Biden’s Disapproval Rating Rises to 50%; Voters Cite Biden’s Handling of Afghanistan as Their Biggest Concern About Him

From Public Opinion Strategies

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images





• President Biden’s job approval slipped to 48% approve, 50% disapprove among a sample of N=800 registered voters in a survey conducted September 1st-September 8th with a margin of error of +3.46%.
• President Biden becomes only the second president with a majority disapproval rating this early in their administration along with President Trump. The Biden and Trump intensity numbers are quite parallel at this point in their presidencies.

Total Approve Total Disapprove Net Difference
Trump – Sept 2017 44% 52% -8%
Biden – Sept 2021 48% 50% -2%

Strongly Approve Strongly Disapprove Net Difference
Trump – Sept 2017 27% 42% -15%
Biden – Sept 2021 23% 42% -19%

• Biden’s current approval numbers are essentially the same as Trump’s were in October 2018, just before Republicans lost 41 congressional seats and seven Gubernatorial seats in the mid-term elections. In October 2018, Trump had a 47% approve, 49% disapprove rating. His intensity was 30% strongly approve and 43% strongly disapprove. Biden’s current overall and intensity numbers essentially match Trump’s numbers in mid-October 2018.

• President Biden has a majority net negative rating among many important swing subgroups, including:

Ranked by % Net Difference Total Approve Total Disapprove Net Difference

Congressional Ballot: Undecided 43% 52% -9%
Independents 43% 51% -8%
Midwest Region 45% 52% -7%
White Women 47% 52% -5%
Suburban Voters 46% 51% -5%

September 2021 Omni Page 2
• Voters express clear concerns about President Biden and his Administration.

Which one of the following, if any, raises the most hesitation and concern about President Biden and his administration? Would it be his…

Ranked by % Hesitation

% Hesitation
Handling of the situation in Afghanistan 42%
Handling of the border with Mexico 27%
Support for almost six trillion dollars in new federal spending 23%
Handling of COVID 19%
None of these raise hesitations or concerns 23%

• The difficulty for the president and the Democratic Party can be seen as a majority (52%) of those undecided on the generic congressional ballot express their concerns about the president’s handling of Afghanistan.
• As well, a near majority (47%) of active duty service members express concern about the president’s handling of Afghanistan.
• The concern about Afghanistan crosses traditional political boundaries as even 27% of Democrats and 26% of Biden’s 2020 voters express concern about his handling of Afghanistan.
• The one subgroup more concerned about the president’s handling of the border with Mexico are those over 65 years old (40% border with Mexico/37% Afghanistan). The border issue also scores especially high among those Republicans who self-describe themselves as identifying more with Trump than with the Republican Party (56% concerned about Biden’s handling of the border with Mexico).