Administration

Biden yet to see boost from voters despite favorable reviews on Ukraine

President Biden’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has played well with voters, but he’s yet to see a major boost in the polls as domestic issues like inflation continue to hold him back from a big political bounce.

Recent polls have shown Biden getting generally strong ratings on his handling of the crisis in Ukraine, and the steps he’s taken to squeeze the Russian economy have garnered bipartisan support.

But those successes have yet to translate to stronger overall approval ratings, and uncertainty about party messaging at last week’s House Democratic retreat underscored how concerns about inflation domestically are still wreaking havoc on the party’s efforts to hold narrow majorities in each chamber of Congress in November.

A Wall Street Journal poll published Friday found half of voters surveyed approved of Biden’s approach to Russia, while a majority — 47 percent — approved of how he has handled the crisis in Ukraine.

But that figure did little to aid Biden’s overall approval rating, which was stuck at 42 percent in the Journal poll, largely a result of 63 percent of voters who said they disapproved of how Biden has handled inflation.

Similarly, a poll from left-leaning Navigator Research released last week found 59 percent of Americans believe Biden has been making the right decisions thus far when it comes to the Ukraine crisis, including roughly one-third of Republicans.

But once again, Biden’s overall approval rating in the Navigator poll was mired at 43 percent, with 49 percent disapproving.

The Biden administration has steadily ratcheted up its sanctions on Russia over the last several weeks in an effort to cripple the Russian economy and pressure Moscow officials over the decision to invade Ukraine.

The U.S. has sanctioned multiple Russian banks, revoked Russia’s special trade status, cut off certain imports, targeted oligarchs and officials including President Vladimir Putin and banned the import of Russian oil.

A CBS News poll released Sunday showed Biden’s actions are broadly popular, even as it may lead to consequences for Americans at home.

The poll found 77 percent of Americans support banning imports of Russian oil, and 66 percent still supported the move even if it meant a hike in U.S. gas prices. And 62 percent of respondents opposed establishing a no-fly zone if it meant escalating a war between the U.S. and Russia, which is why U.S. officials have ruled it out.

Biden and White House officials have in recent days tried to connect his Russia response to the issues at home that have been hurting him most by branding the rise in gas prices a “Putin price hike.”

The president has attempted to pin blame on Putin’s invasion, not Democratic policies, for a rise in gas prices, hoping a broadly popular move like banning Russian oil imports won’t further hurt him at the polls.

“Make no mistake, the current spike in gas prices is largely the fault of Vladimir Putin. It has nothing to do with the American Rescue Plan,” Biden told attendees of the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference on Monday.

Biden advisers and Democratic strategists see a chance for a bump in Biden’s approval ratings in the weeks to come, even as they caution gas prices will likely remain high as a result of global instability from the war in Ukraine.

“I do think our approval rating will go up in the months ahead as the economic recovery and the progress on COVID become more permanent, more lasting and internalized more by the voters,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain told the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

Biden has spent the past week seeking to unify Democrats around the idea that his agenda, namely the American Rescue Plan passed last year without any Republican votes, has been transformative for the economy and that credit will soon follow.

Biden spoke to Senate Democrats, House Democrats and the Democratic National Committee last week. He attended a fundraiser on Monday night and is expected to be a prominent presence on the campaign trail in the months to come in the hopes that approval of his job performance will soon catch up to approval of his handling of international matters.

“Coming out of the State of the Union — why I think we’re in a strong position — we have a record to be proud of, an agenda that will lower costs for American families and lift this nation up, and a message that resonates,” Biden told House Democrats on Friday. “We’re building a better America, a fairer America, a more decent America.” 

Tags Inflation Joe Biden Ron Klain Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin
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