Worse than razorblades in candy was the nasty surprise awaiting President Joe Biden in the NBC poll released yesterday. When given a choice, 71 percent of adults surveyed said they believe the nation is "off on the wrong track," while only 22 percent said the nation was "generally headed in the right direction." Even 48 of Democrats agreed America is on the wrong track. American confidence in Biden's leadership has gradually decayed throughout his first year; the percentage of adults who said America was on the wrong track was 63 percent in August, and 56 percent in April. Even NBC's Chuck Todd said he was "shocked" by this "scary news for Democrats."
Biden's personal popularity also took a tumble in the poll, sinking to 42 percent of Americans who approve versus 54 percent who disapprove. Biden held a slight advantage in August, 49 percent to 48 percent, and a sizable advantage in April, 53 percent to 39 percent. What caused Americans to change their minds? After seeing him in action, only 37 percent of Americans believe in Biden's ability to handle a crisis, versus 47 percent who don't. And he's had plenty of crises. Belief in his confidence is even worse, 37 percent to 50 percent.
NBC's poll gave Biden even more bad news on questions asked about specific issues. Respondents said Republicans could better deal with border security by 27 percentage points (21 percent for Democrats to 48 percent for Republicans). Republicans led on controlling inflation by 24 percentage points, on crime by 22 percentage points, on national security by 21 percentage points, on the economy by 18 percentage points, and on getting things done by 13 percentage points.
It's hard to say that Biden doesn't deserve at least some of the low marks his party received. If his policies didn't cause the problems, they certainly haven't solved them.
- Border Security: President Biden halted border wall construction and ended the Remain in Mexico policy. Border patrol apprehended a record-breaking 1.7 million persons in Fiscal Year 2021. Many immigrants said they came because of Joe Biden's policies. More are coming
- Inflation: Prices rose 5.4 percent from September 2020 to September 2021. Consumers felt higher fuel and food prices. Prices rise when the money supply increases without a corresponding increase in goods produced. President Biden is trying to spend another $1.7 trillion.
- Crime: Police departments are under-staffed and murder rates continue to climb above. President Biden endorsed firing even more officers if they are unvaccinated.
- National Security: The way America withdrew from Afghanistan raised eyebrows. American lives were lost in a suicide bombing, the Taliban toppled a friendly government, and hundreds of American citizens are still stranded there.
- Economy: The post-covid economic recovery lags behind expectations. Businesses can't find workers. President Biden subsidized unemployment checks. He is now proposing to fire unvaccinated workers and raise taxes on businesses. A supply chain crisis threatens to throttle the Christmas rush.
- Getting things done: Democrats control both houses of Congress, but they can't pass legislation. President Biden's agenda has been on the brink of passing for months, with nothing to show for it.
Granted, the art of governing is far more complex and challenging than most people know, and Americans tend to hold whoever is in the White House responsible for any calamity, fairly or not. Whatever the cause, the hard truth now facing the Biden administration is that a supermajority of Americans are unhappy about the country's direction. As president, he bears a responsibility to lead the way forward. Is he up to the task?