Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
March 26, 2022
The following poll results casted Biden in a very weak position, especially the mid-term election is closing in. Biden and his team are working hard, but their efforts have not improved US economy as inflation is rising. On the one hand, Ukraine war is a significant issue and Biden must focus on. But despite all the sanctions against Russia led by the US, there is no immediate cease fire is in sight. It is not clear whether Biden’s personal effort is hurting or helping the cease fire negotiation between Russia and Ukraine, because US is not a part of the negotiation.
On the other hand, Ukraine war has disrupted the global energy market. It is a major factor of high gasoline price in the USA. The poll showed that major in the US do not necessary blame Biden for the rising gasoline price, but US economy is in a bad shape and Biden is in charge. One sense is that Biden should pay more attention to the domestic issues than Ukraine war. Specifically, US voters are tired of promises and pronouncements on virtue, value, morality or the high employment rate, rather many voters are looking for the federal government’s policy for getting by day by day. Unfortunately, many Biden’s domestic agenda are stalled with no sign of moving forward.
Nearly two-thirds disapprove of Biden’s handling of economy: poll
Fri, March 25, 2022, 4:46 AM
Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the economy, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
And respondents were more likely than not to say that they think Biden’s policies have hurt the economy more than they have helped it.
Overall, 65 percent of those surveyed said they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, which includes 96 percent of Republican respondents and 36 percent of Democratic ones.
Despite the numbers on Biden’s handling of the economy, less than half of respondents said they blamed the president for high gas prices.
Fifty-five percent of those polled said they think that gas prices are rising due to factors outside of Biden’s control, while 44 percent blamed the president for the spikes.
There was a large split along party lines, as 79 percent of respondents who identified as Republicans specifically blamed Biden for high gas prices while 88 percent of Democrats said that the surge was beyond the White House’s control.
Overall, 68 percent of Americans polled say they are worried about gas prices.
The disparity in the blame for the overall economy and for spiking gas prices shows that respondents have an eye on the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a driver of energy prices, the AP noted.
A majority of those surveyed also say they think that the president’s focus should be on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with 55 percent saying that is a higher priority than Biden attempting to mitigate damage to the U.S. economy.
AP-NORC poll: Low marks for Biden on economy as prices rise
JOSH BOAK and EMILY SWANSON
Thu, March 24, 2022, 9:17 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) — A majority of Americans say they don’t blame President Joe Biden for high gasoline prices, but they’re giving his economic leadership low marks amid fears of inflation and deep pessimism about economic conditions.
About 7 in 10 Americans say the nation’s economy is in bad shape, and close to two-thirds disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In addition, Americans are more likely to say his policies have hurt the economy than helped it.
Yet less than half say the jump in gas prices is Biden’s fault, a reflection of how the country is processing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting increase in oil costs.
The polls hints at a paradox in which the public views Biden as being in power without necessarily being in control. His hopes for a lasting economic renaissance have faded as Americans cope with higher food and energy costs. And the promise of a country no longer under the pandemic’s sway has been supplanted by the uncertainty of war in Europe.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Adam Newago, 53, a truck driver from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He sees inflation as spiraling outward with higher fuel prices increasing the costs of shipping and ultimately raising prices across the broader economy.
Newago said he reluctantly voted for President Donald Trump in 2020, while his wife cast her ballot for Biden. He feels that inflation at a 40-year high and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan have led to a “mess.”
Overall, 65% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the nation’s economy, including 96% of Republicans and 36% of Democrats. The overall share saying they disapprove is up from 57% in December of 2021 and from 47% last July.
Gas prices stand above other types of inflation when it comes to the worries ordinary Americans have about price increases impacting their bottom lines. A hefty 68% said they’re very concerned about gas prices, while 59% expressed the same degree of worry about rising grocery prices.
Gas prices were high before Putin began amassing forces at the Ukrainian border, but they’ve risen since the start of the war without producing a slew of additional oil to come onto the market.
Tammy Baca, 52, who works in education in Fort Worth, Texas, said that prices at the pump are a function of the geopolitics.
“You’re going to have to suffer, you know?” said Baca, a Democrat. “It’s almost like we’re pitching in for wartime effort, without even being at war.”
Many Americans agree, with 55% saying it’s a bigger priority for the U.S. to effectively sanction Russia than to limit damage to the U.S. economy.
Shelter is the dominant expenditure in the government’s measure of inflation, but less than half of Americans — 40% — say they’re very concerned about higher than usual housing costs impacting their household finances. Another 24% are somewhat concerned.
Fifty-three percent of Americans also say they’re very concerned about higher prices for other goods and services.
Overall, Americans are more likely to say that higher than usual gas prices are more because of factors outside of Biden’s control than because of Biden’s policies, 55% to 44%.
Still, more think Biden’s policies are hurting the economy than helping it, 48% to 24%. Another 28% say they haven’t made much difference. The rejection comes after Biden steered a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and $1 trillion infrastructure package through Congress, though his agenda on economic equity and clean energy stalled in Congress last December.
For Jennifer Smith, the relief package was a financial lifeline. The 50-year-old lives off disability and lives with her daughter in Zanesville, Ohio. Smith voted for Trump in 2020, but she disliked the Jan. 6, 2020, assault on the U.S. Capitol. She not only received a direct payment from the government but $250 monthly in the expanded child tax credit — both of which have disappeared while the inflation has stayed.
“I know this sounds crazy, but I’m thrilled to be able to pay bills,” Smith said. “With the way it is right now, I can’t without borrowing, robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Eighty-eight percent of Democrats say high gas prices are outside Biden’s control, while 79% of Republicans specifically blame his policies, which many said in follow-up interviews limited U.S. energy production. Most Republicans say Biden’s policies are hurting the economy, but among Democrats, 45% say they’re helping and 39% say they’re not making much difference.
