A new poll finds that 65% of Latinos disapprove of the President
Faced with a seemingly never ending pandemic, high inflation, and a stalled legislative agenda, President Joe Biden’s approval rating continues to sink. In a new PBS/Marist poll released on Monday, only 41% of respondents said they approved of the job Biden is doing as president, compared to 55% who disapproved. That’s marginally better than Trump’s numbers at the same time in his presidency — in December 2017, Trump sat at 35% approve vs. 59% disapprove — but still represents quite a fall from January, when Biden sat at 51% approval vs. 38% disapproval.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the new poll is who, exactly, is souring on Biden. Over the last few weeks, there has been a raft of stories about the president’s struggles with Hispanics, whose traditionally solid support for the Democrats once fuelled predictions that immigration would lead to permanent progressive electoral majorities.
But this new poll paints the starkest picture yet: 65% of Latino respondents said they disapproved of Biden, against only 33% who approve. When one considers the intensity of feeling, the numbers are even worse: a majority of Latinos, 52%, strongly disapprove of Biden, while only 11% strongly approve.
Earlier analysis gives us a sense of why Hispanics are drifting Rightward. According to the data research firm Equis, in 2020, Hispanics strongly supported Trump’s policies on Covid and the economy over Biden’s, even if a majority of them still voted for the latter. Now, with Trump out of office, the economy sputtering, and the Democrats becoming the party of semi-permanent Covid restrictions (including a fresh wave of blue-city vaccine and mask mandates in response to the Omicron variant), it is no surprise that the president is bleeding support.
Issues that the Democrats thought would appeal to Hispanics, such as immigration and racial equity, seem either irrelevant or actively counterproductive — as Eric Levitz recently noted, about half of Hispanics want to reduce legal immigration and 55% favour increased border security. And some Hispanics may be turned off by what they see as the Democrats’ flirtations with socialism.
There has been talk for some time among reform-minded Republicans like Marco Rubio of turning the GOP into a “multiethnic, multiracial, working-class” party. It looks as if the Democrats may be doing their job for them. The PBS/Marist poll also showed that Biden’s approval was lower among those making less than $50,000 a year than those making more, lower among the non-college-educated than the college-educated, and below 50% in every region of the country except the Northeast.
Analysts once worried that the GOP was becoming the party of Southern whites, which would sabotage its prospects in national elections. Now it looks as if the Democrats are in danger of becoming the party of the Acela corridor.