We are now seven months into the Biden-Harris administration, or slightly more than 200 days, and two clear themes are emerging: There is a crisis at the southern border with apprehensions increasing every month, bucking all sorts of historical trends and setting record highs in the process, and public opinion is rapidly turning against the new administration. While Vice President Harris has generally polled poorly, President Biden entered the Oval Office with a generally high approval rating. While Biden’s personal polling remained positive early on, boosted by a perceived very favorable handling of Covid-19, the tide began to turn against his immigration policies with the astounding 100,000 apprehensions in February combined with a push for a mass amnesty bill. Opposition increased in the spring as the border apprehensions continued to go up while the administration, led by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas bizarrely refused to call the situation a “crisis”.
Undeterred by the growing opposition to its immigration policies, the Biden administration doubled down in the summer, issuing a “blueprint” that continued the theme of open borders, no interior enforcement, and amnesty for illegal aliens. By late July, an ABC News/Ipsos poll found that just 37 percent of adults aged 18 and older approved of the Biden administration’s handling of immigration and the situation at the southern border, compared to 61 percent who disapproved (3 percent declined to answer). As my colleague Andrew Arthur observed, “the (relatively) good news for the administration” in the poll was Biden’s handling of Covid-19 and Afghanistan. On Covid, 63 percent approved, but that is a nine-point drop from the 72 percent Biden received in late March polling. On withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, 55 percent approved of the way the Biden administration was handling it, 41 percent disapproved, and 3 percent declined to respond.
Just a month later, a new Suffolk University/USA Today poll shows the administration on the ropes. Taken between August 19 and 23, the poll of 1,000 registered voters shows universal erosion of support for the Biden-Harris administration. Asked about the direction the country is heading, nearly 62 percent said the wrong track compared to just 27 percent who said the right direction (remarkably almost 11 percent did not have an opinion on the question). Joe Biden’s approval as president is -14, meaning 41 percent approve compared to 55 percent opposed. Biden’s handling of the economy is similar to his overall approval, with 39 percent approval vs. 53 percent disapproval. Unsurprisingly, the immigration numbers are abysmal with just 25 percent approving compared to 62 percent opposed.
President Biden is also losing the American people on the two issues where he previously enjoyed relative support, Covid-19 and Afghanistan. After the botched pull-out from Afghanistan resulting in the stranding of thousands of Americans and the loss of military-grade equipment and weapons, a mere 26 percent approve of the execution of the withdrawal, compared to 62 percent opposed. Even on Covid-19, President Biden is losing grasp of support from the American people, now down to just 50 percent approving of his handling compared to 45 percent opposed.
If you think President Biden’s polling numbers are bad, which they are, they are even worse for Vice President Harris. When asked whether respondents had a favorable or unfavorable view of Harris, just 35 percent said favorable compared to 54 percent unfavorable, or a -19 difference. The only silver lining for Harris is that Speaker Pelosi’s favorables are even worse, coming in at -31 based on 31 percent approval against 62 percent opposition.
As I have discussed before, the 2020 campaign was largely devoid of any debate on immigration policy, meaning that very few Americans voted for Joe Biden because of his immigration positions. However, since Inauguration Day the American people have consistently opposed the Biden administration’s immigration policies that are largely driven by political appointees most people have never heard of. The Supreme Court actually handed the Biden administration a political lifeline by ordering the resumption of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as Remain in Mexico. The midterm elections are still a year away and are traditionally unkind to the sitting president’s party, but the high court has given the Biden administration the chance to hit the reset button and actually secure the border. Will they take the mulligan or continue to double down on “illegal alien first” policies?