OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
President Joe Biden’s job approval ratings have been steadily falling in the wake of his announcement last month that he would seek another term, making his reelection path even narrower.
But new concerns over issues like the country’s spiraling debt as well as political debates over raising the debt ceiling, are beginning to take their toll on his presidency as well.
According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Monday, most Americans are concerned about the debt ceiling but they differ on how best to handle the issue.
“The polls show neither Democratic President Joe Biden nor congressional Republicans hold a clear advantage in public opinion as they head into discussions on Tuesday to resolve a months-long standoff over the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit,” Reuters reported.
“The Treasury says it could run out of money to pay the country’s bills as soon as June 1 unless Congress increases the borrowing cap. Economists say the resulting default would roil global financial markets and plunge the U.S. into recession,” the report added.
According to the poll, a significant majority of Americans, 76%, believe that it is crucial for the two sides to reach a deal on the matter, expressing concerns that a default would place additional financial strain on families, including their own. The sentiment was shared by 84 percent of self-described Democrats and 77 percent of self-described Republicans.
Just 29 percent said they believed that the issue was being blown out of proportion.
Reuters added that Americans are divided on a solution:
Some 49% said Congress needs to quickly raise the debt ceiling without conditions to avert default, echoing Biden’s position. Some 68% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans took that view.
But 51% of Americans said the debt ceiling should not be raised without substantial spending cuts – the position held by Republicans who hold a majority in the House of Representatives. That view was held by 69% of Republicans and 42% of Democrats, the poll found.
In the latest shock survey from ABC News and the Washington Post, meanwhile, Biden was losing to prospective GOP nominee Donald Trump by seven points.
“It’s not because Trump is popular – he isn’t. Rather, it’s because Democrats are failing to offer an alternative that appeals to the majority of voters, who crave change and are fed up with the extremes on both sides,” says former one-term South Carolina Democratic congressman Joe Cunningham, who was defeated in 2020 by Rep. Nancy Mace (R), who also won again in 2022.
“Something must be done. Since Democrats are unable or unwilling to offer an alternative, I’m supporting an effort to secure a better choice for president in 2024 that represents the commonsense majorities in both parties. The effort, led by the organization No Labels, will secure a place on the presidential ballot in all 50 states for a unity ticket featuring a Democrat and a Republican as running mates,” Cunningham wrote in an op-ed published on Tuesday.
Cunningham believes that the vast majority of Americans are neither hard-left or hard-right but come down somewhere in the middle or merely lean left and right, which he believes provides his party with an opportunity.
“The national Democratic Party assumes foolishly that all moderates will automatically side with Biden over Trump, even though Democrats have done nothing to court these moderates. But those of us Democrats who have competed in red or purple states know the weakness of this strategy. We know that you underestimate Trump at your own peril. In truth, he typically runs ahead of the polling, meaning 7 points might be an understatement of his current lead over Biden,” Cunningham wrote.
“It is possible to applaud President Biden’s work in public service and also say the sun is setting on his career. It’s time for fresh leadership – leadership based around unity, problem solving and common sense. National Democrats won’t offer it, so we’ll have to look elsewhere,” he concluded.