President Joe Biden will seek to relaunch negotiations on his signature Build Back Better social spending program in the new year, but he isn't getting any help from the public's perception of his economic chops.
A new poll from CNN and SSRS showed only 44% of respondents approved of Biden's "economic performance," with 55% disapproving. That -9-point differential on the economy marks the low point for a president in his first year since former President Jimmy Carter. Furthermore, CNN claims that Biden's average net economic approval when looking at all polls taken in December is even worse, coming in at -13.
WHITE HOUSE AND ALLIES SEE MANCHIN'S 'NO' ON BUILD BACK BETTER AS 'OUTRIGHT BETRAYAL'
For comparison, Biden's two predecessors, former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, both clocked in with a -4 point economic approval differential at this point in their first year in office. Furthermore, the average economic approval differential in the history of CNN's poll on the subject is +5 at the end of a president's first year in office.
Oddly enough, Biden's economic policies themselves, including those such as the American Rescue Plan and bipartisan infrastructure bill that he's already signed into law, poll extremely well when viewed individually, something White House senior officials frequently note.
Still, a growing number of people believe rampant inflation should be Biden's top priority at the moment. A poll from Echelon Insights published in November showed 72% of respondents hoping Biden would tackle inflation as his top priority. Just 21% thought social spending programs, like those included in BBB, should be the president's top concern at this point in time.
A similar poll from ABC found that just 28% approved of Biden's action to combat inflation, currently at its highest level since the Carter administration, while a December offering from Fox News revealed that only 22% of respondents thought that Biden's inflation policies were helping lower prices, and 47% said they were actually hurting.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who represents the final roadblock toward the Senate passage of Build Back Better, has repeatedly expressed similar inflation-related concerns about Biden's social spending plan.
Manchin outright declared on Fox News Sunday that he will not vote with the Democratic caucus to pass the bill, citing both November's 6.8% inflation rate and America's $27 trillion national debt.
"I’ve always said this, Bret. If I can't go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can't vote for it, and I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there," he told Fox's Bret Baier. "This is a 'no' on this legislation."
The White House quickly jumped into action to counter Manchin's claims.
"Senator Manchin claims that this change of position is related to inflation," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement responding to Manchin's interview. "But the think tank he often cites on Build Back Better — the Penn Wharton Budget Institute — issued a report less than 48 hours ago that noted the Build Back Better Act will have virtually no impact on inflation in the short term, and, in the long run, the policies it includes will ease inflationary pressures. Many leading economists with whom Senator Manchin frequently consults also support Build Back Better."
"You saw what happened yesterday. All the talk about how my Build Back Better plan was going to increase inflation, was going to cause these debts and all the like — what happened?," Biden himself added in a speech on Tuesday. "Goldman Sachs and others said if we don't pass Build Back Better, we’re in trouble, because it's going to grow the economy, and without it, we're not going to grow."
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"Everybody thinks because I quoted 17 Nobel laureates saying, 'This is going to help inflation,'" he continued. "Think about it in terms of if you're a hardworking person and you're making 60 grand — if you're alone, if you’re mom, or just on her own, or if you're making 80 grand, a mom and dad, 90 grand, like a lot of people do — and you're worried about inflation: You should be worried about it because it's a devastating thing for people who are working-class and middle-class folks. It really hurts."