In 2020, Biden was a political juggernaut in Massachusetts. A new poll shows voters soured on him. A lot.

Biden’s issues cut across multiple demographics. He fought the most with voters 35 or younger, with only 37% of them approving. And while almost all Republicans, unsurprisingly, say they disapprove of his professional performance, more than half of unregistered voters — Massachusetts’ largest voting bloc — said it also had a low opinion: just 39% say they approve, compared to 52% who don’t.

The results, especially in a reliable Democratic state, show a worrying lack of support for the president that reflects the depth of his political problems ahead of the midterm elections this fall. Voters in Massachusetts, in particular, appear to be embittered by the country’s economic outlook, with more than half – 51% – saying they believe the economy is in recession or depression, according to the poll.

“If you’re technically underwater in Massachusetts, that sends a powerful message to the country,” said David Paleologos, director of the University of Suffolk’s Center for Policy Research. Massachusetts Democrats, he noted, still reliably back Biden, with 75% approval of his work, but skewed margins among unregistered voters may speak louder.

“When independents in Massachusetts are so negative about an incumbent Democratic president who won the departure of that state, one wonders what an independent voter in Ohio, Nevada or New Hampshire thinks” , said Paleologos. “This poses a real midterm election challenge for Democrats.”

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

With his legislative agenda largely stalled and inflation rising rapidly, Biden’s approval rating among voters nationwide hovers around 41.5% in an average of Real Clear Politics polls. According to a Gallup poll dating back to President Eisenhower, only President Trump had a lower approval rating at this point in his mandate.

A top Biden adviser downplayed the importance of the polls in a recent tweet, referring to the fact that the French president won re-election despite being widely hated.

“President Macron appears to have secured a double-digit victory over LePen, at a time when his approval rating is at 36%,” White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain wrote on April 24. “Hmmm….”

But many congressional Democrats are not so optimistic. Democrats facing tough races in New Hampshire, Arizona, Georgia and other swing states have distanced themselves from Biden in recent weeks on the issue of immigration in particular, criticizing the administration for its handling. border policy.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren also slammed Biden indirectly, warning in a recent op-ed that the Democrats’ “failure to do big things” could lead to election disaster.

“Democrats can’t bow to the wisdom of out-of-touch consultants who tell us to simply brag about our accomplishments,” she wrote in The New York Times. “Instead, Democrats need to deliver more of the president’s agenda — or we won’t be in the majority for much longer.”

The drop in support among young people in Massachusetts reflects a broader national trend that is lowering support for the president. Biden’s approval rating among voters under 30 nationwide has fallen to just 41%, 18 points lower than last year, according to the Harvard Kennedy School Institute’s youth poll. of Politics published last week.

Biden has shown some urgency in recent days in appealing to young voters, appearing closer to delivering on a campaign promise to provide student loan relief than he has in recent months. The president said last week he was “carefully considering” student loan debt forgiveness, with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer telling reporters he believed Biden was close to make such a decision.

Congress, which is under very tight Democratic control, has passed a sweeping COVID relief bill and a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill since Biden took office. But objections from some within his own party, namely Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have stalled progress on ambitious pledges on child care and climate change.

Massachusetts voters polled by the Globe expressed different grievances toward Biden. Patrick Carroll, a 45-year-old Spencer resident and unregistered voter, said while he thinks Biden has handled the Ukraine crisis well, the country needs a stronger, more public leader.

“I feel like our former president was so in front of us all the time, good or bad. And until the Ukraine crisis, Biden was almost absent,” Carroll said. it was a time when our country needed a bigger presence and a bigger force than it was offering.”

Gregg Housh, 45, of Malden is an unregistered voter who said he supported Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primary and voted for Biden in the general election – but as a “vote against Trump, not a vote for him”.

“He’s just not progressive,” Housh said of Biden. “He’s not moving us forward. We should have a lot more green initiatives. Student debt should just disappear.

Others, however, disagree. Stephen Goff, a 68-year-old retired Democrat from Chelmsford, said he thought Biden faced “challenges most people could never meet.”

“If we had the previous guy in the office now, I can’t imagine how messy things would be,” Goff said. “I realize that Joe Biden is at a very weak point right now. I don’t think it will last. »


Matt Stout can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @mattpstout. Liz Goodwin can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @lizcgoodwin.

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