Biden’s low approval rating has reached a bottom: Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman
Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman details President Biden’s approval rating as the administration reacts to the January jobs report data Omicron, Ukraine-Russia amid tensions, and the economy ahead of midterm elections.
EMILY MCCORMICK: And it’s time now for our weekly political scorecard with Bidenomics. Our very own Rick Newman joins us now for that. And Rick, you say that the Biden rebound is on. Now this morning’s better than expected payrolls report would certainly back that stance, but break this down for us.
RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, I mean, one monthly economic report doesn’t make or break a presidency. But I think something important happened in January, which is that the economy stopped caring about COVID. We know all the economists expected payrolls to be flat or perhaps even negative, and we got a big gain instead. That tells you that businesses are just operating through COVID. And it also tells you workers are operating through COVID as well.
And that 467,000, Emily, which you’ve covered, that includes a lot of absenteeism, too. So that suggests we could see bigger numbers coming for the next few months. I think this represents a bottom. I’m calling a bottom in President Biden’s approval rating decline. So he’s now down around 41% approval rating. I think that’s going to get better.
I think the economic story from here on out is pretty good. Maybe not so good for stocks because of the Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. But I think there’s good reason to think we’re seeing Omicron is now fading. That will probably intensify as we get to spring, and the weather warms up, and people are doing less stuff outside– more stuff outside. And, you know, we just had an analyst on saying the economy is booming. So the only thing that’s missing is for people to feel like the economy is booming. And I think that might be coming in future months.
BRAD SMITH: Rick, how much of that bottom also depends on international relations, foreign policy, where we do know, in terms of Biden versus Putin, there is much more to be watched on that front, considering the number of troops that Russia has lined up against the Ukraine border?
RICK NEWMAN: Some of it does depend on that. I think foreign policy is something where you stand to lose more than you stand to gain because a lot of Americans don’t pay very close attention to foreign policy. But when something goes drastically wrong, they are sure notice.
And they did notice when we had that very ugly pullout of US troops from Afghanistan over the summer and a suicide bombing that killed 13 US service members, plus the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government. Clearly, that was a foreign policy debacle for Biden. I think he’s doing better with regard to Russia and Russia’s threat to invade Ukraine. Who knows where this is going? It’s not at all clear whether Putin will invade, whether he’s really going to wreak havoc in Eastern Europe or not, whether he’s just bluffing.
But so far, Biden has done a pretty good job. He’s shown some resolve by beefing up the US troop presence in Eastern Europe. I think they have been doing a pretty good job of countering what’s obviously a Russian disinformation campaign. We’ve heard the Biden administration and the Pentagon saying, look, Russia is preparing to plant these false flags and claim that things are happening that are not happening. They’ve been kind of getting ahead of that. Again, this could go in many different ways. But I think so far, Biden’s doing much better than he did with Afghanistan.
EMILY MCCORMICK: And Rick, I also want to ask, at this point, how big of a threat is inflation to the Biden administration and to Biden’s approval ratings and perception by the public? Because we’re about to get another CPI print next week that’s likely to come in at a multi-decade high. We had another hot print on average hourly earnings in this morning’s report. So how are you thinking about the inflation factor of this?
RICK NEWMAN: It is the biggest threat to Biden’s presidency right now. It is clearly, the Biden administration did not see it coming. There’s not a lot they can do about inflation, except hope that they can get the economy back to normal. I think you’re right, Emily. I think, you know, inflation is now running at 7% year over year. It could go higher before this drains out. But if you do pursue this sort of back to normal thesis– and we are going to get back to normal someday. I mean, it keeps taking longer than we want.
But part of back to normal means that people– consumers will start spending more on services. They’ll start traveling more. They’ll start going out more. They’ll start going to salons, things they’ve been afraid to do. And that means they’ll spend less on goods. And that alone should probably ease the demand on goods, which is a big factor in inflation right now.
So that’s my way of thinking that inflation will– you know, I think it might come below 5%, maybe 4% by mid-summer. And that would be welcome for Democrats, of course, because the midterm elections in November are not looking great for them at the moment. So I think the odds are better that things are going to get better for Democrats than they’re going to get worse. But I’ve been proven wrong before, unfortunately.