Since the 2020 election, President Joe Biden has had varying levels of approval and disapproval ratings. Coming out of the President Donald Trump era, Biden and his cabinet were thrown into the deep end, so to speak, with copious problematic executive orders, agreements to rejoin, etc. At the beginning of Biden’s presidency, approval ratings far outweighed his disapproval rating, trending nearly 20 percentage points amongst varying polls and sources. A large portion of his approval rating at this time followed optimistic beliefs among Democrats and fed-up Republicans that basic human decency and competence were back in the White House. The standard for politicians became so low during and after the Trump administration that many voters hoped for any politician who didn’t follow the erratic behavior and chaos Trump created.
Since September, Biden’s disapproval ratings have exceeded his approval ratings by nearly eight percentage points, making Biden the second least popular president at this point in any presidency — Trump still holds the record. There are many possible culprits to explain Biden’s increasing disapproval rating. A few factors include the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, a rise in COVID-19 cases across the United States, ongoing economic strife, continued climate issues, and international relations conflicts.
Biden announced in April 2021 the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, intending to complete the withdrawal by Sept. 11, 2021, which marked the twentieth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The mission completed earlier than scheduled, marking Aug. 30, 2021, as the official end to the War on Terror. The 20-year conflict is highly controversial, considering the ultimate goal was to eradicate terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Now that the U.S. is no longer highly involved in Afghanistan, many cities fell to terrorist organizations in a matter of days after the U.S. military made their exit. The withdrawal has raised humanitarian issues, especially tied to women’s rights, democratic freedoms, and a potential rise in terrorist activity in Middle Eastern countries.
Another international cause for disapproval is the AUKUS submarine deal involving Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., which angered U.S. ally France to the point of an ambassador’s withdrawal. Biden’s response quoted in an article in The New York Times on Oct. 29, 2021, states, “What we did was clumsy. It was not done with a lot of grace.” It remains unclear how negatively this interaction with France will affect the United States’ international relations.
Due to Biden’s increasingly controversial presidency, the Democratic party would benefit from a different presidential running candidate in the 2024 election. Although Biden has extensive political tenure, many Millenial and Gen-Z voters are seeking candidates that value more action related to climate change, student debt reform, and racial and gender inequality. Finding a candidate with a bond to these concerns may increase the voter turnout among Gen-Zs and millennials, and may be the Democratic Party’s only hope.
Lauren Schilling is from
Her majors are art history, race & ethnic studies,