Biden’s honeymoon period comes to a close before midterms

By Susana Samhan

Washington, Jul 17l (EFE).- Joe Biden’s honeymoon period with a sector of Democratic Party voters has come to a close months ahead of midterm elections as inflation, the pandemic and the White House’s perceived lack of grit on topics such as abortion take a deep bite out of his popularity.

The midterm elections in November, which affect the House of Representatives and the Senate, are usually regarded as a litmus test for the president’s public support.

But things are not looking rosy for Biden, 79.

A survey carried out by Pew Research Center in March found that just 24% of respondents said they would back Biden in the midterms, while 36% said they would vote against him, Carroll Doherty, the head of political investigation at the institute, told Efe.

A number of polls published this week suggest Biden’s popularity has fallen to its lowest point since he moved into the White House in 2021.

The New York Times and Siena College found, in a questionnaire, that 64% of Democrat voters do not want Biden to run in the 2024 election, and flagged the economy and inflation as the president’s main challenges.

Life-long Democrat voter Richard, 68, told Efe that the party needs to take a stronger line in order to succeed in the midterms.

“Biden needs to become more aggressive in putting forth his policies and more direct in what approaches he is going to take,” Richard said after voting early in the Maryland primaries.

Biden is wrong to try to appease Democrat and Republican camps, he added.

All of the Democrat voters Efe spoke to at three polling centers in Montgomery, Maryland, said they would back Biden if the president decides to run again in 2024, although some doubt whether he is the best candidate for the job.

The women consulted by Efe all agreed that Biden should focus on guaranteeing abortion rights ahead of the November elections, as well as push for new gun policies.

Anne, 86, said she is “very fond” of Biden.

“I think he’s doing a great job, I don’t understand why everyone’s complaining about what he’s doing or the lack of what he’s doing.”

She did, however, flag up his age, saying it was time for him “to go.”

Anne added that this opinion was not limited to Biden, but also applied to other politicians in the US, which would include the likes of Donald Trump, 76, and Nancy Pelosi, 82.

“It’s time for the younger generation.”

Alison Dagnes, a professor of Political Sciences at the Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania, says Biden opts to go on the defensive, rather than the offensive, in contrast with his Republican rivals who go for the jugular by mocking the sitting president.

When news that abortion rights would be curtailed by the Supreme Court was leaked to the press in May, Biden acted a “little late” by not taking action until the ruling was made official, a month later.

Doherty, from the Pew Research Center, noted that different presidents have arrived at the midterms with slumps in popularity. Trump, in office from 2017-21, maintained low public support throughout his presidency, while Barack Obama (2009-17), fared better than Biden’s figures but also witnessed a downturn in his first year. EFE

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