Biden’s numbers are low, Trump’s lower

Note to readers: In celebration of Independence Day, The Briefing will take next week off. Our next issue will be dated July 10.

This week: The Briefing, Vol. XI, Issue 26

  • Republican squeeze: Biden’s numbers are bad, Trump’s are worse
  • No, Rick Scott is not running for president
  • Rosendale to announce bid for MT-SEN


Biden-Trump: We have repeatedly noted a consistent theme in the anticipated presidential general election matchup: President Joe Biden is deeply unpopular, and former President Donald Trump is even more unpopular whenever the question is asked. 

New polling continues to show similar results

According to the latest Pew survey, Biden is as unpopular as ever, with just 35 percent approval (his lowest yet) and 62 percent disapproval (tied for the highest of his presidency). The sentiment of disapproval is also stronger than that of approval — that is, 41 percent “very strongly” disapprove, compared to just 17 percent who “very strongly” approve of his performance as president.

The bad news for Biden continues among voter subgroups, including two of the most important growth voter demographics. Hispanic voters disapprove of him, 60 to 35 percent, and Asian voters disapprove 51 to 44 percent.

In fact, Biden is underwater with every demographic voting subgroup except for two bitter-ender Democrat constituencies: blacks (57 to 39 percent approve/disapprove) and those who hold postgraduate degrees (54 to 44 percent), and he isn’t even doing that well with them.

That’s the good news if you’re hoping for the end of his presidency. You can also take some heart in the fact that voters marginally agree with Republicans over Democrats on arguably the most important election issues: the economy (by 12 points), crime (by 10 points), immigration (by 10 points), and foreign policy (by four points). They also agree with Republicans (by an eight-point margin) on “dealing with the budget deficit” after the recent debt ceiling showdown. 

Republicans’ worst issue of any consequence is abortion, and voters only favor Democrats on that issue marginally (by 12 points).

But the good news may end there. For even as Biden is posting such abysmal numbers, Donald Trump continues to trail him. 

The latest NBC News poll, released over the weekend, shows Biden leading Trump by four points nationwide, 49 to 45 percent. It’s not hard to see how. In terms of popularity, Biden is viewed in a positive light by just 39 percent, compared to 48 percent who view him negatively. But Trump’s positive rating is just 34 percent, compared to an even higher 56 percent negative rating. 

Meanwhile, Trump continues to dominate among Republican primary voters. He is the most popular of all candidates, with 65 percent of them viewing him positively. That’s only marginally better than Gov. Ron DeSantis (60 percent positive), but Trump leads him by 29 points, 51 to 22 percent. (It is noteworthy that DeSantis leads as Republicans’ second choice at 31 percent.) 

It hardly seems possible for Biden’s numbers to get much worse. And so this means Republicans are being squeezed. For them to displace Biden, they will either need Trump to make a huge leap forward in popularity with the broader population, or they will need to coalesce behind some other candidate for president. 

Governor 2023

Louisiana: A new poll has the state Republican Party’s chosen candidate, Attorney General Jeff Landry, leading with 31% of the vote. No other Republican polls above single digits. The leading Democrat, former state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, polls at 21 percent. Under Louisiana’s electoral system, the top two candidates, irrespective of party, go to a runoff unless someone gets 50 percent in the first round.

Senate 2024

Florida: Sen. Rick Scott (R) is not running for president, all reports to the contrary notwithstanding. This somewhat odd storyline had a patina of plausibility just based on Scott’s acrimonious relationship with Gov. Ron DeSantis, but Scott is far too close to former President Donald Trump to run against him, and far too smart to shake up the national picture by giving up a Senate seat which is safe in his own hands.

Meanwhile, the indefatigably obnoxious former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) has filed paperwork to run. Assuming he actually follows through with a candidacy, this would make him by far the most prominent Democrat to get into the race as of this date.

Montana: Rep. Matt Rosendale (R) is giving up his safe Republican House seat to run for Senate against incumbent Jon Tester (D).  Rosendale narrowly lost to Tester in 2018.

This new Senate bid will pit him, and probably the Club for Growth as well, against the NRSC’s favored pick, Tim Sheehy (R). 

Also up in the air is the role that President Trump will play In such a primary. Trump is not getting along with the Club for Growth this cycle, as the group openly opposes his renomination. 

Rosendale’s trip to Florida in April for a post-indictment Trump rally did not get him any face time with the former president, and people noticed, as the Daily Beast reported at the time.

Steve Daines, who happens to be the senior senator from Montana and is also chairman of the NRSC, is the one trying to recruit Sheehy. He has gone out of his way to make nice with Trump so far this cycle, endorsing him early and urging him to stay out of Senate races.