It’s not unusual for voters of the opposing political party to disapprove or dislike the sitting president of another party, but the number of Republicans who “strongly disapprove” of President Joe Biden is high. Fivethirtyeight.com examined approval/ disapproval numbers from various outlets for previous presidents at this point of their term. They found that compared to Democrats at the start of President George W. Bush’s term or Republicans at this point of President Barack Obama’s term, President Biden’s “strong” disapproval among Republicans is higher.
At this point during Mr. Bush’s first term, 31% of Democrats “strongly disapproved” of his performance and 22% “somewhat disapproved.” At this point during Mr. Obama’s first term, those numbers were 47% and 18%, respectively. Today, 62% of Republicans “strongly disapprove” of Mr. Biden’s performance and 14% “somewhat disapprove.” Only President Donald Trump saw more polarizing numbers, as 72% of Democrats “strongly” disapproved and 12% “somewhat” disapproved at this point.
As Fivethirtyeight.com notes, this continues the era of “negative partisanship” seen in Mr. Trump’s years in the White House. While voters from the party out-of-power were more open to giving a new president a chance in past years, that’s no longer the case. Perhaps we’re in a moment of tribal partisanship, or this could be a response to the intense, often irrational reaction of Democrats to Mr. Trump. Republicans, having had to defend Mr. Trump from Democrats and their media accomplices, may now be reacting to Mr. Biden and his actions and the media’s embrace of him. Republicans and some Independents are clearly taking notice reacting to what they perceived to be Mr. Biden’s radical agenda and fawning press coverage.