A majority of Americans now disapprove of U.S. President Joe Biden's job performance, while half give him low marks for competence and uniting the country, according to results from the latest national NBC News poll.
What's more, the survey finds that 7 in 10 adults, including almost half of Democrats, believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction, as well as nearly 60% who view Biden's stewardship of the economy negatively just nine months into his presidency.
One year before next year's midterm elections and less than a week before Virginia's closely watched race for governor, Biden's lower standing has also taken a toll on his party: Democrats trail Republicans on which party better handles the economy, inflation and immigration, while they’ve lost ground on issues like education and the coronavirus.
In the poll, 42% of adults say they approve of Biden’s overall job as president — a decline of 7 points since August, with much of the attrition coming from key parts of the Democratic base.
That’s compared to 54% who say they disapprove of the president’s job, which is up 6 points since August.
Using Gallup’s historical data, Biden’s approval rating in this poll (42%) is lower than any other modern first-year president’s at a similar point in time, with the key exception of Donald Trump (whose approval averaged 37% in fall 2017).
Among a narrower set of registered voters, Biden’s job rating stands at 45% who approve, 52% who disapprove — a drop from 50% who approve, 48% who disapprove from two months ago.
The NBC News poll comes after a rough summer and early fall for the first-year president, as he’s faced a new surge of coronavirus cases and deaths, fallout from the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising inflation, disappointing jobs numbers and Democratic infighting over Biden’s legislative agenda.
More recently, however, Covid-19 cases and deaths are once again on the decline, and Capitol Hill Democrats have made progress on Biden’s legislative priorities, but still haven’t crossed the finish line.
The poll finds 40% of Americans approving the president’s handling of the economy (down 7 points since August), and 51% approving of his handling of the coronavirus (down 2 points).
Maybe even more troubling for Biden, just 37% of adults give him high marks — on a 5-point scale — for being competent and effective as president, and only 28% give him high marks for uniting the country. By contrast, 50% give him low scores for being competent, and 51% give him low scores for uniting the country.
Finally, Biden’s favorable/unfavorable rating in the poll (40% positive, 48% negative) is almost identical to Trump’s in the same survey (38% positive, 50% negative).
The poll was conducted Oct. 23-26 of 1,000 adults and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.