A new Wall Street Journal poll shows more troubling news for President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats less than eight months before the midterm elections.
The survey found that 57% of voters remained unhappy with Biden's job performance, even after imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and his State of the Union speech, WSJ reported Friday.
Just 42% approved of Biden's job performance – a number virtually unchanged from the previous WSJ poll in mid-November.
With half the respondents citing inflation as the top issue affecting the country, 63% said they disapproved of Biden's handling of rising costs — the president's worst rating on six policy issues surveyed in the WSJ poll.
A total of 47% said Republicans were better able to handle inflation, compared with 30% who chose Democrats.
Voters said the GOP (45%) more than Democrats (37%) had a better plan to improve the economy.
"The mood of the country hasn't gotten any better since the last poll. In fact, it's gotten a little worse," Democrat pollster John Anzalone, whose company conducted the survey along with the firm of Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, told WSJ.
Democrats even lost support with issues on which they held an advantage last November.
- Which party is best able to improve education? Democrats (41%) saw a 9-point lead reduced to 5 points over Republicans (36%).
- Which party is best able to handle the COVID pandemic? Democrats (42%) saw a 16-point lead reduced to 11 points over Republicans (31%).
- Which party is best able to look out for middle-class families? Republicans (41%), Democrats (40%) – a 6-point swing in the GOP's favor.
A total of 46% said they would back a Republican candidate for Congress if the election were today, and 41% chose a Democrat — a 2-point improvement for the GOP since November's WSJ survey.
"A lot of Democrats will want to use [former President Donald] Trump as the boogeyman in the midterm elections, but he's not on the ballot," Fabrizio told WSJ. "And that's really important, given how important inflation and the economy are to voters."
Since the last WSJ poll in November, Americans have been confronted with a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, supply-chain issues affecting store supplies, and escalating gasoline and other consumer prices that have put inflation at a 40-year high.
The Ukraine conflict, chosen by 25%, came in second for "top issue facing the country."
Nearly 50% of voters said they approved of how Biden has dealt with Russia, compared with 44% who disapproved.
Asked specifically how Biden has handled the crisis in Ukraine, 47% said they approved and 46% disapproved.
The WSJ poll was conducted March 2-7 among 1,500 registered voters. It has a margin of error +/- 2.5 pct. pts.
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