Is Joe Biden Sinking? – WSJ

The country’s partisan polarization has intensified every year since George W. Bush won the presidency in the 2000 hanging-chad election. From Capitol Hill to Main Street, Republicans and Democrats don’t even bother discussing anything of political substance. What’s the point if 90% of the opposition is against whatever you’ve got? That leaves “independents” as the only thing that moves, and the bad news for Mr. Biden and his party’s immovable 90 percenters is the indies are in motion.

In mid-June, Mr. Biden’s approval rating in the Gallup poll was a decent 56%. It’s now 50%. Among independents, he’s at 48%, down 7 points. If you were in a plane that lost altitude that fast, you’d be white-knuckling both armrests.

Presidential approval as a leading indicator of party fortunes carries weight among political analysts. My other preferred metric is “direction of the country,” a one-stop consideration of everything in play. When that sentiment heads south, the party holding the bag of power is in trouble.

The ABC News-Ipsos poll released this week shows 55% of respondents pessimistic about the country’s direction, a 20-point drop since May. Among independents, the downdraft hit 26 points. As Joe Biden might say, “Gee, what happened?”

If all you are tracking is Mr. Biden himself, the answer is, not much. The president routinely shows up, does a competent job of reading something in the teleprompter, and turns over the fill-in-the-blanks job to Jen Psaki.

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