Biden Approval at Record Low

He's at 61 percent disapproval in the lastest Monmouth poll.

President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, October 9, 2023.
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Monmouth University (“President’s Rating Hits Record Low“):

President Joe Biden’s job rating has hit an all-time low in the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll, including particularly poor marks for his handling of immigration and inflation. Only 3 in 10 Americans say the incumbent is giving enough attention to the issues most important to them, which is worse than for his predecessor. The poll also finds congressional leadership ratings have dropped, with the new House speaker debuting in negative territory.

Public opinion of Biden’s overall job performance currently stands at 34% approve and 61% disapprove – his lowest rating in Monmouth’s polling since he took office. Since September, his approval number has dropped 4 points and his disapproval number has increased by 6 points. Between October 2022 and July 2023, Biden’s approval rating ranged between 40% and 44% while his disapproval number registered between 48% and 53%. Presidential approval has dropped among both Democrats (74%, down from 80% in September and 88% in July) and independents (24%, down from 30% in September and 38% in July); and it currently stands at just 5% among Republicans.

Here’s the trendline:

Monmouth is among the more reputable of the national polling firms but it’s notable that these numbers are lower than average. RealClearPolitics has Biden at 56.0 disapprove and 40.8 approve—and that includes the previous iteration on the Monmouth poll from earlier in the month as one of two low outliers. FiveThirtyEight has him at 55.4 disapprove, 39.0 approve.

Regardless, the main thing is the trend. Throwing out the bizarre 30 percent approval on Day 1, the numbers have gotten significantly worse. Even in our incredibly polarized era, he enjoyed several months of highish approval, but he’s been consistently underwater for over two years.

As with other polls, the economy seems to be the chief factor among many:

A majority of Americans disapprove of the way Biden has handled five different policy areas, results that are between one and six points worse than the last time Monmouth asked these questions. Specifically, just over 2 in 3 disapprove of the president’s performance on immigration (69%) and inflation (68%), while more than half feel the same about the way he has handled climate change (54%), jobs and unemployment (53%), and transportation and energy infrastructure (52%). While Biden’s fellow Democrats tend to approve of the job he has done in most of these areas, they are divided on his immigration efforts (50% approve and 47% disapprove). Also, while 62% of Democrats approve of how Biden has handled inflation, a sizable 35% disapprove.


Currently, 44% of Americans say they are struggling to remain where they are financially. Another 43% report being basically stable, while only 12% say their financial situation is improving. In the three years prior to the pandemic, the number of Americans who were struggling ranged between 20% and 29% while those who reported having improved finances ranged between 20% and 25%. When the COVID pandemic hit in March 2020, the number who said their finances were improving dropped to 11% but those who were struggling barely rose 26%, which was about on par with prior polling. This latter number remained basically steady throughout the pandemic and stood at 24% in June 2021, just a few months into the start of the current inflationary cycle. The number of Americans who said they were struggling increased to 42% as inflation peaked at about 9% in June 2022, but then went down to 37% in October 2022 as the rate of inflation started to ease. However, even though the inflation rate has continued to decline, the number of Americans who reported struggling started to increase again, hitting 41% in March of this year before registering 44% in the current poll.

Just 31% of the American public says Biden has been giving enough attention to the issues that are most important to their families. The vast majority (65%) wish he would give more attention to those issues. Just 11% of Republicans and 25% of independents say Biden is paying enough attention to their top concerns. Although a majority of Democrats (58%) feel he is paying the right amount of attention to their top issues, a sizable minority (41%) wish he would focus more on those concerns. As a point of comparison, former President Donald Trump got a relatively better evaluation on this metric in the year before the last presidential election; 41% said Trump was giving enough attention and 55% wished he would give more attention to their most important issues in a June 2019 poll.

None of that’s terribly shocking. While gas prices are down drastically from their Biden era peak, they’re still higher than when he took office. Food prices are up considerably. And new homes are unaffordable because of the highest interest rates in more than two decades. That the United States is doing better in the post-recession world than most other OECD countries doesn’t factor not what it is, at the end of the day, an emotional reaction.

This, however, is a bit strange:

Despite the fact that many Americans have a negative view of their current financial situation, most (58%) are optimistic about what their family’s financial situation will be 12 months from now. There are stark partisan differences in this view, however, with 80% of Democrats and just 37% of Republicans feeling optimistic. Independents are somewhat more likely to be optimistic (53%) than pessimistic (41%) about their financial status in a year’s time.

