President Joe Biden’s recent low approval ratings stem in part from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its continued impact on everyday life, according to a recent focus group of Pennsylvania Democrats, Politico reports.
"There is a malaise," said Sarah Longwell, a longtime Republican strategist and a Biden supporter who led the focus group. "People don’t feel like their lives have been improved. They did sort of feel that promises aren’t being kept."
She added that the Democrats in the group expressed similar concerns that she’s heard from Republicans, and that she was struck by how Democrats largely didn’t blame Republicans for blocking the president’s agenda.
Longwell said Democrats in Washington, including Biden, "are in a morass of fighting with each (other) over bills that nobody knows what’s in. It just looks like a cluster."
A study in Nevada found similar results. Gretchen Barton, research director at the nonprofit Future Majority, which is aligned with Democrats, conducted the study along with the liberal group Way to Win and found that Democrats and independents in Clark County are "anxious, tired, and exhausted" and that they "looked at the government’s [COVID] stumbles along the way and shrugged their collective shoulders."
Barton said, "I see them as flat on their backs."
Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg wrote in a memo released last week that Biden "needs to have a fierce urgency in his work to get a deal done, allowing Dems to once again refocus on what voters want more than anything else – defeating COVID/ensuring our recovery/returning to normal life. As Dems talk about their agenda, any part of it, it needs to begin with 'as we work to defeat COVID, create a strong, growing economy again, return to normal.'"
"The president’s decline is alarming," he told Politico. "It’s serious. But it also can be reversed. And it isn't going to be reversed by passing these two bills alone. He has to get Covid under control."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that there’s "no question" that the pandemic has hurt Biden’s approval rating.
"This is a really tough time in our country. We’re still battling Covid and a lot of people thought we’d be through it, including us," she said, adding that Biden’s is focused "on getting the pandemic under control, returning to life, a version of normal so people can have [the] security of going into work."
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