Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States in January 2021 after defeating former president Donald Trump in the 2020 election. While Biden won the popular vote and electoral college, he remains a divisive figure among Americans. According to polls, Biden has lower approval ratings than most modern presidents at this point in their term. This has led many to wonder – why do people hate Joe Biden? There are several potential reasons explored in this article.
Reasons for Biden Disapproval
Biden campaigned on a message of unity and bringing the country together after four polarizing years under Trump. However, many feel Biden has failed to bridge the stark political divide. Congressional voting shows Democrats and Republicans as divided as ever. Biden’s liberal policies and progressive agenda are fundamentally at odds with conservative principles. This has caused resentment among right-leaning voters.
Perceived Liberal Shift
Biden has pushed what some see as the most progressive presidency in modern history. He has expanded government spending on social programs, raised taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and championed liberal social reforms. This platform is popular with his left-wing base but concerning for moderates and conservatives. His stances on issues like abortion, transgender rights, immigration, racial justice, and climate change represent a clear shift left from previous administrations. This has alienated more traditionalist Americans.
Many feel Biden has failed to adequately handle major issues like inflation, illegal immigration, crime, and foreign policy challenges. Inflation is at a 40-year high, with rising prices squeezing household budgets. The southern border crisis continues unabated, with illegal crossings and drug smuggling surging. Violent crime rates are spiking in major cities. Overseas, relations with rivals like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea remain tense. For voters impacted by these problems, Biden’s leadership has been lacking.
Perceived Mental Decline
Biden is the oldest person ever elected president, and will turn 80 in 2022. His frequent verbal gaffes, memory lapses, and rambling manner of speaking have raised doubts about his mental acuity and fitness to lead. Though his physicians say he is fit for office, many believe the job’s demands have become too much for someone his age. This perceived cognitive decline has undermined confidence in Biden’s leadership.
Personality and Likability
Beyond policies and issues, Biden also suffers from a likability problem. While known for his folksy, avuncular style, he lacks the charisma, vision, and rhetorical skills of predecessors like Obama, Clinton, and Reagan. Biden often appears agitated and angry when challenged. He lashes out at critics and insults those who question him. For some voters, Biden’s personality fails to inspire. They see him as an incompetent placeholder rather than a national leader.
Factors Fueling Negative Views
Today’s highly partisan media environment exacerbates negative feelings towards Biden. Conservative outlets like Fox News amplify criticism and attack Biden daily. Social media spreads anti-Biden narratives rapidly to millions. This barrage of biased, hostile information shapes perceptions, especially among Republicans already inclined to dislike Biden. The right-wing echo chamber fans the flames of Biden hate.
Trump’s False Stolen Election Claims
Many Republicans rightly or wrongly believe Biden stole the 2020 election. Despite lack of evidence, former president Trump continues claiming massive fraud caused his defeat. This false stolen election narrative convinces supporters that Biden is an illegitimate president who cheated his way into office. This perception stokes tremendous resentment and backlash against Biden.
Biden pursues many policies that conservatives philosophically oppose, like tax hikes, regulation, expanded social spending, climate action, etc. These policy differences cause dislike for what Biden represents versus who he is personally. For fiscal conservatives and libertarians, Biden’s platform is anathema regardless of his character.
Biden took office amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has now dragged on three years. Many are exhausted and frustrated by ongoing mitigation measures like masks and vaccines championed by Biden. Though not necessarily Biden’s fault, this pandemic fatigue breeds resentment towards the current leadership.
Biden Approval by Demographic
|18-29 year olds||38%|
|30-49 year olds||40%|
|50-64 year olds||41%|
|65+ year olds||44%|
*Approval ratings based on polling averages from RealClearPolitics, October 2022.
This table shows Biden has high approval among Democrats and Black voters, while Republicans, Independents, Hispanics, and White voters give him low ratings. Approval is fairly consistent by gender and age.
How Biden Could Improve His Standing
Focus on Kitchen Table Issues
Biden should refocus his policy agenda on economic issues impacting voters’ daily lives – jobs, wages, costs, taxes, healthcare. De-emphasize divisive social issues and reforms. Tout his administration’s record on creating jobs and stimulating growth. Biden performs best when talking bread and butter issues.
Return to Bipartisan Governance
Biden should renew his earlier vows to work across the aisle and restore bipartisanship. Pursue policy compromises with Republicans rather than forcing through partisan Democratic wish lists. Americans yearn for less confrontational politics from Washington. Biden could regain goodwill by making bipartisanship more than just rhetoric.
Project More Empathy
Biden should spend less time lashing out at critics and more time listening to voters’ concerns with empathy. He appears arrogant and out of touch when dismissing or insulting those who disagree with him. Showing genuine understanding for Americans impacted by problems like inflation and crime would make Biden seem more caring.
Appear Tougher on Foreign Threats
Biden’s perceived weakness and ineptitude on the world stage worries voters. He should talk and act tougher regarding threats from China, Russia, Iran and present a stronger, steadier hand at international relations. Restoring faith in Biden’s ability to handle global tensions would bolster his leadership image.
Focus on Competence Over Wokeness
Voters care more about results than woke ideology and culture wars. Biden gets bogged down championing progressive stances on issues like gender, race, and climate theory. He should emphasize pragmatic, common sense solutions to everyday problems. Biden appears out of touch fixating on social issues versus pocketbook priorities.
Joe Biden faces significant disapproval as president for reasons ranging from policy differences to perceived incompetence and social extremism. His progressivist agenda, liberal shift leftward, and inability to unite a divided nation have alienated half of America. While Biden enjoys support within his base, skepticism elsewhere has left his leadership hobbled. To recover, Biden needs a course correction focused on the economy, bipartisanship, empathy, toughness abroad and practical competence at home. With time running short before midterms, he must reshape public perception soon to avoid lame duck status. The above proposals offer President Biden a playbook for rehabilitating his image, recapturing moderate voters, and governing more effectively on behalf of all Americans, even those who dislike him.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Biden’s approval rating so low?
Biden’s approval rating averages just 41%, down from 55% when he first took office. This is due to factors like high inflation, the border crisis, foreign policy challenges, discontent with his liberal policies among moderates and conservatives, doubt about his mental fitness at an advanced age, and an unlikable personality/leadership style for many.
Does Biden have the lowest approval of any modern president?
Yes, Biden’s current 41% approval is lower than Donald Trump (42% at this point), Barack Obama (50%), George W. Bush (49%), Bill Clinton (55%), George H.W. Bush (60%), and Ronald Reagan (49%). Only Harry Truman in the 1940s had a lower approval rating than Biden at this stage of a presidency.
Who disapproves of Biden the most?
Biden has just 12% approval among Republican voters in polls. Conservatives disapprove due to his liberal policies and perception he is leading the country too far left. He also scores low among groups like independents, whites, and Hispanics. The groups most approving of Biden are Democrats (82%) and Black Americans (63%).
What could improve Biden’s public image?
Biden could improve his image by refocusing on bread and butter economic issues, restoring bipartisanship in DC, showing more empathy to struggling Americans, projecting strength against foreign adversaries, and emphasizing pragmatic competence over woke ideological stances. Appearing more in touch with voters’ everyday concerns could boost his popularity.
Will Biden’s approval improve before the midterms?
It will be difficult for Biden to significantly improve his approval in the few months before midterm elections. Most modern presidents see their ratings locked in at this stage. However, if inflation eased or a major policy achievement occurred, he could gain a few points. Barring an unexpected event, Biden’s approval likely stays low into November.