The president’s defenders think voters are ungrateful for a good economy. But people’s economic experiences vary widely, and much of the country has little to appreciate Biden for.

By Stephen Prager, Current Affairs

As the 2024 election approaches, President Biden’s prospects for re-election are in serious doubt. As of September 2023, most polls have him virtually tied with Donald Trump in terms of the national popular vote—an outcome which, even if he improved his margin by a few percentage points, would result in an Electoral College loss for the president. Even two-thirds of Democratic voters do not want him to run for re-election.

US President Joe Biden speaks on the US banking system after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Looking at issue polling, the biggest millstone around Biden’s neck has been the performance of the economy. According to a recent poll from the Suffolk University Sawyer Business School and USA Today,

Nearly 70% of Americans said the economy is getting worse, according to the poll, while only 22% said the economy is improving. Eighty-four percent of Americans said their cost of living is rising, and nearly half of Americans, 49%, blamed food and grocery prices as the main driver.

This is in spite of messaging from the administration, which has aggressively coined the term “Bidenomics.” The President published an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel touting the ways in which “Bidenomics is working.” Biden wrote:

More than 13 million jobs, including 800,000 in manufacturing. Unemployment below 4 percent for the longest stretch in 50 years. More working-age Americans are employed than at any time in the past 20 years. Inflation is near its lowest point in over two years. Wages and job satisfaction are up. Restoring the pensions of millions of retired union workers – the biggest step of its kind in the past fifty years.

But just looking at those top-line macroeconomic indicators does not tell the full story of what Americans are actually experiencing in their daily lives, which could give insight into their dissatisfaction.

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