell, it’s this, he promised a return to normal and we haven’t really gotten one yet. The biggest part of that is COVID, especially in the wake of the omicron variant. In the most recent Ipsos poll, 52 percent of Americans said either they never expected to return to pre-COVID normal or that it will take more than a year. That’s actually the most pessimistic that Americans have been at any point in the pandemic. It also may be why in a new poll this week, 36 percent of voters say Biden has done a worse job of being president than they expected, as to just 5 percent who say he’s done better.

Meanwhile, Biden’s overall approval rating, which initially declined late this summer as the delta variant surged, has now fallen to 42 percent. In the FiveThirtyEight average, the lowest of his presidency so far. But there is a potential silver lining here for Biden and the Democrats. Early indications are that omicron will come and go pretty quickly. Scientists initially observed this in South Africa. It took only about three weeks when the WHO first named the omicron variant on November 26th, the highest day of cases on December 12.

And we’re also seeing this in New York City where cases have already fallen by well more than 50 percent from their peak just two weeks ago. Now, I won’t predict what comes next after omicron. Still, Americans are so pessimistic about COVID now that if you’re playing the odds, the situation is more likely than not to improve.

So while I think Democrats are in plenty of trouble for the midterms, I don’t buy that omicron necessarily dooms them. It may provide an exit strategy from the acute phase of the pandemic to a more endemic one, where life is more normal again.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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