ConflictOpinionSouth America

Opinion Biden shouldn’t be as unpopular as Trump — but he is

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: Throughout Donald Trump’s tenure in office, polls showed he was one of the most unpopular presidents in recent history. That made sense — Trump was bad at governing and seemed almost as if he were trying to be disliked. But for almost two years now, Joe Biden has been just as unpopular as Trump was, and at times even more so. That’s not necessarily bad for the Democrats. But it’s bad for democracy.

The numbers behind Biden’s unpopularity are easy to understand. Like Trump, he has almost universal support within his own party, virtually none from the opposite party and terrible numbers among independents.

Biden’s approval with Democrats is 84 percent, according to recent Gallup polling, similar to Trump’s 87 percent from Republicans midway through this third year in office. Biden is at 33 percent approval among independents, same as Trump in May 2019. (In contrast, Bill Clinton was at 56 percent with independents halfway through his third year, George W. Bush at 62, Barack Obama at 46. Bush’s numbers were very high in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.)

Biden has a 4 percent approval rating among Republicans. That’s much worse than Clinton (20 percent) and Obama (16 percent) but not unlike Trump’s 8 percent among Democrats.What’s harder to understand is why Biden is so unpopular. There are some obvious reasons that he is not loved. Inflation is unusually high. Negative partisanship has grown substantially since Clinton’s tenure — it’s not clear any president could have 20 percent approval from people in the opposite party.

The president’s centrist, bipartisan approach likely ensures a bloc of younger and more progressive Democrats won’t be thrilled with him. Voters in Britain, Canada, France and numerous other countries are also dissatisfied with their leaders, according to polls, so perhaps it’s almost impossible to be a popular politician in 2023

.Finally, even though Biden defeated Trump and Hillary Clinton didn’t, Biden is in many ways similar to Clinton, who was also never very popular. Both are skilled at behind-the-scenes governing and appealing to older stalwart Democratic voters on the campaign trail but struggle to connect with younger and less engaged voters.

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