A Critique of Biden’s First Year as President

Why have Biden’s approval ratings dipped?


Becerra Manny / Unsplash

President Joe Biden’s approval rating stands at 42.6% as of March 6th, 2022.

President Joseph Biden has had a rough past year. Since his inauguration on January 20th, 2021, he has struggled with maintaining high approval ratings. For his first few months in office, Biden maintained a steady 52% approval rating, according to FiveThirtyEight averages. Until July 2021, Biden’s presidency had been called relatively stable. But around late July 2021, his approval rating plunged and it has not been the same since. One year into his presidency, most Americans, including Biden himself, would not be able to tell you precisely where the problem lies — but they certainly know there is one.

Journalist Molly Ball writes, “One year in, there’s a growing sense that the Biden presidency has lost its way. An Administration that pledged to restore competence and normalcy seems over matched and reactive.” Most political pundits would agree. By most accounts, Biden mishandled the exit of American troops from Afghanistan, he has not reigned in rapid inflation, and despite his best efforts, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic continues to remain prominent in most voters minds.

Some critics have gone as far as to call Biden one of America’s least popular presidents, and while statistically this is untrue, they make a few compelling points. From an informal poll of Bronx Science students that I conducted, many of them agree that Biden needs a course correction. On a 1-5 scale (1 being worst and 5 being best), Bronx Science students rated Biden an average of 2.5 on the economy, 1.5 on immigration, and 2.5 on foreign policy. 

Joe Biden’s inauguration represented a rejection of the past four tumultuous years under President Donald Trump, providing a promise that at least for the next four years, American policies would be better. For the majority of Americans who voted for him, they have been. But Biden has yet to mark a distinct enough change in the American landscape to set it back on the right track.

With few major accomplishments to name (due to Republican obstruction in the Senate and a razor thin majority of Democrats in the Senate), as democrats head into the November 2022 midterms, something has to change. But without a clear democratic strategy, a Republican wave seems inevitable. 

As democrats attempt to move forward with their Voting Rights Act, framing is key. Their accomplishments must be big and loud, remaining in the news cycle long enough to make a dent. 

Becoming a transformational figure whose popularity may not be based in hard policy will be difficult for Biden, but to remain relevant, he must find ways to stay in voter’s minds. His administration must act now or risk becoming a democratic presidential term bookended by two Republican ones. 

But Biden has yet to mark a distinct enough change in the American landscape to set it back on the right track.