The poll suggests support among Democrats for Biden’s economic leadership is decidedly lukewarm, especially among those under 45. That’s a meaningful difference from the loyalty that the GOP expressed for Trump — who in March 2018 enjoyed an 84% approval on the economy from his fellow Republicans.
In yet another sign of how partisanship is shaping views of the economy and inflation, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they’re very concerned about the impact on their households from higher prices for gas, groceries, housing, and other goods and services.
Overall, 69% of Americans say that the nation’s economy is in poor shape, compared with 31% who say it’s good. The share saying the economy is poor has ticked up slightly from 64% in December. Still, 63% call their personal financial situation good, a number that has stayed remarkably steady since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
As for Biden, his supporters say he’s been held back by Congress and the challenges created by the disruptions and crises that are part of the U.S. presidency.
Mary Payne, 75, a nurse in California, said she wouldn’t say Biden’s performance has been “excellent,” though it’s been “good” and “probably fair.” She said she opposed Trump in 2020 and views the Republicans right now as obstructive.
“I don’t know how many roadblocks are put up for him doing what he wants to do,” Payne said. “I think the heart is there. I think that he cares.”
The Memo: Biden in a bind as Ukraine crisis fails to pump up polls
President Biden is astride the world stage, charting a steady course on the Ukraine crisis — but it’s not doing him much good at home.
Biden has largely done what he said he would regarding Ukraine, maintaining a high degree of Western unity against Russian President Vladimir Putin while avoiding tactics that would cause the conflict to escalate.
His approval ratings have barely budged.
That’s a sizable problem for a president whose party faces a high risk of losing control of Congress in midterm elections that are now about seven months away.
Voters don’t necessarily dislike what Biden is doing in Ukraine. Nor are they indifferent to the suffering seen in Kyiv, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities as the Russian invasion enters its second month.
But other problems — inflation above all — figure far more prominently in American voters’ lives. And unless Biden can ameliorate those troubles, his party may suffer steep losses in November. Such an outcome would leave the president tightly constrained by a GOP-led Congress for the final two years of his first term.
In that scenario, “the only thing I’ll have then is a veto pen,” Biden warned Democrats at a party retreat in Philadelphia earlier this month.
“It is hard for the president’s party to win [in bad economic times] no matter what is happening on the other side of the globe,” GOP strategist Alex Conant told this column. “The president can be racking up Nobel Peace Prizes but if voters feel economic uncertainty they are going to want a change in leadership.”
Conant cited the example of former President George H.W. Bush. The elder Bush’s approval rating in Gallup polling hit a stratospheric 89 percent in the immediate aftermath of the first Iraq War — only for him to lose his reelection bid to former President Clinton amid economic unease roughly 18 months later.
The White House has sought to thread the needle, with Biden emphasizing that he is not disconnected from voters’ domestic concerns even amid a huge international crisis.
The president has talked frequently about the need to combat inflation and he has also sought to warn Americans that there will be a price to be paid, particularly in terms of high gas prices, because of the conflict in Ukraine. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has sounded similar themes during her regular media briefings.
More recently, Biden, Psaki and others have sought to pin the blame for rising costs at home on the Russian president, with references to “Putin’s price hike.”
People close to Biden are also trying to sell the president’s achievements in a larger sense.
They cite the nation’s progress against COVID-19, the pandemic relief package that passed a year ago and the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Biden signed in November.
White House aides often cite the huge job growth under Biden, even as Republicans argue the strong numbers are the automatic outcome of a nation emerging from the pandemic.
Whatever gloss the different parties prefer to put on it, 6.6 million jobs were created during Biden’s first year.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Thursday seized on new figures about unemployment that demonstrate the strength of the job market.
“I’m sure this good news will get the same coverage that bad economic reports receive but just in case it doesn’t — Today, unemployment claims hit their lowest level since 1969,” Klain tweeted. “The number of Americans relying on unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level since 1970.”
Klain’s sardonic tone was justified, however. Those new numbers caused barely a ripple in a news agenda dominated by Ukraine and gas prices.
The fundamental conundrum Biden faces is near-insoluble: He has to give the lion’s share of his attention and energy to countering the Russian invasion but doing so inevitably marginalizes issues that might better move the needle with American voters.
An Associated Press/NORC poll earlier this week indicated that 43 percent of adults approve of Biden’s job performance and 56 percent disapprove — a finding essentially unchanged from the last survey from the same organizations, which was conducted just before the Russian invasion.
A NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll, also released in recent days, showed the same pattern.
The NewsNation poll had 44 percent of registered voters approving of Biden’s overall job performance and 56 percent disapproving. Those results were virtually identical to a previous survey late last month, right before Biden’s State of the Union address.
The AP poll and the NewsNation poll each offered mixed results on Biden’s handling of Russia and Ukraine, with the president’s performance receiving ratings that were neither stellar nor awful.
But concerns about the economy trumped all else.
The AP poll showed just 34 percent of adults approving of Biden’s handling of the economy and 65 percent disapproving.
While there was, as ever, a strong partisan split between Democratic and Republican voters, independents took an unfavorable view of Biden’s economic performance by a massive 60-point margin, with just 18 percent approving and 78 percent disapproving.
Biden, who will complete his international trip in Warsaw on Saturday, struck a philosophical tone about the electoral consequences of his actions at a news conference in Brussels on Thursday.
“No election is worth my not doing exactly what I think is the right thing,” he said.
But his party colleagues in Congress, looking at the polling numbers and the ticking clock, might not be so sanguine.
The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage