Perceptions of Biden’s performance are beginning to slide

August 13, 2021, 2:00 PM UTC

President Joe Biden may be looking ahead to a tough summer politically.  

Yes, the Democratic majority in the Senate (joined by 19 Republicans) just agreed on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and Democrats there have passed a major budget outline. But President Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by the end of this month (a decision majorities of the public have supported) and the influx of migrants to the U.S. at the Southern border may be weakening public perception of his overall performance.

Overall ratings of the President have slipped slightly in his first seven months on the job, according to the Economist/YouGov poll. Fewer than half of Americans (46%) now approve of how he is handling his job, while 43% do not. 

President Biden is still seen as likable (42% like him as a person, while 32% do not), but on many of the polling measures positive evaluations have declined, sometimes dramatically.  

Among the largest declines is in the way Americans view the President’s ability to handle international crises. At the beginning of his term, and as recently as May, nearly half the public (47%) said they were confident in Biden’s ability to deal with international crises. Two in five (39%) were not. Now the numbers are reversed. About half of US adults (47%) today are uneasy about President Biden’s ability to handle international crises while just 38% are confident.  

Similar changes have occurred in how Americans view President Biden’s economic performance. Despite last Friday’s positive jobs report, today as many disapprove of how he is handling the issue of jobs and the economy as approve (44% vs 44%), the first time that has happened.  

In addition, until this week, majorities approved of the President’s handling of COVID-19. This week, just 47% do. Nearly as many (43%) do not. Disapproval among political Independents on this question has jumped ten points in the last week (41% disapproved last week, 51% disapprove this week). 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between August 7 - 10, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.8% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty