Biden’s Approval Rating Sinks to New Low as He Nears One Year in Office

On a letter-grade scale, Biden performs slightly better than Trump did four years ago
January 19, 2022 at 6:00 am UTC

Joe Biden is entering his second year in office with the worst job approval rating yet, according to new Morning Consult/Politico polling, driven by increasingly tepid support among Democrats that comes as his agenda remains stalled on Capitol Hill. However, voters are still slightly more likely to give the Oval Office’s current occupant better grades than they gave his predecessor at the same point four years ago.

Biden Posts Worst Job Approval Rating Yet as Presidency Enters Second Year

Voters were asked whether they approved or disapproved of President Joe Biden’s job performance
Politico Logo
Starting June 4, Morning Consult updated its weights to account for voters' choice in the 2020 presidential election.
Polls conducted among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

The trends on Biden's job approval

  • Forty percent of voters approve of Biden’s job performance, while 56 percent disapprove, record lows and highs, respectively, from nearly 50 Morning Consult/Politico surveys conducted since he took office.
  • The majority of Democratic voters (78 percent) approve of Biden, but that support is weak: 34 percent “strongly approve” of his job performance, a record low that is down 6 percentage points over the course of a week and down 15 points since the beginning of December.
  • At 91 percent, Republican voters are nearly united in their disapproval of Biden’s work in office, while 59 percent of independents disapprove. Both figures are largely consistent with findings from the past two months.

The context

That 15-point drop in Biden’s strong approval among Democrats came as America struggled with the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 and rising prices that appear to be drowning out more positive economic indicators such as jobs, wages and unemployment. It also came as the White House’s signature legislative package, the Build Back Better Act, was put on ice by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

The president’s impassioned but apparently ineffective push last week for Congress to change its rules and pass voting rights legislation, a popular proposal among Democratic voters, also laid bare the divisions within the party’s elected officials. That appears to be reflected in the recent softening of the president’s standing with the Democratic base, and serves as the driving factor in his recent declines among the overall electorate, which has left him less popular today than former President Donald Trump was at this time four years ago. In a January 2018 poll, 45 percent of voters approved of Trump’s job performance and 50 percent disapproved.

Still, when it comes to perceptions of each president’s handling of a range of issues during their first year, voters are slightly more likely to give Biden better grades than his predecessor.

How Biden's grades stack up with Trump's

  • On average, voters gave Biden a “C+” for his overall job performance at the one-year mark of his presidency, compared with a “C-” for Trump four years ago. Those grades are identical to what voters gave both presidents at their respective 100-day marks.
  • In the 2022 and 2018 surveys, voters gave both presidents a “C” for their handling of jobs and the economy and a “C-” for their approach to immigration and terrorism.
  • Among the average independent voter, Biden received better marks than Trump did four years ago on health care, climate change and foreign relations, but underperformed his predecessor on jobs and the economy.
  • Democrats on average gave Biden a “B+” for his overall job performance, compared to the “B” Republicans gave Trump in 2018. Republicans gave Biden a “D” this year, compared to the “F” Democrats gave the 45th president four years ago.

The latest poll was conducted Jan. 15-16, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

We want to hear from you. Reach out to this author or your Morning Consult team with any questions or comments.Contact Us