Whether that’s ultimately good news for Biden is hard to say.

As is customary, the President is out-polling Congress:

The Monmouth University Poll also finds that opinion of the job the U.S. Congress is doing stands at its worst mark in more than a year – 17% approve and 77% disapprove. Each of the three congressional leaders who were in office when Monmouth last polled on the leadership in July have seen their ratings go down, including among their fellow partisans. The U.S. Senate’s Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell earns the lowest overall rating (6% approve and 60% disapprove among American adults), and is the only leader to receive a net negative score from his fellow partisans (10% approve and 41% disapprove among Republicans). On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (21% approve and 41% disapprove overall and 48%-18% among Democrats) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (21% approve and 22% disapprove overall and 45%-6% among Democrats) enjoy positive ratings among their fellow partisans if not among the public as a whole. Each of these three leaders have seen their approval ratings drop between 3 and 6 points and their disapproval ratings rise between 4 and 10 points since the summer.

As is also customary, the Veep is not super popular—although this one is unusually unpopular:

In other poll results, Vice President Kamala Harris receives a job rating of 35% approve and 57% disapprove, which is basically unchanged from September (36% favorable and 56% unfavorable).

The standard Right direction/Wrong track question:

Why it’s depicted in descending order escapes me. Regardless, while very much underwater, it’s noteworthy that it’s been that way for a very long time now:

That’s as far back as the poll shows. As you can see, the peak “Right direction” response was 40% and the lowest “Wrong track” response was 53%, both in June 2018.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. just nutha says:

    Still, in the absence of viable alternatives…

  2. Kathy says:

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  3. Jen says:

    For anyone who says PR doesn’t work, right here’s your proof it does. This is the result of months of grumpy news coverage that ignores strong economic signals.

    Trump 2.0 is right around the corner, for no real or valid reason.

  4. gVOR10 says:

    Governance is about policy. Politics is about entertainment. Say what you will about Trump, he’s entertaining. Also, too, there’s the supposedly liberal MSM’s drumbeat about inflation and old and his emails. Not to mention neither Ukraine nor Gaza are likely to end in a ticker tape parade. I can’t believe this country might elect a clownish asshole president. Again.

  5. becca says:

    Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I think Trump loses. Once the spotlight focuses solely on him again, I think young people will turn out, republican women will vote blue, and some magats will stay home.

  6. Tony W says:

    Among households willing to answer a survey on legacy landlines between 10 AM and 2 PM on a Wed/Thurs cycle, one year before the actual election, Biden scored low on approval.

  7. steve says:

    GOP/conservatives are just better at generating anger. Inflation has been a real issue but in most polls people say that they themselves are doing OK and expect to keep doing OK but they are angry about everything else, even stuff that is going well.


  8. gVOR10 says:

    @steve: I’ve misquoted Churchill here before.

    Never in history have so many been so pissed about so little.

    Inflation was bad, but also inevitable in the circumstances and over, crime is down, the DOW is up, and unemployment is near historic lows. Germany went fascist because of a huge defeat and the Great Depression, Italy because of the Great Depression, Spain because of the GD and a huge Civil War. We may turn fascist because society decided not to oppress gays and people were told to take public health measures during an epidemic. The MAGA are snowflakes and you’re right, FOX/GOP has gotten really good at creating anger and resentment out of almost nothing.

  9. Slugger says:
  10. Andy says:

    That low of an approval means that a non-trivial number of Democrats are also not happy with Biden. I’ve noted before that the war in Gaza is splitting the Democratic coalition, and I would guess that his further decline in the last two months is probably related to that. I’m not sure how the pro and anti-Israel factions can bury the hatchet, considering how strident they each are on this issue.

    On immigration, Democrats just have a weak hand and no answers. Attempts to ignore the issue have not worked.

    But a lot of stuff – like the economy – is simply beyond Biden’s control. The political reality is that Presidents get credit and/or blame for what happens on their watch, whether they are responsible or not. Everyone hates inflation, and inflation affects just about everyone.

    While it’s good that the inflation rate has declined, it will take time for people to adjust to the new normal – and eventually, they will. I don’t think that can be short-circuited by throwing charts in people’s faces and telling them they are stupid or ignorant for not realizing how great the economy and Bidenomics are. With luck, trends will continue without dipping into a recession, and perspectives will be different next fall.

