Joe Biden has been president for a little over a year. And that year was not kind to him.
In a new NPR/PBS/Marist College poll, more than half – 56% – of Americans said that Biden’s first year in office was a “failure,” while just 39% described it as a success.
The news doesn’t get better the more you dig into the survey. Two-thirds of independents said Biden’s first year was a failure, while more than 9 in 10 Republicans (91%) agreed with that assessment.
Biden’s numbers are better among Democrats – 80% called year one a success – but 15% of members of his own party described his first year in office as a failure.
Now, asking such a binary question – either Biden’s first year was a success or a failure, with no room in the middle – does tend to strip any nuance from issue. There are incredible complexities that go into assessing how a president has done.
Oftentimes, a president is judged in one way during his time in office and in another after he leaves, once the impacts of his policies come into clearer focus.
That said, elections tend to force voters to think in this all-or-nothing way. Either you vote for a Democrat or for a Republican. Either you vote to re-elect your incumbent or you choose the challenger.
Seen through that political lens, these poll numbers are extremely problematic for Democrats on the ballot this fall. We know that, historically, the first midterm election of a president’s term is a referendum on his time in office up to that point.
The Point: If the public’s report card on Biden’s second year in office is anything like the one for his first year, Democrats can kiss their House and Senate majorities goodbye.