President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains strong, something the left loves to point out as they urge Biden to “go big.”
The problem is that, if you look beyond the raw approval rating, you see a big problem for the president further down in most polls: the numbers on how Americans think he’s dealing with the situation at the southern border. And, no, as much as the media tries to paint it that way, it’s not just cantankerous old white conservatives. It turns out the border crisis is pretty unpopular across the board.
In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 55 percent of adult Americans said they disapproved of Biden’s handling of the influx of migrants at the southern border. Only 29 percent said they approved.
Looking deeper, the numbers on the border crisis were worse than you might think.
Yes, there were the statistics you might expect. Eighty-eight percent of Republicans disapproved of the job Biden was doing, compared to only 6 percent who approved. Meanwhile, 58 percent of Democrats approved of how he was handling the crisis, while 21 percent disapproved.
However, two demographics that Biden should be winning over on this weren’t exactly pleased.
According to the poll, only 27 percent of Latinos said they approved of Biden’s border policies, compared with 55 percent that disapproved. That’s slightly worse than the average — and from a group that, if you believe the cultural narrative, should be more accommodating toward illegal immigration.
Among independents, Biden fared worse. Only 22 percent approved of his handiwork, compared with 64 percent who disapproved.
In fact, the only two demographics included in the poll who approved of Biden’s job were Democrats, as mentioned, and black Americans, with 56 percent approval vs. 28 percent disapproval.
Also worth noting, the job Biden was doing regarding the border crisis was unpopular across every age demographic — and even more unpopular among young Americans than older ones. (Twenty-four percent of respondents 18-24 approved, while 57 percent disapproved. Compared that to those who were over 65, with 35 percent who approved against 50 percent who disapproved.)
The numbers came in spite of the fact Biden won lukewarm approval overall from the 1,237 individuals polled by phone between April 8-12; 48 percent approved of the job he was doing against 42 percent who disapproved. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
“Though he gets generally positive numbers on his domestic strides as he nears his first 100 days in office, the president is confronting the same political quagmire south of the border that bedeviled his predecessor,” said Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy.
“The border with Mexico, and the people trying to cross it, loom as a familiar crisis.”
These numbers represent two distinct problems for Biden.
First, Quinnipiac’s poll isn’t an outlier.
In a March Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 1,945 registered voters conducted from March 24-25, 48 percent of Americans approved of the job Biden was doing at the border. That was down from 56 percent in a February survey. It was the only issue where Biden polled under 50 percent in that survey.
Likewise, a Yahoo/YouGov poll surveying 1,556 U.S. adults between March 23 and 25 found 62 percent of Americans believed there was a crisis at the border. An ABC News/Ipsos polling 517 adults between March 26 to March 27 found 54 percent disapproved of the border situation.
Thus, the Quinnipiac poll isn’t necessarily auguring a shift in public opinion toward Biden’s border policies. It is, however, one of the more in-depth looks at how unpopular his handling is across almost all demographics.
Second, this isn’t going away anytime soon.
Last month, Axios reported Customs and Border Protection estimates showed the surge of unaccompanied minors at the southern border was going to last at least seven months, with projections as high as 26,000 minors per month being caught by Border Patrol. Before Biden took office, the highest number of unaccompanied minors caught by Border Patrol was 11,475.
In other words, we’re going to see more than twice that during the summer months, according to CBP’s estimate — and that is only a projection for the next seven months. Given the Biden administration’s loose border policies, it could go on well past that, particularly since the surge has been driven by both unaccompanied minors and family units with minors.
If nothing changes in the Biden administration’s approach to dealing with the crisis — an approach that seems to be begging migrants not to come as record numbers surge through the border and working with Central American governments to address the “root causes” of illegal immigration, something that could take years — those numbers are going to remain the same.
That’s not good news for Biden, particularly since Republicans have already begun to hammer him on the issue. And yet, Biden can’t go back to former President Donald Trump’s border policies, particularly considering how he cast them as a special kind of xenophobic evil during the presidential campaign.
It’s a Catch-22 — one that leaves Democrats vulnerable and the southern border in a state of chaos.
The numbers are clear: Americans want border security and the Biden administration is determined not to provide it. That’s not just coming from cranky old white conservatives, either.
When the president is this far underwater with Latinos and independents, it’s time for a serious re-evaluation of what we’re doing along the Rio Grande.
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