Biden Approval Dips Near Lowest Point, Finds Poll

23 March 2023, Canada, Ottawa: US President Joe Biden speaks during his meeting with Governor General of Canada Mary Simon after he arrived in Ottawa. (dpa)
23 March 2023, Canada, Ottawa: US President Joe Biden speaks during his meeting with Governor General of Canada Mary Simon after he arrived in Ottawa. (dpa)
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Biden Approval Dips Near Lowest Point, Finds Poll

23 March 2023, Canada, Ottawa: US President Joe Biden speaks during his meeting with Governor General of Canada Mary Simon after he arrived in Ottawa. (dpa)
23 March 2023, Canada, Ottawa: US President Joe Biden speaks during his meeting with Governor General of Canada Mary Simon after he arrived in Ottawa. (dpa)

Approval of President Joe Biden has dipped slightly since a month ago, nearing the lowest point of his presidency as his administration tries to project a sense of stability while confronting a pair of bank failures and inflation that remains stubbornly high.

That’s according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which shows there have been modest fluctuations in support for Biden over the past several months.

The president notched an approval rating of 38% in the new poll, after 45% said they approved in February and 41% in January. His ratings hit their lowest point of his presidency last July, at 36%, as the full weight of rising gasoline, food and other costs began to hit US households.

In recent months, approval of Biden had been hovering above 40%.

Interviews with poll respondents suggest the public has mixed feelings about Biden, who is expected to announce a reelection bid by this summer. When it comes to the president, people generally do not swing between the extremes of absolute loyalty and aggressive loathing that have been a feature of this era’s divided politics.

“Neutral towards approve,” Andrew Dwyer, 30, said of Biden. “I don’t think he’s the best at representing my position and issues. But I know being president involves compromises.”

Dwyer, a data analyst in Milwaukee, said he voted for the president in 2020 and considers himself to be liberal. He acknowledged the recent failures of the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, but he said that the economy is adjusting to higher interest rates set by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation.

“We all got so used to cheap debt and the ability to throw money around,” Dwyer said. He said there were “pain points” caused by higher borrowing costs but that he thinks the process will “ultimately” lead to a healthier economy.

The president has taken ambitious steps to boost the US economy, with his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package from 2021, infrastructure investments, support for computer chip plants and taxes on corporations and the wealthy to help fund health care and a shift away from fossil fuels.

But those efforts involve multiyear investments that have yet to provide much optimism to a public dealing with annual inflation at 6%.

The president and other administration officials have toured the country to promote their achievements. But to many, the economy feels as though it could be on a knife’s edge after the recent bank failures, as well as the debt limit showdown with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., that could put the US government at risk of defaulting.

Just 31% approve of Biden’s stewardship of the national economy, about where it’s been over the course of the last year. His handling of the nation’s economic fortunes has been a weak point at least since late 2021, when the inflation that the administration had suggested was transitory became a bigger pain point for businesses and families.

Michael McComas, 51, voted Republican in 2020 and described Biden as “not great — average, I guess.” A resident of Westland, Michigan, he noted that it will take years to determine whether federal infrastructure spending fulfills the promises made by Biden.

McComas said he believes inflation is the direct result of government spending to counter the pandemic, a claim that Biden has personally rejected when asked by reporters.

“We poured so much money into the system — that’s a little frustrating that we were shocked that we got hit by inflation when a lot of our policies were inflationary,” McComas said.

The difference between Biden’s approval overall and his approval on the economy is driven largely by Democrats, 76% of whom say they approve of how he’s handling his job as president while 63% approve of his handling of the economy. Few Republicans approve of Biden on either count.

Democrats under the age of 45 feel less positive about Biden, causing a drag on his approval ratings. Just 54% approve of the president’s economic leadership, compared to 72% of Democrats older than 45. Similarly, just 66% of Democrats under 45 approve of Biden overall, compared to 85% of older Democrats.

Only about a quarter of Americans say the national economy is good or that the country is headed in the right direction, the poll shows. Those numbers have also fluctuated only slightly over the last few months.

Ratings of Biden’s handling of foreign policy (39%) and climate change (41%) are about on par with his overall approval ratings. Seventy-four percent of Democrats and 9% of Republicans approve of Biden on foreign policy, while 67% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans approve of his handling of climate change.

Theresa Ojuro, a 29-year-old doctoral student in Rochester, New York, said she “expected more” from Biden — “just a little bit more stability with the economy.” Ojuro, who voted for Biden in 2020, also noted that the bank failures are dragging down her sentiment, but she worries about how high taxes are in New York state relative to the benefits provided.

“If Biden is doing his job, why in a state like this can you see people really suffering?” Ojuro said.



Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
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Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT

The Turkish president on Saturday put a damper on hopes for a quick resumption of talks to heal a half-century of ethnic division on Cyprus, reaffirming his support for a two-state deal that Greek Cypriots dismiss as a non-starter.

Speaking ahead of a military parade to mark the 50th anniversary of a Turkish invasion that split the island along ethnic lines, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a peace deal based on a United Nations-endorsed plan for federation.

Although Erdogan has previously rejected the federation plan, Greece and the Greek Cypriots had hoped he would soften his position.

The anniversary is a festive occasion for Turkish Cypriots in the island's northern third, who view the invasion as salvation from the Greek-speaking majority's domination. The invasion followed a coup that aimed at a union with Greece, which was backed by the Junta then ruling in Athens, according to The AP.

In the south, the howl of air raid sirens at daybreak began a solemn day marking what Greek Cypriots remember as a catastrophe that left thousands of people dead or missing and displaced a quarter of the Greek Cypriot population.

Erdogan’s remarks may further complicate UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ effort to get both sides back to the negotiating table. His personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, has spent the past six months scoping both sides out.

“We will continue to fight with determination for the recognition of the TRNC (breakaway Turkish Cypriot state) and the implementation of a two-state solution," Erdogan told throngs of Turkish Cypriots lining the parade route in scorching heat in the northern half of the divided capital, Nicosia.

“A federal solution in Cyprus is not possible, this is what we believe. ... The Turkish Cypriot side, as equals with the Greek side, are willing to negotiate and are ready to sit down and negotiate. If you want a solution, you need to recognize the rights of Turkish Cypriots."

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar reiterated that Turkish Cypriots reject “domination” by the Greek Cypriot majority and seek “equal national status” for their breakaway state they unilaterally declared in 1983, which is only recognized by Turkey. He added that there's now “no common ground” for a return to peace negotiations.

Referring to a recent resolution in the Ankara parliament calling for a two-state solution, Tatar said it “will help us and our cause incredibly.”

The island's Greek Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides urged Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots to re-engage in reunification talks if Ankara genuinely seeks regional security and stability and to nudge closer to the European Union.

After numerous failed rounds of peace negotiations, many Cypriots on both sides — although jaded — still hold out a glimmer of hope for a peace deal.