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Unpopular Biden handed election lifeline as expert pinpoints Macron anomaly

NewsUnpopular Biden handed election lifeline as expert pinpoints Macron anomaly

Joe Biden appears to shake hands with thin air after speech

White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain highlighted Mr Macron’s low approval rating, at 36 percent, versus his election victory, with 58.54 percent of the votes, to hint at a potentially similar path for President Biden, whose poll numbers are anything but good news for Democrats ahead of the November midterm elections.

Mr Klain wrote on Twitter: “President Macron appears to have secured a double-digit victory over Le Pen, at a time when his approval rating is 36%. Hmmm…

“An interesting observation, just FYI.”

Mr Biden’s approval rating has been below 50 percent since August and last month plunged to the lowest levels of his presidency, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Conducted on March 21 and 22 March, it surveyed 1,005 people in the US – 432 Democrats and 366 Republicans.

Domestic issues such as the economy were listed by respondents as key worries, and so were the war in Ukraine and other foreign conflicts.

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Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron

Macron’s election victory could be a good sign for Biden, a White House official hints (Image: Getty)

His rating rose by three percentage points the week after, up from 42 percent to 45 percent.

Further increases, if sustained, could have assuaged the rising concern within Mr Biden’s party that their prospects in the midterms might be at stake.

However, the bump has been widely dubbed a direct result of his State of the Union speech in early March rather than evidence of any longer-term comeback.

But according to Mr Klain, the President’s low ratings may not be as indicative as feared.

Emmanuel Macron

Macron defeated Le Pen with 58.54 percent of the votes on Sunday (Image: Getty)

In Morning Consult’s weekly tracking poll of several major world leaders, Mr Macron, who on Sunday beat far-right contender Marine Le Pen by 58.55 percent to 41.45 percent, suffered from even worse numbers than Mr Biden.

The re-elected French President stands four points lower than Mr Biden and still defeated a rival who at one stage of the campaign had followed him narrowly in the polls.

Mr Biden, who congratulated the French leader in a tweet in which he called France Washington’s “oldest ally and a key partner in addressing global challenges”, concluded his office’s fifth quarter on Tuesday last week with a 41.3 percent approval rate among US adults, as per a Gallup survey conducted from April 1 to April 19.

The latest average is essentially unchanged from the 41.7 percent in his fourth quarter though significantly lower than his first three quarterly averages.

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Joe Biden and Kamala Harri

Analysts predict trouble for Democrats in November’s midterms (Image: Getty)

During his first two quarters in office, he enjoyed majority approval ratings.

Then, however, a new surge in coronavirus cases, the troubled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and rapidly increasing gas prices and inflation changed the 79-year-old’s fate.

His job approval ratings in eight Gallup polls conducted since September have ranged narrowly between 40 percent and 43 percent.

Historically, Mr Biden’s fifth quarter average is lower than that of any prior elected president – bar Donald Trump, who averaged 39.1 percent during his fifth quarter.

Yet, remarkably, six of the 11 presidents elected to their first term in office after World War Two had fifth quarter averages above 50 percent, including three who were above 70 percent.

Joe Biden

The US economy and the war in Ukraine are some of Democrat voters’ key concerns (Image: Getty)

The worrying polls are not entirely justified.

The Democrats created 7.9 million jobs in Mr Biden’s 14 months in office, more than any president in history; passed a $1tn bipartisan infrastructure law; worked on diversifying judicial appointments, and played a key role in NATO’s response against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But inflation, growing crime and division over abortion, transgender rights and race are all turning into challenges for the President.

So is immigration at the Mexico border.

Biden pledged to reverse many of Trump’s hardline immigration policies but has struggled both operationally and politically with high numbers of attempted crossings.

Last month, border authorities arrested 210,000 migrants attempting to cross over – the highest monthly total in two decades.

Opposition lawmakers hoping to gain control of the US Congress in November argue Biden’s rollback of his Republican predecessor’s policies has encouraged more illegal immigration.

Further, just like in France, there are concerns in the US the Democratic base will stay at home on election day, disenchanted by the party’s failure to capitalise on some of its promises.

In Paris, the 2022 election will be partly remembered by an abstention rate expected to settle around 28 percent – the highest since 1969.

Similarities between the Elysées and the White House are clearly bringing hope, not alarm, to some of Mr Biden’s people.

Whether French and American voters think alike, though, only the ballots will tell.

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