Pollsters: Don’t look now but Brandon’s job approval is surging

Source: Hot Air

I should clarify up front that “surging” in this case means surging from the bottom of the toilet to the top. He’s still a few points away from escaping altogether.

But if Cook Political Report is right that the “red wave looks more like a ripple” lately, Biden’s slowly rising approval rating is part of the reason. When he was at 37 percent approval in the RCP average, he was a 200-pound anchor wrapped around the ankles of Democrats downballot.

At the moment, he’s more like a 50-pound anchor. A few of them might be strong enough to break through even with that weight dragging them down.

The last time he was as high as 41.2 in the average was late May. That’s still worse than Trump’s numbers at this stage of the 2018 cycle, but Trump had been steady for months in the summer of that year. Biden by contrast has improved significantly since late July for all of the now-familiar reasons — lower gas prices, stalling inflation, a big jobs report, and the passage of Build Back Manchin. My guess is that most of his recovery is coming from lefties who went sour on him for any number of reasons and lately have seen meaningful improvement on whatever their grievance was.

I’m morbidly curious to see what happens to his polling now that he’s offered his indefensible, likely illegal bribe to college graduates. Does he start to slide again as angry working-class voters realize that they’ve just been hosed? Or does his upward trajectory continue as college grads who were iffy about him suddenly decide that they like free money?

The key wrinkle to all of the “red wave canceled!” prognostication happening today is that this could go sideways again for Dems at any time. We’re one bad jobs report or inflation number away from swing voters reverting to the burn-it-all-down mood they’ve been in for most of the year. Maybe that’s why Biden decided to pull the trigger on student loan forgiveness, come to think of it. He knows how precarious the party’s position is. Anger at Roe being overturned isn’t going to save the House if inflation starts rising again. Making it rain for college grads might.

Two individual polls are out today that confirm improving numbers for Biden. Morning Consult has good news for him but especially for his party:

According to the Aug. 19-21 survey, 43% of voters approve of Biden’s job performance, up 6 percentage points from its record low of 37% a month ago., and the highest it’s been since May. A majority of voters (55%) still disapprove of Biden, but that’s down from a 59% high.

Among Democrats, Biden’s approval rating has improved from 76% to 79% since passage of the Inflation Reduction Act — the party’s signature climate and health care legislation. The share who “strongly approve” of his job performance increased over the same time period from 34% to 39% — the highest since mid-May

According to the latest numbers, 47% of voters say they are most likely to vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress this year, compared with 42% who say the same of a Republican. It marks the Democrats’ widest generic ballot advantage since October.

None of those numbers is what anyone would call “good” but what looked to be terminal political cancer a few months ago now appears more treatable. YouGov also sees a Biden bounce:

A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that President Biden’s job-approval rating has shot up 5 percentage points since early August — its largest and most sudden change to date.

The president’s disapproval number, meanwhile, has fallen by 3 percentage points. Never before has Biden’s overall rating shifted that much in a matter of weeks…

To be sure, Biden’s overall rating is still negative: 40% approve to 53% disapprove. That is his best number, however, since May, and it appears to signal two welcome trends for the White House: improving perceptions of the state of the U.S. economy and rebounding confidence in Biden among Democrats and independents.

He’s up six points among Democrats, who are still high off their big climate-change win. The number of Americans who say the economy is excellent or good is also up eight points while the share who says we’re in a recession is down five. And Dems lead by six points on the generic ballot here, among their best showings in any poll this year.

Which brings me to the caveat about their precarious position. While it’s true that they’re one bad jobs report away from another tailspin potentially, it’s hard to predict how voters will react if the next few jobs reports remain good and inflation actually begins to decline. How many swing voters will treat a steadily improving economic outlook as the last little nudge they need to stick with the local Democratic candidate over the Republican election-denier opposing him/her? The GOP’s position is suddenly more precarious than expected too.

At least Pew still has Biden’s polling as toxic garbage. I’ll leave you with this encouraging note.