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Biden approval rating hits all-time low as economic fears grow

The president’s job approval has slipped to 37% going into the midterm elections. Though most Americans agree with Democrats on key social issues, their biggest concern is the economy getting worse.

(CN) — President Joe Biden’s job approval is at its lowest point yet after months of continued decline amid surging inflation and other economic concerns, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday.  

A year and a half into his term, just 37% of Americans approve of the way Biden is handling his job, while 62% disapprove. That’s a significant drop in support from just a few months ago in March, when 43% approved of the president and 55% disapproved.  

Breaking it down by demographics, men were more likely (64%) to disapprove of Biden than women (60%). Black adults are the only racial group to have a positive outlook on the president's time in office, with 57% approving of the way he is handling his job. On the contrary, 68% of white Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance, along with 52% of Hispanics and 55% of Asian Americans.

Younger Americans are more critical of the president than older adults. Sixty-six percent of Americans ages 18-29 and 64% ages 30-49 have a negative view of the president's job performance. A slightly lower share of Americans ages 50-64 and 65 and up (58% for both groups) shared that sentiment.

Worsening economic conditions have soured the president's job approval. With inflation and the rising cost of everyday goods hitting pocketbooks hard, 56% of respondents believe Biden’s policies have made the economy worse. Thirty-two percent said his policies have not had much effect, while only 11% of the public thought that the president’s policies have made economic conditions better.

Breaking the numbers down along party lines, an overwhelming 90% of those who identify as Republicans saw Biden’s work as making economic conditions worse.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, their Democratic counterparts were not so sure. Fifty-two percent said the president's policies have not had an effect, whereas 27% said they have made the economy worse. Twenty percent of Democrats believed the president has made economic conditions better during his time in office.

Members of both parties who view economic conditions as good or excellent have shrunk significantly since January. At the beginning of 2022, 36% of Democrats and 20% of Republicans held a positive view of the economy. Now over halfway through the year, 20% of Democrats and just 5% of Republicans said the same.

Americans are most concerned with the rising price of food, consumer goods and gasoline. Seventy-five percent saw these costs as very concerning. For 60% of respondents, the rising cost of housing was also very concerning. Less than half were very concerned about the availability of consumer products and less than 35% were very concerned with employers finding people to work, how the stock market is doing or if people who are looking for work find it.

The public's opinion of the Democratic and Republican parties remains largely unfavorable, at 57% and 61% disapproval, respectively.

That disapproval is also present in the public’s view of other top leaders in either party. In the Democratic Party, 60% saw House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California as unfavorable, even worse than Biden's 55%. Fifty-two percent held unfavorable opinions about Vice President Kamala Harris and 43% said the same of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

On the Republican side, 60% of respondents held unfavorable opinions of former President Donald Trump, with his former Vice President Mike Pence polling at 52% unfavorability. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had the highest unfavorable rating in the GOP at 62%, while 41% had the same view of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.

Going into the midterm elections with high unfavorability ratings from the American public, neither party has positioned itself to be a leader on all key issues. 

More people agree with the Republican Party’s approach to economic policy than the Democratic Party, 40% to 33%. Similarly, 37% of Americans believe Republicans have a better approach to crime policy, compared to 32% who agree more with the Democratic Party on that issue. Nearly an equal amount of Americans agree with the Republican Party (38%) and the Democratic Party (37%) on their approaches to immigration policy.  

When it comes to policies over guns, health care, race, the Covid-19 pandemic, abortion, climate change, and LGBT people, more people agree with Democrats. For example, on the issue of abortion, 43% of Americans agree with the Democratic Party, whereas 29% agreed with the Republican Party. This issue is expected to play a big role in the 2022 midterm elections after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion.

The Pew Research Center conducted the survey of 6,174 American adults between June 27 and July 4, after the Supreme Court released its ruling that leaves abortion rights to the states.

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