President Biden’s approval ratings continue to plummet as his first year in office comes to a close and the Omicron variant sweeps across the country.
Biden and his administration have seen tanking approval ratings affected by a multitude of factors, including soaring inflation, a struggling economy, failure of the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, rising crime rates, and migrants surging across the border, in addition to his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a new ABC/Ipsos poll, 53% approve of Biden’s coronavirus response, down from 69% when he first took office saw a significant drop in approval among independents.
The dipping poll numbers come as the White House tries to shift the focus of the coronavirus away from the number of cases and focus on hospitalizations and deaths.
When Biden took office, the seven-day rolling average of new Covid-19 cases was 193,002 new cases per day as of Jan. 20, 2020. The number dipped over the summer but recently ballooned to 240,408 new cases per day, the highest in the past year.
When asked, White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that there is “no question” the pandemic has negatively affected Biden’s poll numbers.
“This is a really tough time in our country,” said Psaki. “We’re still battling Covid, and a lot of people thought we’d be through it, including us.”
Promises made, not kept
President Biden made big promises about Covid-19 on the campaign trail. Despite his repeated pledges to “shut down the virus” and recent statement that “the single greatest currency you have is your word,” his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has drawn criticism.
The number of deaths under Biden’s watch has surpassed those under Trump, despite the prevalence and availability that did not exist under Trump’s guidance.
For her part, Vice President Kamala Harris echoed the president on multiple occasions on her Twitter account in the weeks following the 2020 election, promising she and Biden would “get this virus under control.”
Since the election, Biden has also reversed his position on vaccine mandates. When he was president-elect, he stated that he didn’t believe the Covid-19 vaccine should be mandatory and promised he “would not demand that it be mandatory.”
During a July press conference, Psaki reiterated that it is “not the federal government’s role” to mandate the vaccine.
President Biden ultimately reneged on his promise of no vaccine mandates in September amidst a new wave of cases due to the Delta variant. In an announcement, Biden introduced a six-part plan to slow the spread.
The plan includes vaccine mandates for government contractors, federal workers, and private businesses with 100 or more employees.
The administration has been criticized fiercely from both sides of the aisle over footage of people waiting in hours-long lines to obtain Covid-19 tests ahead of the holiday travel season.
Biden had previously promised to fix testing issues faced by the previous administration and signed an executive order after his inauguration, which appointed a Covid-19 response coordinator to handle the distribution of tests.
The president recently acknowledged that his efforts have fallen short. He has since promised to make 500 million coronavirus tests available free of charge. However, the administration has yet to sign a contract to purchase the tests and has not said when tests will be delivered.
The president also flip-flopped and took a dramatically different tone when he stated: “There is no federal solution” to the pandemic and that the solution lies with states and governors — a position that Trump took and Biden and the Democrats widely maligned during the previous administration.
Additionally, President Biden has failed to follow through on his promises to hold China accountable for handling the virus that causes Covid-19.
During his campaign, Biden said he and his administration would “not be taking China’s word for it” and would “insist” that the country cooperate fully with the U.S. investigation into its origins.
Since his inauguration, the president has had three speaking engagements with Chinese President Xi Jinping yet has never raised the issue.
A much-anticipated U.S. intelligence community’s review of the virus’s origins said it’s possible the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology but failed to reach a definitive conclusion on its ultimate source.
After the August release of the review, President Biden issued a strongly worded statement saying he “will not rest” until the world gets answers; however, he has not mentioned the issue publicly since.