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Biden Ends 2023 With 39% Job Approval
Politics

Biden Ends 2023 With 39% Job Approval

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Story Highlights

  • Biden’s job rating up slightly from 37% last month to 39% now
  • Biden’s rating lowest of recent presidents at same point in their presidencies
  • 鶹ýAV Economic Confidence Index improves from -40 to -32

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Joe Biden’s job approval rating is 39%, marking a slight improvement from the 37% low points in October and November but the fifth time his rating is below 40% in 2023.

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During the latest poll’s Dec. 1-20 field period, the war between Israel and Hamas continued after a late November pause in fighting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Biden at the White House to ask for the United States’ help in his country’s war with Russia, and House Republicans unanimously voted to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden.

While rank-and-file Republicans’ ratings of Biden have been firmly entrenched in the single digits since August 2021, independents’ ratings have been more variable. After hitting a record-low 27% in November, approval of Biden is up seven percentage points this month. Approval of Biden among Democrats is currently 78%, down slightly from last month’s 83%.

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Biden’s Current Rating Worse Than Other Modern Presidents at Same Point

Looking at the approval ratings of the past seven presidents at the same point in their first term in office, Biden’s current 39% is the lowest. Barack Obama (43%) and Donald Trump (45%) had slightly higher ratings heading into the year they sought reelection, while all of the others were above 50%.

Job approval ratings of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush were 51%, and Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter stood at 54%. Buoyed by the mid-December capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003, George W. Bush had the highest approval rating of the eight presidents (58%).

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Economic Confidence Slightly Improved, but Still Negative

Americans’ confidence in the economy, while still in negative territory, has improved in December.

鶹ýAV regularly tracks Americans' ratings of national economic conditions as excellent, good, only fair or poor, as well as their views on whether the economy is getting better or worse. The combined responses are used to create the 鶹ýAV Economic Confidence Index (ECI), which has a theoretical range of +100 (if all respondents say the economy is excellent or good and that it is getting better) to -100 (if all say it is poor and getting worse).

This month, about four in five U.S. adults rate current economic conditions in the country as only fair (33%) or poor (45%), with few describing conditions as excellent (3%) or good (19%). Furthermore, 68% of Americans say the economy is getting worse, 28% say it is improving, and 4% think it is staying the same.

The resulting -32 Economic Confidence Index reading is an improvement from last month’s -40 and well above the record low of -72 in October 2008, during the Great Recession. The ECI has been in negative territory since July 2021. This month, gas prices have declined, the stock market has neared record highs, unemployment remains low, and inflation has moderated.

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Although Americans’ views of the economy are modestly improved, when asked to name the most important problem facing the U.S., mentions of the economy in general (14%) and inflation specifically (12%) remain elevated. The government and immigration are also top concerns, with 16% of Americans citing each. Immigration is the top problem among Republicans, with 37% mentioning it, far more than any other issue.

Bottom Line

Biden enters 2024 with a persistently low job approval rating, the worst of any modern-day president heading into a tough reelection campaign. While the economy has shown signs of improvement and Americans are a bit more optimistic about it, it remains a pressing concern. In addition to dealing with the national economy and overseeing the United States’ role in wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, Biden continues to face a crisis at the southern U.S. border. Given Republicans’ concern about the issue, Biden can expect immigration to be a central theme in the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign in 2024.

Explore President Biden's approval ratings and compare them with those of past presidents in the 鶹ýAV Presidential Job Approval Center.

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View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

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