President Joe Biden gave a speech in Chicago on Wednesday in an effort to convince skeptics that the US economy is thriving with his economic policies, even though a new poll shows that will not be the basis of his 2024 re-election campaign.
In a major speech on the economy, Biden said his administration’s efforts have led to recovery after Republican policies that hit the middle class.
However, a new poll shows that only 34% of adults approve of his economic leadership. That number is even lower than his overall approval rating, which stands at 41 percent, according to a poll conducted by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Biden’s approval ratings have barely budged over the past year and a half, a concern for a president seeking re-election based on his ability to govern and effect positive change in the country’s middle class and economy.
“The pedium economy is about the future,” Biden said of his economic policy. “The pedium economy is just another way of saying: Reclaiming the American Dream.”
At the same time, he criticized the Republicans’ deep tax cuts, saying they helped the wealthy, but not the middle class.
“The gradualist approach has failed the middle class,” he added. He let America down. Helplessness exploded. Inequality increased. Our weakest infrastructure. It has stripped societies of their dignity, pride and hope, one after the other.”
Before leaving Washington Wednesday, Biden assured that the country would avoid the recession that many economists expect.
“I hear every month that next month there will be a recession. I don’t think that will happen.”
Indeed, the economy has improved steadily in the past year. Unemployment is at a record low of 3.7%. Inflation, which has so punished a Biden presidency, has fallen to 4% from its peak of 9.1% in June 2022, although it is still above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%.
The poll identifies weakness in Biden’s base. And many of the Democrats he needs to unite by 2024 are less enthusiastic about his economic record. Within his own party, 72% generally approve of the work Biden is doing, but only 60% approve of the way he handles the economy.
By comparison, at the height of the pandemic when unemployment soared, Republicans overwhelmingly approved of then-President Donald Trump’s economic leadership. Now, only 1 in 10 Republicans approve of Biden in general or the economy, a testament to the polarization that defines American politics today.
Sarah Hosted, 40, said she voted for Biden in 2020, although she “wasn’t happy with either candidate.”
And although she feels that inflation is worsening, especially in utilities and housing, she also largely believes that the economic turmoil is still reflecting the effects of the pandemic.
“I don’t think President Biden is helping the situation as much as he can, but I don’t think it’s all his fault,” said Hsuted, of Lincoln, Nebraska.
The survey of 1,220 adults was conducted June 22-26 using the AmeriSpeak panel’s representative population sample. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
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