The oldest president in US history turned 81 on Monday. What did he get for his birthday? Another round of dismal polling.
A new poll from NBC News found that Joe Biden’s approval rating has reached the lowest mark of his presidency. The survey, conducted November 10-14, found that?only 40% of registered voters approve of the job he is doing, while 57% disapprove. Behind this nadir is the president’s approach to the Israel-Hamas war. Young Americans, a group that generally tilts Democratic, are particularly enraged: 70% of voters ages 18–34 said they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war.
While Biden’s approval rating has only dipped one point since the outbreak of the war, NBC found a 15-point decline—31% down from 46% in September—among voters in the youngest cohort. Overall, 56% of voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war, including 41% of Democrats, 59% of independents, and 69% of Republicans. (Buried in the poll was a slight hint of positive news for the president: 38% of respondents approved of his handling of the economy, a one-point boost from September.)
Since the Hamas attack in southern Israel last month that Israeli officials say resulted in about 1,200 deaths and about 240 people taken hostage, Biden’s support for the US ally has been unconditional. Over the weekend, he rejected calls for a cease-fire, despite warnings from United Nations officials that the Israeli siege and bombardment of Gaza has caused a “crisis of humanity” and is creating a “graveyard for children.” The ongoing Israeli offensive has displaced some 1.7 million Gazans, according to the UN, and resulted in more than 11,000 Palestinian deaths, according to the enclave’s health ministry. The carnage has not curtailed Biden’s desire to provide Israel with what he described as “an unprecedented” $14.3 billion in military aid.??
Meanwhile, the president’s hopes for reelection appear increasingly uncertain. Recent polls, including the latest NBC survey, have found that Donald Trump, the probable Republican nominee, is leading Biden by two to four points. A margin that small, and roughly a year removed from the election, may seem trivial. However, as CNN analyst Harry Enten noted, an incumbent president trailing a still hypothetical opponent at this stage in the race is virtually unheard of. (The only prior incumbent to have found himself in the same position was Trump, who trailed Biden by double digits one year out from the 2020 election.)
Of course, between now and Election Day, public outrage toward Israel and pessimism?over the economy both could wane. But Biden’s third albatross is his age—and the president, who plans to discreetly celebrate the?second birthday of his octogenarian years later this week, isn’t getting any younger. Earlier this month, a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult survey found that voters in swing states are more likely to associate him with old age than anything else. Similarly, 71% of battleground voters in a recent New York Times/Siena College poll said they believe Biden is “too old” to be president, including a majority of his own supporters.