    More fundamentally, the constant refrain of blaming Republicans and the media for Biden’s lack of popularity is, perhaps, a comforting form of denial, but useless. It convinces no one who is in the disapproval camp, and it’s arguably counterproductive. And Biden hasn’t been a good messenger either.

    To reiterate, on the two primary factors on which I judge Presidents – the ability to competently manage the Executive and foreign policy, Biden, with a few notable exceptions, gets decent marks. Unless he is in a coma, in hospice, or dead, I will almost certainly vote for him next fall, even though I have serious doubts he will last another full term.

  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    Yeah, what approval this low means that there are plenty of Democrats saying they don’t approve. And there are some reasons for that: “He’s too old”, “The economy is terrible”, “He supports Israel” are some examples.

    But when push comes to shove at election time, they will all turn out to vote against Trump.

    This, by the way, is the case for Nikki Haley, who is just not going to motivate voters that way. I don’t think she has much of a shot, though.

  12. Lounsbury says:

    @Andy: I think you are quite right on this “the constant refrain of blaming Republicans and the media for Biden’s lack of popularity is, perhaps, a comforting form of denial, but useless. It convinces no one who is in the disapproval camp, and it’s arguably counterproductive.” AND that on the economy, engaging in rather pathetic retreaded slogans (Bidenomics as weak rerun of a Reagonomics slogan) is wasting Spin engagement (and just rather pathetic nerd-communication mode).

    It seems to me that Biden needs to focus on the specific Swing States and then the specific Swing Demographics in those Swing States – and focus notably on the most sure voting demographics – high propensity – to convert key percentages to his column.

    Clintonesque pivoting on the immigration side would seem rather needed, address weak point for the Democrats while playing it would seem a strong anti-oppression-Abortion (as there the Republicans seem unable to adjust their mismatch – the Texas woman example from these past weeks is both horrifying in reality but a clearly politically exploitable example).

    @Tony W: … Unskewed polls … well denialism and self-delusion are agnositic to partisanship

  13. becca says:

    @Andy: What are the GOP’s solution to the immigration problem? I mean, actual sane solutions, not the crazy and cruel regurgitations of Trump.

  14. becca says:

    @Lounsbury: about that Red Wave in 2022 midterms…

  15. Kathy says:


    The GQP solution can be summed up in one word: Somehow.

  16. gVOR10 says:

    @becca: @Kathy: It’s a category error to speak of a Republican solution They don’t want to solve the problem, they want to exploit the problem.

    They do have the problem that conservatives believe their own BS. As with Roe, they may someday paint themselves into actually doing something.

    (Yes, I know they’re using Ukraine aid to force some immigration legislation on Biden, but I’m expecting more sound and fury than effective “solution”.)

  17. Jen says:

    @becca: The GOP’s “solution” to the immigration “problem” is cruelty, dispersed widely and often. They DNGAF about anything other than keeping the others out.

    This wasn’t always the case. The Chamber of Commerce wing of the Republican Party used to understand that cruelty branded populism was bad for the economy. With Trump, stupidity reigns. The man with FOUR anchor babies as offspring gets to bleat on and no one challenges him on it.

  18. Beth says:

    I suspect, but admittedly it’s just vibes, that Biden is simply biding his time. He’s a seasoned politician. He knows that more than anything, other than nerds like us, most of the country isn’t paying much attention to the election itself, they’re just vibing off of stuff.

    Over the course of the next year Trump will officially become the Republican nominee, and then Biden will have an actual opponent to run against. Instead of inchoate Republican. Over the course of the next year there will be both a steady drum beat of women harmed by abortion bans and GOP men spouting insane things about women’s bodies. There is an enormous chance of a woman dying a horrific death in an emergency room. Let me repeat, it is entirely likely, if not an absolute certainty that a woman will bleed out and die in a hospital because of pregnancy complications because doctors refuse to give her medical care because they are afraid.

    It is not outside the realm of possibility, and quite likely, that SCOTUS will use the Mipfisterone case to reinvigorate the Comstock act and overturn Griswald. How do you think people will react if suddenly birth control becomes illegal?

    As a lifelong Democrat, Biden doesn’t thrill me. But I’ll vote for him. I also don’t see the point in fighting with people right now over him. It won’t do any good to start fights now with people I know who call him “Genocide Joe” or the people who think he’s the “lesser of two evils”. I’ll start those fights in August of next year when it has a chance of working.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jen: It’s not a solution, it’s a performance. We are performing an act called “We’re doing everything we can”.

