When Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg lands in Manchester to pitch President Joe Biden’s massive spending initiatives, he’s going to find neither the president nor his plan are popular with Granite State voters.
A new New Hampshire Journal poll finds a jaw-dropping 70 percent of New Hampshire registered voters believe the country is on the wrong track. That may explain why he’s underwater with Granite Staters by -14 points, with a 43 percent favorable/57 percent unfavorable number.
By comparison, those same voters give GOP Gov. Chris Sununu a thumbs up, with a 58 percent favorable/37 percent unfavorable margin.
If Buttigieg is counting on the Build Back Better plan to give Democrats a bounce, he may be disappointed. Despite having the backing of all four members of the state’s federal delegation, a narrow majority of New Hampshire voters oppose it (45-52 percent.)
And 55 percent of Granite Staters believe an additional $2 trillion in federal spending will make inflation worse, while just 9 percent agree with Biden administration officials that it will decrease inflation. Another 20 percent say it will have no impact and 16 percent aren’t sure.
One of Biden’s biggest problems may be the perceived gap between Biden the candidate and Biden the president. When asked whether the Biden presidency was going better than expected, worse than expected, or if he was governing as they expected him to, just 14 percent said Biden’s job performance was better than they expected.
On the other hand, 43 percent of Granite Staters said he was doing worse than they expected, while another 43 percent say Biden’s performance is meeting their expectations.
Asked a similar question about their perception of former President Donald Trump since he left office, 29 percent said they have a more favorable view, while 20 percent said their opinion of him had fallen. And 50 percent said their opinion of Trump hadn’t changed.
The poll of 729 registered voters was conducted by New England Polling on December 9 and 10 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent. (View toplines here)
The most worrying part of the poll for Democrats is Biden’s performance among independent and “swing” voters. Fifty-seven (57) percent of unaffiliated voters have a strongly unfavorable view of Biden, while 59 percent of swing voters feel the same. Among those same groups of voters, 75 percent of the former and 82 percent of the latter feel like the country’s on the wrong track.
On the question of meeting expectations, a plurality of undeclared voters said Biden was doing worse than they expected (47 percent) and just 10 percent said he was doing better. Interestingly, only 30 percent of self-identified Democrats said Biden was exceeding their expectations, while 61 percent said he’s doing about as well as they expected.
The only good news in this poll for Biden is that, as bad as his numbers are in New Hampshire, they’re worse nationwide. Biden’s job approval in the Real Clear Politics average is underwater by 10: 42 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove. The last major national poll with a Biden approval at 50 percent was in mid-September.
And while Republicans hold an advantage in the New Hampshire “generic ballot” question — 47 percent GOP, 42 percent Democrats — it’s not as large as the 10-point Republican advantage nationwide.
On the issues, Biden is doing badly as well. An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday found Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy (41-57 percent), taxes (40-57 percent), and crime (36-61 percent). Even his ratings on handling COVID-19, while still positive, have fallen from 72 percent approval to 53 percent.
Democrats contacted by NHJournal about the new poll results and what they mean for the 2022 midterm elections declined to respond.
UNH political science Dante Scala told NHJournal Democrats have reason to be concerned.
“Granted, next year’s campaigns have barely begun, but it’s striking how strongly New Hampshire’s Democrats in Congress are anchored to President Biden,” Scala said. “And make no mistake, right now Biden is an anchor.”
Republican strategist Patrick Griffin agrees.
“The fact is the premise of Biden has fallen flat and voters are now feeling presidential buyer’s remorse like no time in recent history,” Griffin said. “The president is a drag on Democratic congressional and governor’s races across the country. If Joe’s coming to town, expect Kuster, Pappas and Hassan to have serious ‘scheduling problems.’ These numbers will create a toxic effect on the Democratic base and will clearly depress independent voters who voted for Biden in 2020.
“The only thing worse than Biden for Democrats right now: Kamala Harris.”