Joe Biden's disastrous 48 hours

It's hard to imagine a worse 48-hour stretch for any first-year president than the one Joe BidenJoe BidenCourt nixes offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald's family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat MORE endured over the past two days. 

On Wednesday, Quinnipiac University released a devastating poll placing the president's public approval at 33 percent, his lowest approval in any poll since his presidency began. 

What makes just one-third of the country supporting this president even more remarkable is that Biden received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history: 81 million, or more than 10 million more votes than the previous record holder, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCutting through the noise of COVID risk: Real-life consequences of oversimplification Russia-Ukraine conflict threatens U.S. prestige Appeasement doesn't work as American foreign policy MORE. The drop has been unprecedented: Biden sat at 55 percent approval upon entering office almost one year ago.   


Also on Wednesday, it was announced that the Consumer Price Index rose seven percent in 2021, its fastest increase since 1982. It was also announced that inflation is now sitting at a 40-year high. 

Things somehow was worse on Thursday. The president went to Capitol Hill to rally Democrats around passing voting rights legislation, only to see Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaClyburn calls for full-court press on voting rights Swing-state voters concerned about Build Back Better's impact on inflation: poll Voto Latino CEO: Sinema will have a 'very difficult pathway' in 2024 reelection MORE (D-Ariz.) go to the floor ahead of his arrival to declare that she would not support eliminating the filibuster.

And as if straight out of a political horror movie, not long after the president got news of Sinema's remarks, the Supreme Court ruled to block enforcement of a vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

Add it all up: The economy is crippled by high prices and not-so-transitory inflation. The president is rebuffed (again) by a member of his own party on a major initiative. And then his vaccine mandate is struck down by a 6-3 decision in the Supreme Court. 

All in less than 48 hours. 

It is stunning to see this president drop this far, particularly when considering that this administration had a gale force breeze at its back with the House and Senate in Democratic control. It's the straight flush of power in Washington. 


And yet here we are one year later with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnists at the New York Times (which hasn't endorsed a Republican candidate for president since Eisenhower) calling on Biden to declare that he won't run for reelection in 2024 (Bret Stephens). This week, Thomas Friedman recommended that he drop Vice President Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris discusses pandemic, migration during visit with new Honduran president Biden has done just three local interviews in first year in office Clyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes MORE in favor of Republican Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRomney participating in fundraiser for Liz Cheney The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden faces Ukraine decision amid Russia aggression Cheney hits Gingrich for saying Jan. 6 panel members may be jailed MORE (R-Wyo.) in 2024. 

The hill that Biden decided to die on was voting rights, with the president's speechwriters going full hyperbole in portraying anyone who is for voter identification as Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis. 

“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. [Martin Luther] King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John LewisJohn LewisIt's time for 'Uncle Joe' to take off the gloves against Manchin and Sinema Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections Democrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time MORE or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?!” bellowed Biden during a visit to Georgia that included a snub from voting rights activist Stacey Abrams (she had a scheduling conflict, or something). 

It's odd for a self-described unifier to make this his first big issue in 2022. Because if looking for one of the few issues that Americans are united on, requiring an ID to vote is one of them. Poll after poll shows an overwhelming share (north of 70 percent) of the country supports having to show an ID in order to vote, including a majority of Democratic voters. 

As for Georgia, the president continues to use the term "Jim Crow 2.0" when describing voting laws in the state. But it's actually easier to vote in the Peach State than in the president's home state of Delaware or in Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerBreyer retirement throws curveball into midterms Schumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' Voting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? MORE's home state of New York, according to an analysis by the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Election Innovation and Research. 

As for Black turnout in Georgia, 64 percent of the state’s eligible Black voters voted in the 2020 presidential election. In deep blue Massachusetts, for comparison, that number was just 36 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

The president's priorities are out of whack. Example: A recent Associated Press poll asked what the government needs to prioritize moving ahead in 2022: 68 percent said the economy, while just 6 percent said voting. 

Being out of touch or simply uninterested in the biggest issues facing the country is likely what's driving the president's 33 percent approval. 

Digging deeper into the Quinnipiac poll, the numbers only get worse for Biden: 

- 25 percent approval among independents 

- 24 percent approval among those aged 18-34 

- 43 percent of *Democrats* strongly approve of his performance 


- 34 percent approval on the economy  

- 39 percent approval on his handling of COVID-19

The last tab is likely the most alarming among the many alarming numbers. In the same poll by Quinnipiac in May 2021, Biden's approval on handling COVID was at 65 percent, or 26 points higher. 

It's hard to see how Biden turns these numbers around. He's fighting inflation, which isn't transitory. Crime, particularly in major cities, continues to get worse as police staffing shortage continues to hamper departments as gang violence rises. 

 Education has become a national issue, with Democrats playing defense while defending teacher unions. The border is a catastrophe. On that issue, the president is polling at 23 percent approval. 

Perhaps the 33 percent approval poll is an outlier. Perhaps things will turn around on COVID, with omicron expected to flame out as quickly as it came in. 


But perception is perception. 

And right now, the perception is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris don't have the competence or the public confidence to properly address a myriad of crises of their own making.  

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.