POLL Trump is unpopular but Biden bores America to tears

A new poll shows a majority of voters disapprove of President Donald Trump. But hardly anybody trusts Joe Biden in his place. Even against an unpopular incumbent, Biden has his work cut out for him.

Low approval ratings are nothing new for President Trump, especially when it’s liberal or centrist outlets carrying out the polling. The NBC/WSJ poll is a case in point. The president’s approval rating in this monthly survey has never topped 43 percent, and this Sunday came in at 41 percent, with 51 percent rating his performance negatively.

One would think that Democratic nominee Joe Biden would fare better, but all that can be said about the former vice president is that people hate him slightly less. Biden’s approval rating sat at 37 percent, but only 41 percent rated him negatively. 

While Trump is a polarizer, a significant chunk – one in five – of the electorate have no opinion either way on Biden. 

The coronavirus crisis has illustrated this divide perfectly. Trump has held daily press briefings, which often degenerate into verbal sparring matches between the president and the media. Biden, on the other hand, has rambled into a webcam from his Delaware basement. When he actually appeared on live television, not even sympathetic hosts like CNN’s Anderson Cooper could save him from stuttering through his meandering and semi-coherent musings.

“Um, you know there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, that uh, you know, was totally different, than a, than the, he called it the, you know, the World War II, he had the War Production Board.” pic.twitter.com/BwzaW88awD

Trump’s combative pressers have been a ratings hit. Biden’s YouTube monologues rarely crack 10,000 views. 

Trump’s off-the cuff and often misinformed statements (for example, when he declared he had “total” authority to lift lockdown measures on individual states) have left some Americans questioning his leadership ability. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed in Sunday’s poll disapprove of his handling of the crisis.

Despite this, more Americans consider Trump’s statements on the virus trustworthy. In fact, only a quarter trust what Biden has said on the virus so far. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all rate higher than Biden when it comes to trust.

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle suggested on Wednesday that Biden step up to the plate and form a “shadow government” to deliver an alternative response to the pandemic. Ruhle proposed that Biden take to the podium every night to say “Here’s the crisis we’re in, here’s what we need to do to address this.”

While such an idea may sound good to the rabidly anti-Trump journalists and executives at MSNBC, it would be a hard sell for voters. Biden is seen as less trustworthy than an already unpopular administration, he inspires shrugs of apathy from a large chunk of the population, and the idea of him outwitting Trump on the debate stage is laughable to all but the most delusional of Democrats.

His one and only selling point is that he’s not Trump, which makes running him a dangerous gambit for the Democratic Party, and essentially makes the election a referendum on Trump’s first term. 

Biden’s lukewarm performance in the polls is relatively static, with no swings either way since last summer. Approaching election day, the Democratic Party will have to hope that Trump bungles his coronavirus response, or pray for a crashing economy (as some liberal pundits have already done) to damage Trump. 

They’ll also need to take polls with a share of skepticism. Failure to do so was a critical mistake the party made in 2016. While the NBC/WSJ poll shows a majority of Americans disapproving of Trump’s virus response, a Gallup poll late last month found that 60 percent approve of his stewardship throughout the crisis.

If Gallup is right and NBC wrong, the Democratic party could be slouching toward another defeat in November, only this time they’ll be forced to admit that the warning signs were twice as obvious from the outset.

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