Politics Byron York's Daily Memo: At six-months, Biden’s COVID presidency

18:17  20 july  2021
18:17  20 july  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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AT SIX-MONTHS, BIDEN'S COVID PRESIDENCY. President Joe Biden took the oath of office six months ago today. Those six months may end up being the high-water mark of his presidency.

Biden's job approval rating is positive, just over 52 percent in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. That is, of course, higher than the ratings of Biden's predecessor, President Donald Trump, who never exceeded 47 percent approval in the RCP average, but it is lower than President Barack Obama, who stood at about 56 percent at this time in his presidency.

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What is striking about Biden's rating is that it is based largely on the public's approval of his handling of the COVID pandemic. In a recent Washington Post poll, which found that Biden had a 50 percent job approval rating overall, his rating for handling the pandemic was 62 percent. His approval rating for handling the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border was 33 percent, and for handling crime was 38 percent.

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Biden's numbers are higher for his performance on the economy, jobs, the environment, and racial inequality, but they're still more than ten points below his approval for handling COVID. His big legislative accomplishment so far is a massive spending bill that he sold to the public as a "COVID relief" bill.

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So it is not an exaggeration to say that Biden's has so far been a COVID presidency. Without support for his handling of the pandemic, Biden's job approval rating might well have hovered below 50 percent for his first months in office. But for Biden's first months in office, the COVID news was nearly all good. The number of new cases plunged dramatically -- more than 90 percent -- in a process that started in the final weeks of Trump's time in office. Biden also scaled up distribution of the vaccine developed by Trump's Operation Warp Speed. Americans, who elected Biden last November at a time of grave concern about the pandemic, approved of the Biden approach.

Now, though, the COVID story has changed again. The number of new cases per day is rising -- after hitting a low of about 11,000 per day in June, the total is now over 30,000. (It is important to remember that is still way down from 254,000 in early January.) The question of how to persuade more Americans to get the vaccine is sure to vex Biden, caught between supporters who favor a more authoritarian approach and those who want to continue the administration's persuasion effort.

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But the bottom line is, going forward, the COVID issue promises to be a mixed bag for Biden, compared to the positive story it was in his first months. He has also reached a point where he can no longer mis-describe spending bills as "COVID relief." And his non-COVID agenda faces rough going on Capitol Hill.

Biden's much-ballyhooed bipartisan infrastructure deal, focusing on projects like roads, bridges, airports, trains, and more, appears to be in serious danger, in part because Senate Democrats are pushing Republicans to support it without knowing what will be in the final version of the bill. And Biden's even bigger "human infrastructure" bill -- a multi-trillion dollar extravaganza which progressives in his party want to focus on "climate, jobs, and justice" -- will have to be passed with a 50-50 tie in the Senate broken in Biden's favor by Vice President Kamala Harris.

As he pushes his agenda, Biden can never escape the fact that Democrats do not control a majority of seats in the Senate. He'll never be FDR, or LBJ -- who each had huge legislative majorities -- when he is scrambling to break tie votes.

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So at six months, Biden faces a tough situation. The COVID issue has changed under his feet, and passing his ambitious agenda with the flimsiest of legislative majorities will only get tougher.

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Tags: Daily Memo, Byron York, Joe Biden, Coronavirus, Donald Trump, Barack Obama

Original Author: Byron York

Original Location: Byron York's Daily Memo: At six-months, Biden’s COVID presidency

Joe Biden's approval rating simply hasn't moved in six months .
The lack of a topsy turvy first few months has translated to Biden's approval rating. It's been the most stable for any president since the end of World War II. This, indeed, has been the story of the Biden presidency from a popularity standpoint. At every point at which I've checked in to see how Biden is doing from a historical perspective, nothing seems to shake his approval ratings.Right now, Biden's average approval rating right now rests at around 53%, no matter how you calculate said average.

usr: 1
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