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Joe Biden’s presidential approval rating still slowly ticking up at 2022’s close

By Lee Cleveland - December 31, 2022

President Joe Biden will close the year with about a 43.3 percent approval rating, according to FiveThirtyEight.com’s aggregate of top pollsters. His disapproval sits at 51.3 percent per the same website and rating process.

Interestingly, right-leaning Rassmussen offered Biden’s most favorable rating of 47 percent while Ipsos’ 39 percent represented his lowest score. And incidentally, the pollster Scribd, not included among FiveThirtyEight’s pollsters, gave Biden a 48/50 favorable/unfavorable rating.

Biden’s latest numbers aren’t bad for a president whose ratings aggregate was in the high 30s most of the summer. Since tanking to his personal low of 37.7 percent on July 25, Biden has slowly but surely moved the needle back up.



Finding That Range

Obviously, there are many factors that will determine Biden’s approval rating heading into the 2024 U.S. Presidential Election, should he run. And in presidential politics, 23 months, the time from now until the next presidential election, might as well be 32 years. As George H.W. Bush would have certainly attested, a lot can happen in one year let alone three. Nevertheless, it would behoove a president to avoid hanging out below 50 percent for an extended period.

Trump, whose FiveThirtyEight.com’s aggregate approval numbers hovered in the mid-30s to low 40s during most of his presidency, did well to regain his lost support by election time but couldn’t overcome the surge in Democratic turnout versus four years prior and the fact he was relatively unpopular from Day 1.

Literally.

The good news for Biden is that during his first week in the Oval Office he boasted an aggregate approval rating of 55/37 percent favorable/unfavorable which is an excellent score considering such divisive times. Trump, on the other hand, could do no better than a (FiveThirtyEight) 44.5 percent mean approval rating during his first week as president.



It would seem that a clear majority (at least 55 percent) of Americans want Biden to succeed and would have no problem supporting him if he’s in their good graces come election time.

If you’re a Biden supporter, you’ll want to see his approval rating at 52 percent or higher heading into the 2024 Presidential Election, but certainly no lower than 50. And if his approval score is lower than 50 percent, you’ll want to see him polling at least 3.5 percentage points better, head-to-head, than his opponent in the weeks and days leading up to the election.

Why?

Because the Electoral College favors the more rural, thinly-populated states, Trump, even with just a 46 percent (Gallup) approval rating on Election Day 2020, was still a live dog. And as Trump proved in 2016, a Republican can win a presidential election and still finish 2 to 3 percentage points behind her/his opponent in the popular vote. In fact, a Republican candidate winning a presidential election but losing the popular vote by as much as 5 percentage points certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Biden’s team, at minimum, should focus on hitting 50 percent. It won’t be easy in the current climate, but history shows that incumbent presidents with approval ratings of 50 percent or more seldom, if ever, lose.

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