There is no debate at this point that Joe Biden is in the midst of a political comeback.
From plummeting gas prices to the passage of the Cut Inflation Act to Donald Trump’s re-emergence as the campaign issue of 2022, things have been going very well for the president. lately.
This, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll released on Friday, is telling on that front:
“[The] The shift in political dynamics has helped boost the president’s approval rating by nine percentage points in just two months and doubled the share of Americans who think the country is on the right track.
The poll found that 42% of registered voters nationally approve of Biden’s job performance, up from 33% in July.
And a look at the CNN survey of polls on Biden’s average approval rating makes it clear that the Times/Siena poll is not unique. Biden’s numbers bottomed out in late July/early August at 36% and have generally risen since, up to 41% now.
So the key question now is not whether Biden is on the comeback trail. Clearly it is. The real question is: how high will Biden’s numbers get by Election Day?
Consider the story here. From Gallup:
“In Gallup polling history, presidents with job approval ratings below 50% have seen their party lose 37 House seats, on average, in midterm elections. This compares to an average loss of 14 seats when presidents had approval ratings above 50%.
Which is quite a surprising difference, isn’t it?
Now, it should be noted here that the margins in Congress are so tight that even if the Democrats lost 14 House seats this year, they would lose their majority. And if they lost even one seat in the Senate, they would find themselves in the minority there as well.
That said, there’s no doubt that Biden at, say, 47% or 48% job approval, is a much better bet for Democrats than Biden at 37% or 38%. This is especially true if the trend line is, as it is now, up for Biden heading into the election, helping to give Democrats momentum where there was none before.
Can Biden break through the critical 50% barrier? That seems unlikely given that the election is only 53 days away.
(Inset: The last time Biden’s jobs approval rating hit 50% in the Gallup poll was over a year ago — in July 2021.)
Point: Every job approval point counts for Democrats as they try to hold on to their wafer-thin House and Senate majorities. Biden is headed in the right direction, but the question is whether that growth continues — and how fast.