While Some observers claim that President Biden gave the Americans a “Return to normal“After four years of former President Trump in the White House, it is currently difficult to know what aspects of the political landscape can be changed forever. For example, it is unclear whether Biden will be a”honeymoon“In the first few months in office, when new presidents usually get good marks for their work.
Before Trump, most presidents received generally positive ratings in the first six months – and some ratings were downright sterling, as the table below shows.
|Average over the first six months of the first term|
|2000||George W. Bush||53.9||28.1||+25.7|
|1988||George H.W. bush||62.3||16.1||+46.2|
But with Trump, public attitudes were pretty negative from the start. On the one hand, this could be unique to him as he was a historically unpopular presidential candidate, on the other hand, there were signs that the president’s honeymoon was already shrinking before him. So given how polarized our politics are at the momentIt’s entirely possible that Biden isn’t enjoying a honeymoon.
“One of the things that happened is that the old-fashioned ‘let’s give this guy a chance’ kind of evaporated,” he said Jeffrey Cohen, Political scientist from Fordham University who studies public opinion and the presidency. “Instead, people are not breaking out of their voting patterns. The split that you see in the election campaign remains.” Casey Dominguez, Political scientist at the University of San Diego Who studies the president’s honeymoon agrees and cites the media as a major driving force in this area: “Today we have a news media environment where there are sources of information that will simply never be cheap to Biden.”
Most modern presidents have entered the White House with a political mandate – that is, they have typically enjoyed at least optimistic media coverage and positive public attitudes in the first few months of their term in office. “There is this kind of positive feedback loop from messages and approval ratings and people giving the new president a chance, who traditionally gave presidents a small window of time to get some things done,” Dominguez said.
But this window seems to be closing. Take the last four presidents since the 1990s. Only Barack Obama had an average approval rating of at least 60 percent in the first six months of his presidency. Granted, Trump’s approval rating was particularly low, but both George W. Bush and Bill Clintons were only in their low 50s – far lower than their predecessors’ approval ratings, suggesting an overall lower cap for support for new presidents in our more polarized era .
However, this does not mean that presidents cannot provide support later. For example, Clinton’s approval rating later rose to over 60 percent for long periods of his presidency thanks to a booming economy. And Bush’s approval rating rose to nearly 90 percent in the weeks following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But Cohen told me he still thinks the days of the president’s vibrant honeymoon are largely over. It is true, he said, that Biden will enter the White House at a time of crisis, similar to what Obama experienced in 2009 the great recession, but Cohen still didn’t think Biden would have the same success like Obama did back then to win Republican support. (Obama’s status as the first black president may have helped him to some extentThis is also because the COVID-19 pandemic is so politicized. “You would think so [with] a public health crisis with a new president where he can just go to the office and gather everyone behind him, ”Cohen said. “I just don’t think this will happen as the COVID virus was one of the big issues of the campaign.” And especially given voters’ tendency to filter economic conditions through a partisan lens, Cohen believes many Republicans will see the economy poorly under Biden even if the situation improves as well many Democrats did during Trump’s pre-coronavirus tenure when the economy was still strong.
That doesn’t mean Biden will start with a lower approval rating than Trump, however. For example, prior to Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, he had a positive rating in the low-50s, according to a simple recent poll average that is about 9 percentage points higher than Trump’s four years ago. To be sure, favorability ratings and consent ratings are not the same – The former measures how popular presidents are, the latter how well they are doing their job – but the two ratings often move in similar directions. Take Trump again as an example: he too had an austerity rating in the low 40’s when he took office and for most of his first six months, and this was very close to his approval rating over the same period.
However, if Biden’s approval rating is only in the low 50s, this isn’t a big honeymoon. It is of course still difficult to know how the new president will fare in the coming weeks and months. The divisions in the country can make a honeymoon period unlikely. But it is still in the control of Biden and his administration, whether his approval rate gets a boost – or decreases. “What the president actually does can affect reporting on his administration,” Dominguez said. And given the test Biden faces in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic – including the introduction of the vaccine – He has the chance to win at least a minimum of additional support if he copes with the crisis with composure. However, such an opportunity also comes with risks if he has difficulty showing the leadership that is required to meet these challenges.