Democrat President Joe Biden’s approval rating is the lowest of any modern president at this point in his presidency, excluding former Presidents Donald Trump and Gerald Ford.
Biden, who approaches the 100-day mark of his official tenure with 52 percent approval, according to the Washington Post’s latest survey, surpasses only Trump and Ford in approval ratings at a similar mark in the beginning of a president’s term.
Former Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all performed better at their 100-day marks. Only Trump, who was a highly controversial president, and Ford — who took over the job after Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal and was not elected into the office — had lower approval ratings at the end of their first 100 days.
New WP poll: At 100 days, Biden job approval at 52 percent. Other than Trump, that's lowest of any president at 100 days since Gerald Ford. Taking out Ford and Trump, it's lowest of any president in modern polling era. https://t.co/DOq211pJYj pic.twitter.com/NHDoCilMTM
— Byron York (@ByronYork) April 25, 2021
The Washington Post-ABC News poll, taken April 18 to April 21, surveyed 1,007 American adults and the poll has a 3.5 percent margin of error.
Only 34 percent strongly approved of Biden’s performance as president, while another 18 percent somewhat approved of his performance — for a net approval rating of 52 percent. On the other side — for a net disapproval rating of 42 percent — far more people, 35 percent, strongly disapproved of Biden’s performance than the 7 percent who somewhat disapproved.
The WaPo-ABC poll has been in place for many years, dating back to the beginning of the Reagan administration, tracking presidents’ approval ratings. By comparison, during this survey’s existence, only Trump fared worse than Biden — Trump had 42 percent approval at this mark in his term as president — whereas the immediate two predecessors, Obama and Bush, enjoyed 69 percent and 63 percent respective net approval ratings. Clinton, who won the White House with only 43 percent of the popular vote in an unusual year in which three viable candidates including the then-incumbent president the elder Bush and Ross Perot ran, even had a higher rating at 59 percent this far into his presidency.
The elder Bush, at 71 percent, and Reagan, at 73 percent, also enjoyed much higher approval ratings after their first 100 days than Biden.
Before the WaPo-ABC poll began, presidential approval rating data from Gallup shows every other president except Ford also had higher approval ratings than Biden after 100 days. Carter, at this point in his one-term presidency, was at 63 percent. Nixon, another lightning rod controversial president and the only one in American history to resign, was at 61 percent at this stage of his presidency. Before Nixon, presidents were even more popular, with Johnson at 79 percent, Kennedy at 83 percent, Eisenhower at 73 percent, and Truman at 87 percent after their first 100 days.
Despite the clear trepidation about him among the American public, the establishment media has by and large lined up behind Biden. A study from the Media Research Center shows Biden has received 59 percent positive press during the beginning of his administration, whereas Trump received 89 percent negative coverage during the beginning of his presidency.
The public, in this WaPo-ABC survey, has another warning for Biden as he continues to pursue his agenda. Sixty percent said they want Biden to try to work with Republicans on Capitol Hill “by making major changes to his proposals,” whereas only 30 percent said they want Biden to “try to enact proposals without major changes” and 10 percent said they have no opinion.
Biden campaigned on being a president who would compromise and work with Republicans, but during his presidency he has completely failed on that front so far. His first major legislative package, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus spending plan, only won Democrat support in Congress. Zero Republicans voted for the plan.
Biden seems poised to go a similar route on his so-called “infrastructure” plan. While Republicans have offered alternatives and to negotiate, the Biden team has proposed a multi-trillion dollar plan filled with many things that do not qualify as infrastructure. That has turned Republicans off, and it remains to be seen if Biden will agree to major changes, as the public has indicated it wants, and move more to the middle.
Biden will undoubtedly address all of this and more this coming week when he delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night. Biden will give a speech to the bicameral gathering on Capitol Hill, similar to a State of the Union address but, since it is his first year in office, it is not technically such an address.