Senate Democrats are increasingly concerned that President Joe Biden‘s slumping poll numbers pose a threat to the party’s control of Congress, with several Senate seats in play after months of party infighting.
Biden’s approval rating was at just 36 per cent in a Quinnipiac University poll last week – just the latest survey to show his numbers down.
Democrats lost the governor’s race in Virginia and were able to cling on in New Jersey – and finally started to wrench free major policy achievements in recent weeks, with Biden signing bipartisan infrastructure legislation last Monday.
Amid the backdrop, Senate Democrats huddled with pollsters and advisors last week to try to assess the situation. Among them was Anita Dunn, a former senior White House advisor to Biden.
President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings have Senate Democrats concerned about their prospects of maintaining a majority
‘We’re just talking about how we’re going to message. Mostly it was talking about Build Back Better,’ Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who convened the meeting, told The Hill newspaper. A source told the paper the pollsters level of concern was ‘extremely high.’
‘President Biden has a lot of time to right the ship,’ pollster Joel Benenson told Bloomberg News. ‘They’re drinking from a fire hose.’
Democrats are hopeful Biden’s situation will right itself, now that they finally have legislation they can sell with enactment of the infrastructure bill. Biden and Vice President Kamal Harris both began that task on the road last week.
Breakthrough House passage of the $1.75 trillion social infrastructure bill brings Biden’s dream of major safety net legislation closer – although Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have yet to give it their support.
It was amid constant reports on haggling between moderate and centrist factions that Biden’s numbers dropped, with Harris’ going even lower.
Covid infections have continued at levels that alarm health officials, with unvaccinated people suffering the must hospitalizations and deaths
Vice President Kamala Harris’ numbers have trailed Biden’s by as much as 10 per cent in some surveys
Sens. Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Mark Kelly (Ariz.) are among those facing tough reelection battles
Democrats control the 50-50 Senate through Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote
Democrats are also contending with anger over Biden’s managing of the Afghanistan pullout and rising inflation. Biden on Monday will renominate Jerome Powell to chair the Federal Reserve board – a move that goes against the wishes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of the liberal wing.
Not all Democrats are panicking just yet.
‘There´s such a unanimity around the idea that Democrats are completely doomed. These are the same people who brought us President Hillary Clinton,’ former Barack Obama adisor Bill Burton told the Associated Press. ‘Maybe things aren’t as bad as the entire chattering class seems to think they are.’
Harris has had her own stumbles. She was running ten points behind Biden in a recent Suffolk University poll, at just 28 per cent.
The narrow three-vote majority Democrats hold in the House has long been considered tenuous, and Republicans have been padding their build-in historical advantages through redistricting.
In the Senate, where Democrats control the 50-50 thanks to Harris’ tie-breaking vote, control could also swing. The non-partisan Cook Political Report now ranks three Democratic incumbents as being in ‘toss-up’ races: Raphael Warnock (Ga.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Catherine Cortez Maso (Nev.).
Last week’s Quinnipiac poll gave Republicans an edge on the ‘generic’ ballot, with 46 per cent said they want to see Republicans win control of the House, compared to 38 per cent who want Democrats; 46 per cent want the GOP to control the Senate, compared to 40 per cent who favor Democrats.