President Joe Biden witnessed some of the lowest approval ratings of his administration despite moderating price levels and the Democratic Party avoiding severe midterm losses, according to a new poll from Reuters.
Some 40% of Americans currently approve of Biden’s job performance, marking a slight increase from the commander-in-chief’s approval rating of 39% one month earlier. The metric fell as low as 36% in May and June of last year, during which inflation reached the highest levels of his tenure as a result of soaring gas prices.
Biden is presently managing fallout from the discovery of classified documents in his private office at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., on November 2. Attorneys have since located more classified documents at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, on three separate occasions: an unspecified number found in the garage on December 20, one found in Biden’s study on January 11, and five more found in the study on January 12.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur, who served during the Trump administration, as special counsel in the investigation. “We’re fully cooperating, looking forward to getting this resolved quickly,” Biden said in a recent statement. “I think you’re gonna find there’s nothing there. I have no regrets. I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do.”
A handful of positive economic developments have meanwhile led Biden and other senior officials to claim that their initiatives have been successful. Price levels declined slightly last month amid a decrease in energy prices: year-over-year inflation fell from 7.1% in November to 6.5% in December, marking the largest overall decline in nearly three years while food and shelter prices continue to increase, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen remarked during an interview with NPR that inflation “has really been quite moderate, quite low for the last six months or so” even as price increases remain well above the 2% annual rate seen before the lockdown-induced recession. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre likewise dismissed significant layoffs at prominent technology companies while claiming that Biden “inherited an economic crisis and turned it into the strongest two years of job growth on record.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has a dismal 20% approval rating, according to the poll from Reuters, indicating a rocky start for the lawmaker after he was elected to the top position only after making concessions to holdouts in the House Freedom Caucus. Among the arrangements was a pact to avoid budgets that increase the debt ceiling, a deal that came shortly before the statutory limit on the government’s obligations was surpassed.
Democrats retained their control of the Senate following the midterm elections, while Republicans gained a slim majority in the House. Some 38% of Americans have a positive view of the former chamber, according to Reuters, while 35% have a positive view of the latter. Lackluster victories for Republicans occurred despite several polls showing the likelihood of blowout wins across the country; many commentators had forecasted that dismal economic performance and low approval ratings for Biden would translate to Democratic losses.