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President Joe Biden’s approval rating dips to new lows amid COVID delta surge, polls show

President Joe Biden on June 4, 2021, at Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

President Joe Biden’s approval rating fell to new lows this past week, with a pair of polls showing between four- and eight-percentage-point drops in support as about half of Americans now say they like the job he’s doing — and half don’t.

CBS News/YouGov survey of 2,100 adults last week showed Americans split 50%-50% between those who approve and disapprove of Biden. An NBC News poll showed his approval rating at 49%, a four-point drop since April just as the percentage of respondents who disapproved jumped by nine points, from 39% to 48%. The latest polls follow bipartisan critique of the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the ongoing surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by the highly contagious delta variant, appears to be the biggest factor in the weakened support.

“It is the domestic storm, Covid’s delta wave, that is causing more difficulties at this stage here at home and for President Biden,” NBC co-pollster Jeff Horwitt told the news network.

Fifty-three percent of NBC News’ 1,000 respondents said they approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic — a majority but a far cry from the 69% support he saw in April.

Biden’s also seen his support from independents nosedive during the delta surge, from 81% who backed his pandemic efforts in April to 52% now, the NBC News poll showed. Overall, 46% of independents backed Biden’s performance in the White House, compared to 61% four months ago.

The CBS News poll showed a majority, 53%, disapproved of the way Biden was managing the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and that 67% said he had no “clear plan” for evacuating Americans. But Biden — who disagreed the Obama administration’s troop surge — finds most Americans in line with his push to get U.S. armed forces out of the country: 63% approve removing troops, compared to 37% who want our military presence to remain, the poll showed.

Biden still averages a higher approval rating than his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who never averaged more than 44.4% support, according to polls tracked by RealClearPolitics.

Biden had already seen a reduced rating last month after high averages the first few months after taking office, with Gallup in July noting the delta variant and continued polarization were impacting the president’s support.

For the first time, support for Biden among independents dipped below a majority to 48% in July, and Democratic support at 90% marked a new low as well.

Biden’s overall performance during his term’s first second quarter — an average of 53% — is still better than former Trump and Bill Clinton during the same time period, with Gallup noting economic gains including lower unemployment and an infrastructure deal pushing through Congress on Biden’s watch.

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