Poll: Biden faces drop in support from independent voters

Independents are souring on President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE’s job performance amid mounting crises at home and abroad, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday. 

The poll shows independents are evenly split in their views of Biden’s job performance, with 46 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving. The figure represents a marked difference from June, when 52 percent of independents gave Biden positive reviews for his performance in the White House, while 38 percent disapproved.

The drop in approval among a key voting bloc comes amid a new surge in COVID-19 infections driven by the highly contagious delta variant. At the same time, Biden and his administration have faced blowback over the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 

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On Thursday, more than a dozen U.S. troops and dozens of civilians were killed in suicide bombings at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, the epicenter of the effort to evacuate Americans and Afghan asylum seekers from the country after the Taliban retook control. 

When it comes to Biden’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, he still holds the approval of a narrow majority of independents – 53 percent, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll. And only 12 percent of independents blame Biden for the recent surge in Covid-19 infections. Forty-seven percent put the blame on unvaccinated people.

Still, Biden’s lagging approval numbers are likely to raise red flags for Democrats, who are hoping to retain their majorities in the House and Senate next year. 

Midterm elections are typically seen as a referendum on the president, and historically, the party that controls the White House tends to lose ground in the midterms. 

Biden has held relatively strong approval ratings since taking office in January, outperforming his predecessor, former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE, whose approval never broke 50 percent in his four years in office, according to a polling average compiled by the data website FiveThirtyEight.

But in a sign of potential trouble for Biden, his average approval rating dipped below 50 percent for the first time last week. It currently sits at 47.2 percent, keeping him slightly above water. 

The Reuters/Ipsos poll surveyed 4,427 U.S. adults, including 2,033 Democrats, 1,531 Republicans and 527 independents from Aug. 13-19. It has a credibility interval of 2 percentage points for the full sample and 5 points for independents.