President Biden’s approval rating has taken a dip in recent weeks — but it’s not even close to the drop in support for Congress’s performance, as negotiations over legislation in Washington have ground to a virtual standstill.
That’s the top-line takeaway from a national poll released on Wednesday by Monmouth University. But here’s the secondary message: Democrats are the ones growing most disillusioned, and fast.
Back in April, when Mr. Biden was making big legislative strides, 83 percent of Democrats said they thought the country was moving in the right direction, according to a Monmouth survey at the time. But in Wednesday’s poll, just 59 percent of Democrats said that.
The share of Democrats saying the country was on the wrong track rose by 20 percentage points, to 32 percent.
“People are anxious — and look, Biden had such success at the outset with the Covid relief package that it probably got people’s expectations up very high about how much could be done and how soon,” Bob Shrum, the director of the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California, said in an interview. “Now reality is intruding.”
The $1.9 trillion economic relief bill that Mr. Biden signed in March remains broadly popular, with six in 10 Americans expressing a positive opinion of it, according to the poll. That’s basically on par with the 63 percent who gave it positive marks in a Monmouth survey in April, soon after the bill was passed.
And support for the president’s other top priorities remains high. Sixty-eight percent of Americans support the American Jobs Plan, his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, and 61 percent back the American Families Plan, his similarly large-scale proposal to invest in health care, child care and education.
But that support isn’t reflected in Congress, where Mr. Biden’s party holds the barest of control of both chambers — and where even some Democratic lawmakers haven’t fully gotten behind his proposals. Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have insisted on finding bipartisan compromise, rather than passing those two plans through the process of budgetary reconciliation, which would allow the bills to become law without any Republican votes.
The resulting standstill in Washington has left many Democrats feeling impatient. In the April poll, 63 percent of Democratic respondents said they approved of the job that Congress was doing. But that number has now been cut in half: Just 32 percent of Democrats gave Congress positive marks in the Monmouth survey released Wednesday.
Approval has also fallen among independents, though it didn’t have as far to go: It fell to 13 percent in the new poll from 28 percent in April.
Among all Americans, approval of Congress was down to 21 percent from 35 percent in April. (Though still paltry, that April figure had represented Congress’s highest approval rating at any point since 2013, when Monmouth started asking the…