The Political Report – February 7, 2023

As President Biden prepares his State of the Union address, a series of new polls find Americans in a sour mood and dissatisfied with the direction of the country.

A new Gallup survey of whether people are “satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States” is at one of the lowest points the firm has ever measured. Just 22% are currently satisfied, comparable to the levels measured before Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush lost their reelection campaigns.

Similarly, a new NBC News poll found 71% of Americans saying that the country was “off on the wrong track,” the most negative reaction to the country’s trajectory in 13 years.

But are Americans really that grumpy?

Civic Science offers a number that may matter more: 12%. That’s how many Americans describe themselves as “unhappy” today. It’s true the unhappiness metric was a bit better in 2019 — but that was before the world shut down due to a global pandemic! Over the past decade, happy Americans have dramatically outnumbered unhappy ones. That just doesn’t mesh with those other polls.

Ronald Reagan’s pollster Richard Wirthlin popularized the “right track-wrong track” metric, even calling it “the Dow Jones indicator of American politics.” But I just don’t think it’s that meaningful.

“Two years into a presidency that the White House casts as the most effective in modern history, President Biden is set to deliver a State of the Union address Tuesday to a skeptical country with a majority of Americans saying they do not believe he has achieved much since taking office,” according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

“The poll finds that 62 percent of Americans think Biden has accomplished ‘not very much’ or ‘little or nothing’ during his presidency, while 36 percent say he has accomplished ‘a great deal’ or ‘a good amount.’ On many of Biden’s signature initiatives — from improving the country’s infrastructure to making electric vehicles more affordable to creating jobs — majorities of Americans say they do not believe he has made progress.”

This is truly baffling since it defies all facts.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 41% of Americans say their personal finances have gotten worse since President Biden took office — the highest that survey has ever measured going back 37 years.

NBC News: “Despite lackluster approval ratings, an ongoing classified documents scandal and polls showing most voters would like the 80-year-old to retire, Biden faces zero meaningful opposition to his leadership of the Democratic Party and an unobstructed path to renomination next year, even before he has officially declared his intention to seek it.”

“During the three-day gathering of elected officials, activists, union leaders, operatives and donors this weekend, serious dissent or discontentment with Biden was almost impossible to find, even after hours at the hotel bar, where alcohol and opinions flowed freely.”

A new AP-NORC poll shows just 37% of Democrats say they want President Bidento seek a second term, down from 52% in the weeks before last year’s midterm elections.

“Follow-up interviews with poll respondents suggest that many believe the 80-year-old’s age is a liability, with people focused on his coughing, his gait, his gaffes and the possibility that the world’s most stressful job would be better suited for someone younger.”

Politico: “The president has said he intends to stand for re-election, though some of his closest advisers caution that a final decision has not yet been made. In somewhat classic Biden fashion, the timeline for an announcement has shifted.”

Gallup: “More Americans name the government as the nation’s top problem in Gallup’s latest poll, which encompassed the rocky start of the 118th Congress’ term.”

“With high prices persisting, inflation remains the second most-cited problem (15%), and amid elevated tensions about the southern U.S. border, illegal immigration edged up three percentage points to 11%. Mentions of the economy in general fell six points, to 10%, the lowest reading in a year.”

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Senate races are increasingly converging with presidential partisanship, to the point where the huge overperformances that were so common a decade or two ago have become much less common.”

“Since 2000, the number of senators who have run more than 10 points ahead of their party’s presidential nominee has decreased sharply.”

“This trend helps explain why we currently rate Democratic-held West Virginia as Leans Republican and started off Montana and Ohio as Toss-ups.”

Charlie Sykes to National Public Radio: “It’s whoever can play most effectively to the media wing of the Republican Party, who can anger the left, who promises to fight and inflict damage on the left more more aggressively.”

Politico: “The possibility of Kari Lake and Blake Masters entering the political waters once more is complicating the newfound optimism GOP officials felt about capitalizing on Sinema’s recent party switch to independent.”

“The November midterms gave election officials and pro-democracy advocates their first sigh of relief in years: The election system they’d spent years defending and shoring up operated almost seamlessly, and most of the election deniers who threatened to disrupt it were defeated,” NBC News reports.

“The respite, however, appears to have been brief, with the new year marked by violent, moneyed and high-profile election denialism.”

“In the end, Joe Biden is not an exciting candidate. He’s old. He’s boring. And the American people are not relating to him.”— Former Gov. Chris Christie (R), on ABC News, adding that the unique characteristics of the 2020 presidential election — during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — were a “gift” to Biden.

“I’m the target of Donald Trump’s new tantrum. None of his lies about me today bothered him when he asked me to prep him for every general election debate or offered me three different cabinet posts. He’s the only man to lose to Biden outside Delaware. That loss to Joe still stings.” — Former Gov. Chris Christie (R), on Twitter.

Politico: “Over the past week, Trump has assailed President Joe Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. He has said he could end the almost year-long conflict in Ukraine within “24 hours,” but without any indication how, and suggested sending tanks to the country could spark nuclear war. He has railed against China and called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a ‘globalist.’”

“Those close to Trump’s campaign operation say he plans to try and paint himself as an anti-war dove amongst the hawks. They believe doing so will resonate with GOP voters who are divided on, but growing wary of, continued support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.”

“Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday he will not run for the open US Senate seat in Michigan in 2024, in his most direct answer to date ruling out a potential bid,” CNN reports.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu told ABC News that he is considering a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Said Sununu: “I’m definitely thinking about it.”

The Federal Election Commission announced that that contribution cap was sizably increasing for this cycle, from $2,900 to $3,300, mainly due to inflation, Politico reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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