President Biden’s approval rating takes a plunge



Data from an NBC News poll of President Joe Biden’s approval rating on Oct. 31, 2021.

Joseph Wicke

Since his inauguration, President Joe Biden has been the subject of widespread controversy. Following one of the most turbulent elections in American history, many conservatives are unsatisfied with the results of the election and the new policies enacted since. However, Biden’s actions are far more preferable than his approval rating suggests.

Biden’s signage of the American Rescue Plan Act initially boosted his approval ratings. This bill was a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief plan, with a goal of recovering the economy and providing citizens with a third stimulus check. While initially both Democrats and Republicans praised this bill, Biden’s approval ratings lowered as the number of his controversial decisions increased.

The most controversial moment in Biden’s presidency thus far has been the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Biden’s decision garnered a lot of backlash from both Democrat and Republican citizens and politicians, as Biden left American citizens and Afghan partners behind despite the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. According to the website FiveThirtyEight, which analyzes statistics from opinion polls, Biden’s approval rating was lower than his disapproval rating for the first time in his presidency on Aug. 30, 2021, following his decision to withdraw troops.

This draws similarities to the Fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War, in which President Gerald Ford approved a removal plan for U.S. troops to evacuate Vietnam following the capturing of the city of Saigon by North Vietnamese troops. While both instances saw a similar sharp decline in presidential approval ratings, the major difference is that while Gerald Ford created the withdrawal plan, Joe Biden did not.

Contrary to what many Americans think, the removal plan, known as the Doha Agreement, was actually signed by former President Donald Trump in February of 2020.

“My predecessor, the former President, signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove U.S. troops by May the first, just months after I was inaugurated,” Biden said in a speech defending the withdrawal. “It included no requirement that the Taliban work out  a cooperative governing arrangement with the Afghan government, but it did authorize the release of 5,000 prisoners last year, including some of the Taliban’s top war commanders, among those who just took control of Afghanistan.”

It is clear that this plan dated back far before Biden stepped into office. Regardless of who held the presidency, the outcome would have been similar, so President Biden should bear full responsibility.

Biden’s stance on vaccinations also garnered him controversy. Ever since the Pfizer vaccine was made available for emergency use on Dec. 11, 2020, Biden has been clear on his stance to encourage as many citizens as possible to get it. Throughout the spring of 2021, Biden worked hard to distribute vaccines to all American citizens, resulting in 191 million Americans getting fully vaccinated as of Nov. 2, 2021 according to Our World in Data.

Biden took swift action to get enough people vaccinated in order to suppress the virus, announcing that all federal employees must be fully vaccinated or submit weekly COVID-19 testing results by Jan. 4, 2022 or face termination. He also called on the U.S. Department of Labor to mandate that businesses with 100 employees or more require full vaccination or weekly testing.

This policy has received mixed responses from American citizens. Many Democrats praised his stance, however, Republicans and Independents disagreed, believing that taking the vaccine should be a personal choice. This caused a plunge in approval ratings.

While many disagree with Biden’s decisions, he shows leadership and is the right decision for America. As the pandemic continues and Americans become more and more divided, Biden reminds us of the struggles both he and American citizens face daily in his inaugural speech.

“Few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we’re in now,” Biden said. “[We have] much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build and much to gain.”