White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for President Biden’s poor approval rating, which has fallen to a new low in recent polling.
Asked about recent polling that showed Biden’s approval taking a significant hit, particularly among independent voters, Psaki said that “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 continued. “And because of the rise of the delta variant, because of the fact that even though it was a vaccine approved under a Republican administration, even though we now have full FDA approval, and even though it’s widely available across the country, we still have… 20 percent of the country who have decided not to get vaccinated.”
“No question that’s having an impact. And of course as the president has said, the buck stops with him,” Psaki said. “That’s far and away the biggest issue in the minds of the American people, and it’s impacting a lot of issues.”
While a RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Biden’s approval rating at a lackluster 43 percent — down from 51 percent in early August — Psaki defended the president by saying that as the pandemic has worn on, it has had a ripple effect on the economy, the labor market and supply chains that has disenchanted many Americans.
In Quinnipiac’s latest national poll, released Wednesday, 38 percent of respondents approved of Biden’s performance while 53 disapproved, a record low for his presidency. Meanwhile, 60 percent of independents disapproved of Biden’s performance, according to the poll.
The new data dropped Biden’s average approval rating across multiple polls to 44.6 percent, according to Real Clear Politics.
Psaki’s response seemingly ignored several missteps by the administration in recent weeks including a botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, an unprecedented border crisis, rising inflation and growing concern over debt default.
In the Quinnipiac poll, Biden received poor scores across major policy areas including pandemic response, the economy, oversight over the military as commander-in-chief, fiscal issues, foreign policy, immigration, and the border situation.
Respondents were also skeptical of the president, with just 49 percent saying they believe he cares about average Americans. Fifty percent said they believe Biden is dishonest, while 44 percent feel the opposite.
Additionally, 56 percent did not have faith in the president’s leadership skills and 55 percent did not believe the Biden administration is competent enough to run the government.
“Battered on trust, doubted on leadership, and challenged on overall competency, President Biden is being hammered on all sides as his approval rating continues its downward slide to a number not seen since the tough scrutiny of the Trump administration,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.