    Given that most of the people who are in the US illegally got here by legal means, there’s no amount of border security that will ever keep them out. They all know this.

    I mean, yeah, there is drug smuggling and its serious, and they want to spend more money on catching them. Whereas my own take is that the actual harm caused by this activity, while real, is not large, and doesn’t justify that kind of spending. But that’s something that can be horse-traded. And it’s likely that it would have been 20 years ago if others didn’t want to keep it open and fundraise,etc, on it.

    This is the actual substance of the issue, but the smoke and laser show is about something else.

    It’s a somewhat intractable problem that is definitely a first world problem.

    For instance, compare the number of people killed by drug smuggling on the Mexican border with the number killed by Oxycontin. Which is a worse problem?

  20. Beth says:


    lol, I’m technically an anchor baby. But my dad was an illegal from England so it doesn’t count or something. He literally walked in from Canada and disappeared. I’m pretty sure he only got away with it because, he was white, a charismatic Englishman, and it was the 70’s.

  21. Tony W says:

    They ask all these folks if they approve of the way Biden has handled climate change and inflation and immigration, etc. but they don’t ever ask them to name specifically what Biden actions or policies they agree with or disagree with – you know why? Because the electorate doesn’t have a clue what Biden is or is not doing about any of these issues.

    Republican misinformation is the primary factor in polling, and to some degree, election wins.

    I don’t know the solution.

  22. Lounsbury says:

    @becca: What about it? A strawman to drag out as a pretence distraction?
    @becca: A fine path to success, Whataboutism appealing to the pre-Sold.

  23. becca says:

    @Lounsbury: do you know the GOP immigration plan? If so, enlighten us.

  24. gVOR10 says:


    I suspect, but admittedly it’s just vibes, that Biden is simply biding his time.

    I thought I saw in Obama a pattern of govern for thee years then campaign for a year. The electorate don’t remember anything beyond six months, so why not keep your powder, and your funds, dry until it matters.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: @becca: Just today, I ended up listening to Lars Larsen. He wasn’t yammering on, today at least, about immigration, but he was making a case for the idea that treating street people addicted to drugs and alcohol is easy. All we have to do is stop searching for methods to treat addicts and simply move on to treating them! The reason that we don’t do this, of course, is because bobo lefties make their living (and consequently suck up all the treatment money) scamming teh gubmint about studying treatment (in response to Republican complaints in Congress and legislatures that treatment money is wasted because the treatment programs aren’t working–[about which the GOP may well be partially right 🙁 ]).

    Who knew the problem had such an easy solution??? I know I sure didn’t! But hearing both him and Lounsbury today, I’m sure that immigration is just as easy a problem to solve, and the bobo lefties are simply profiting off the problem without caring to solve it at all. /s

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: You must be one of the evil bougie prog bobos if Biden doesn’t thrill you even though you’re a lifelong Democrat. Sad to have to say this, but welcome to a life of continued dashed hopes because Biden may be a liberal as mainstream Democrats are willing to go in order to not alienate the moderates.

  27. Kathy says:

    Biden is doing one important thing that Bush the elder, Clinton, and Obama failed to do: begin the process of reversing the harms of Reagan’s Voodoo Economics.

  28. Lounsbury says:

    @becca: What relevance to political campaigning and winning election is a soi-disant “immigration plan” of the Republicans – or indeed to my comments?

    Or are you so profoundly deludedly naïve to think the a Plan is what the great mass of the voting electorate votes on?

    Republican “plans” are utterly and completely irrelevant except to people like you but people like you will never vote for them, so utterly irrelevant to the marginal-voter in contested constituenies vote conversion in the context of the specific electoral campaign on hand.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Who knew the problem had such an easy solution??? I know I sure didn’t! But hearing both him and Lounsbury today, I’m sure that immigration is just as easy a problem to solve

    A boring strawman – arising it would seem from you Left egghead intellectual ‘progressives’ constitutional inability to come to grips with the sour reality of elections and mass electorates not being things that engaging on wonkish “Plans” and “Solutions” is won on. Of course it is indeed what you care about – but mass electoral appeal and vote winning is a different subject.

    They are different subjects. Electoral campaigns and mass appeal and actual plans and resolutions. The immigration challenge is of course intractable and not in fact solved by the sloganeering of the opposition. And that is irrelevant to the political winning of such sloganeering. As like your collective foolishiness in trying to lecture and explain to the stupid ones on misapprehension on inflation or gas prices.

