Boots & Sabers

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2041, 18 Jul 23

Biden’s Unpopularity

He’s unpopular because he’s a terrible president. Let’s hope that the Republicans aren’t so stupid as to nominate the only candidate that Biden can beat.

At this point in his term — about 910 days in — Joe Biden is the second-most-unpopular president in modern U.S. history. As of July 18, Biden’s average job-approval rating, according to the poll aggregators at FiveThirtyEight, is a paltry 39.1%; his average disapproval rating is 55.4%. That means his “net approval rating” is -16.3%, which is well “underwater,” as pollsters like to say.


Negative 16.3% is also really bad historically speaking. In fact, the only president with weaker numbers than Biden was Jimmy Carter, who hit -28.6% on day 910. At the time, just 29% of Americans approved of Carter’s performance on average, while 57.6% disapproved.


2041, 18 July 2023


  1. Mar

    “Let’s hope that the Republicans aren’t so stupid as to nominate the only candidate that Biden can beat.”
    And who would that be?

  2. Jason

    Well considering where the Republicans are holding their conference… It’s not looking good.

  3. Merlin

    Both Biden and Trump share a roughly flatlined -16% favorability rating. Kamala Harris is consistently -12%.

    What are the numbers on the preferred professional Republican candidate? Sticking with 538’s data that would be DeSantis trailing Trump by 30 and trending downward among Republicans, with an overall favorability of -10.5%.

    DeSantis does have undeniably better overall favorability numbers. He also has miserably low favorability among the Republican voters necessary to secure the party’s nomination. I have no idea how he gets beyond the obstacle that is Donald Trump without Trump somehow suspending his campaign well before the end of the primary season. Even at that point DeSantis becomes the default rather than the preferred candidate and that would likely leave Republican voter turnout for the general a bit iffy. Any perception that the path for DeSantis has been artificially cleared will not play well at all. Professional Republicans have spent the last several years grudgingly reconciling their stubborn refusal to responsibly represent their voters, so I think there’s something of a compromise on the way.

    There’s a long way to go here. The entire political landscape could look very different a year from now.

  4. dad29

    Any perception that the path for DeSantis has been artificially cleared will not play well at all

    Like, for example, Fox News’ super-support for DeSantis, or the Big Money Class’ monster donations to him?

    The Establishment Pubbies–the Globaloney War-Mongers–have not done very well for the country ever since Bush the Dumber. You say that ‘they are ‘grudgingly’ compromising. How? Where? When?

    Trump has lots of negatives. But the Perma-War/Screw US Interests types–are the worst of the two alternatives, and DeSantis happens to be their guy.

  5. Merlin

    Yeah, I wouldn’t call it compromise. It’s more an increasing recognition of no path forward without the votes from their redheaded stepchildren.

  6. dad29

    OK. So the real question is this: do they care?

    It’s entirely possible, or even likely, that if the (R) loses in ’24, there will be a large yawn from Ryan, and business as usual. JPMChase is already pairing up with BlackRock to finance the rebuild of Ukraine; you can bet large that two or three (or more) US contractors are already over there with transits–plus their US suppliers, etc., etc.

    They don’t care who picks up the tab, so long as their name is on the Payee line.

  7. Merlin

    Blowing off 2024 over TDS is not in their best interests. The RNC’s business is the political influence of the flow of money. Their big money donors (investors) rightfully expect significant returns on their investment. Their voters are increasingly demanding that Main Street interests be adequately represented and until they do away with elections, it’s still the voters who award the crown (absent significant fraud).

    Dems have clearly demonstrated they have absolutely no interest in sharing power (money) when it’s not necessary. The prospect of a twenty year RNC absence from the biggest seat at the big boys table deciding the flow of money shreds the incentive of the donor class to invest in the RNC. I say a full twenty years because I’m not willing to give them credit for much of anything occurring during Trump’s term. They spent four years worth of political capital pissing in Trump’s corn flakes. If you’re a big money donor why invest significantly in an entity with such diminished influence on ROI? Meanwhile voters are becoming less inclined to support the recent past RNC business model. The RNC doesn’t really have status quo as a viable option.

    I see DeSantis as their sop to Main Street of a wholly owned Trump-lite figure, but DeSantis is not selling well at all as a Trump heir-apparent. They’re experiencing Jeb! 2.0 and those mega-donors cannot be happy about it. Wall Street and Main Street interests need not necessarily be mutually exclusive. The RNC’s longterm survival depends on some bridge building. Doesn’t mean they’re smart enough to do it, tho.

  8. dad29

    They’re experiencing Jeb! 2.0 and those mega-donors cannot be happy about it

    Rumors are that they are already “Now Or Never”-singing, which is why DeSantis made an emergency trip to NYC and why he cut 30% of his campaign staff.

    You’re optimistic that Main/Wall street interests can be merged successfully. I’m not.

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