Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight sounds alarm on Biden's polling: It 'isn't bouncing back' as we expected


Pollster Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight is sounding the alarm on President Biden’s struggle to rebound as his polling continues to nosedive in recent months. 

FiveThirtyEight senior elections analyst Nathaniel Rakich began a piece on Wednesday noting how Biden was “comfortably above water” in the early months of his presidency but that the “honeymoon period came to a halt” between the surge of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in July and the chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August. 


“At the time, we theorized that Biden’s approval rating might recover before too long, especially once the news cycle moved on from the crisis in Afghanistan… But we’re now more than a month removed from Biden’s difficult August, and there have been no signs of a rebound in his approval rating,” Rakich wrote. “At the end of the day on Oct. 5, Biden’s approval/disapproval spread was 44.8 percent to 47.9 percent. That approval rating, in fact, is so far the lowest of his presidency.”

Rakich cited data showing the declining coverage of Afghanistan on cable news since the Taliban takeover yet Biden’s bad polling continued, writing “This is consistent with the argument that the decline in Biden’s approval rating was never just about Afghanistan.”

“The timing of it suggested it was also driven by the resurgent pandemic, dissatisfaction with the economy, or even natural post-honeymoon reversion to a mean that is more realistic in these polarized times. In other words, a myriad of factors,” Rakich wrote. 


He then warned that an improvement in the coronavirus pandemic “may not improve his political fortunes,” pointing to Biden’s “steady” polling on the issue despite falling cases nationwide. Additionally, Rakich highlighted the uncertainty of Democratic lawmakers’ abilities to pass their spending bills, which will either help or hurt Biden’s polling as a result. 

“But for now at least, Biden has a lower approval rating at this point in his term than all but two presidents since 1945, so if he’s going to regain his popularity, he’s got an unusually big hole to dig himself out of,” Rakich added. 


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