    Apparently the Left Intellos still are unable to grasp Reagan’s “if you are explaining you are losing.” – an insight not applying to yourselves as the target but applying indeed and not just USA to broad electorates.

    Dirty work of appealing and selling to Not Pre Sold.

    In such situations you lot rather make me think of an certain movie clip and earnestly strenously objecting.

  29. Andy says:


    What are the GOP’s solution to the immigration problem? I mean, actual sane solutions, not the crazy and cruel regurgitations of Trump.

    The GOP messaging is pretty consistent about enforcement, less immigration, especially illegal immigration, stopping the gaming of the asylum system, and less “chaos” at the border.

    To the extent that Republicans, in part or whole, have a set of coherent policies to achieve that, I don’t think it extends far beyond “building the wall” and implementing unspecified hand-wavy restrictions. In short, they don’t really have a policy.

    As weak as that is, it’s more consistent with what most Americans currently want than the contradictory but largely pro-immigration messaging from Democrats – who also don’t have a coherent policy beyond hand-waving.


    It seems to me that Biden needs to focus on the specific Swing States and then the specific Swing Demographics in those Swing States – and focus notably on the most sure voting demographics – high propensity – to convert key percentages to his column.

    I agree that Democrats need to focus their efforts there in the manner you describe. He – and the Democratic tent generally – need to do whatever is necessary to win there or he will lose.


    I suspect, but admittedly it’s just vibes, that Biden is simply biding his time. He’s a seasoned politician. He knows that more than anything, other than nerds like us, most of the country isn’t paying much attention to the election itself, they’re just vibing off of stuff.

    I think that’s smart to a certain extent, but he needs allies and proxies to be laying the groundwork. I’m concerned by what appears to be little effort made to understand key portions of the electorate, especially in swing states, and directly appealing to them in words and especially action.

  30. Raoul says:

    Rasmussen has Biden at 43% approval today and he has been around that number the last few months. Not great but neither is it that bad in these polarizing times. I have noticed great month to month variance in pollsters who poll approval ratings every month but I have not seen a good explanation as why this is. I will say the less you poll the greater the chance of randomness. Other factors could be live polling vs. robo-polling, turnover in the polling firms which may affect quality controls and who knows what else. I find it interesting in todays Siena/NYT poll that Biden has increased his lead among those who said they voted in 2020. He is ahead by 6% yet he won the election by 4.5%.

  31. Gustopher says:

    Luckily, Biden will be running against one of the most passionately hated men in America.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Lounsbury: Dude, I’m just showing the “thought process” that goes into the argument from your side as it gets presented in America. I know the argument is ridiculous, but these are the people your positions are defending. Personally, I’d be embarrassed, but then again, I’m a “left egghead intellectual progressive”–and a cracker at that. 🙁

  33. Jack says:

    Its the messaging. Its just messaging! Life in Biden time (with all due respect to the Talking Heads) is just fab. $20 bucks at Micky D’s for a meal.

    That’s what I’m sayin’, man. Uncle “Big Guy; 10%+ of $40MM in bribes” Joe is the best darned president we could have. Lunch Bucket Joe, except when eating at Fiola, he’s our man.

    Stick with him, folks. Stick with him.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    Big Mac Meal is $11.09 here in Vegas. McCrispy Meal in Los Angeles, $9.59. And, BTW, these are delivery prices.

    How dumb do you have to be to tell a lie that can be disproven with half a dozen keystrokes?

  35. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    How dumb do you have to be to tell a lie that can be disproven with half a dozen keystrokes?

    You do know who you are talking to, right?

  36. becca says:

    @Lounsbury: I have a hard time taking you seriously, as you can be so outlandishly priggish.

  37. Lounsbury says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My side??
    What pray tell do you think my side is?

    Were I voting in the USA it would be for Biden who I think has generally been quite competent and effective. Oh and I thought rather well of Mrs Pelosi. And generally personally favourable to liberal if organised immigration.

    However such personal preferences are irrelevant to the subject of winning an election in the face of popular populist reaction, and particularly with attention to the structure of electoral constituencies, and notably the structure of your electoral college.

    But it would appear you are unable to distinguish between recognising that the Republicammn populist sloganeering is electorally effective and support…

    @becca: priggish? What a queer non sequitur, although perhaps in your regional dialect it has some different meaning than in international English.