‘Serious reckoning’ facing Dems in midterm elections if Biden continues to lose support, new poll numbers indicate


President Joe Biden listens during a meeting with business leaders about the debt limit in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

GRINNELL, Iowa – A new nationwide poll showing low approval ratings for President Joe Biden is foreshadowing the challenges facing Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections.

Results of the Grinnell College National Poll conducted by Selzer & Company were released Wednesday morning. The poll was taken October 13 through October 17th, 2021.

When asked whether participants in the poll approved or disapproved of the job President Biden is doing, only 37% indicated they approved. Broken down on specific issues, the only topic Biden received a slight advantage in approval ratings was on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the poll, 46% of poll takers approved while 44% disapproved and 10% responded they weren’t sure.

Biden received his lowest approval rating on the issue of immigration, getting just 27%. On his handling of the economy, his approval rating was 36%.

The poll also explored how participants would vote if the 2024 presidential election were held today and the candidates were Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The two tied with 40% with the remaining participants choosing either someone else, choosing not to vote, or being unsure about their decision.

Broken down by the party of the participants, the poll shows independent voters made a massive shift in who they would elect. Grinnell College National Poll Director Peter Hanson said in exit polling from the 2020 election, Biden won independent voters by a 54% to 41% margin. The results of this poll show Trump wins that group with 45% to Biden’s 28%.

“The president has time to turn his political fortunes around,” said Hanson. “But if it doesn’t happen soon, Democrats are likely to face a serious reckoning in the 2022 midterm elections.”   


The Grinnell College National Poll, conducted October13-17, 2021, for Grinnell College by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, IA, is based on telephone interviews with 915 U.S. adults ages 18 or older.

Interviewers with Quantel Research contacted households with randomly selected landline and cell phone numbers. Interviews were administered in English. Responses were adjusted by sex, age, and race to reflect the general population based on recent census data.

Percentages based on the full probability sample of 915 respondents may have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. This means that if this survey were repeated using the same questions and the same methodology, 19 times out of 20, the findings would not vary from the true population value by more than plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Results based on smaller samples of respondents—such as by gender or age—have a larger margin of error.

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