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President Joe Biden’s popularity improved substantially from his lowest point this summer: : AP-NORC poll!

President Joe Biden’s popularity has improved dramatically from its lowest point this summer, but concerns about his handling of the economy remain, according to an Associated Press-Public Affairs Research poll.

Support for Biden rebounded from 36% in July to 45%, driven in large part by a rebound in support from Democrats just two months before the November midterm elections. During the bleak summer months when gasoline prices peaked and lawmakers seemed to be deadlocked, Democrats faced the prospect of heavy losses against Republicans.

They look better after a string of legislative successes that made more Americans ready to judge the Democratic president on his favored terms: “Don’t compare me to Almighty God. Compare me to the alternative.”

The president’s approval rating remains underwater, with 53% of US adults opposing him, and the economy remains a weak spot for Biden. Only 38% approve of his economic leadership as the country faces stubbornly high inflation and Republicans attempt to make household finances the focus of the upcoming vote.

Nevertheless, the poll suggests that Biden and his fellow Democrats are gaining the right momentum with priority given to generating voter enthusiasm and turnout.

Average gas prices are down 26% since June to $3.71 a gallon, somewhat reducing pressure on household budgets even if inflation remains high. Congress also passed two important bills last month that could reshape the economy and reduce carbon emissions.

Republicans have also faced resistance since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and its abortion protections. Biden publicly calls former President Donald Trump a primary threat to democracy, a charge that gained traction after an FBI search of Trump’s Florida home found classified documents belonging to the US government.

This combination of factors has earned Biden some plaudits among Democratic believers, even if Americans still feel lukewarm about his leadership.

“I don’t believe he’s the best person for the job — he’s the best of the people we had to choose from,” said Betty Bogach, 74, retired from Portland, Oregon. He represented the stability that I feel President Trump did not represent at all.”

Biden’s approval rating did not exceed 40% in May, June or July as inflation soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But his winning streak over the past month continued on Thursday, after the poll was conducted, when he announced a tentative deal between rail and unions to avert a strike that could have shut down railroads and wrecked the economy.

The president’s rating is now similar to what it was during the first quarter of the year, but still below the early highs. His average approval rating in an AP-NORC poll during the first six months of his tenure was 60%.

The recent surge in Biden’s popularity has been driven by renewed support among Democrats, who showed signs of depression in early summer. Now, 78% of Democrats approve of Biden’s job performance, up from 65% in July. Sixty-six percent of Democrats approve of Biden on the economy, up from 54 percent in June.

Interviews suggest that the main reason for Biden’s rebound is Trump’s re-emergence on the national stage, leading voters like Steven Jablonsky, who called Biden “agree,” to argue that a Democrat vote is essential to the nation’s survival.

“There is a political virus in the country in the name of Donald Trump,” said Jablonsky, a retired music professor from Stamford, Connecticut. “We have a man who is psychotic and seems to have no interest in law and order and democracy. The Republican Party has gone to a very unattractive and dangerous place, and the upcoming elections in November may be our last ever.”

Republicans are just as negative about Biden as they did before. Only about 1 in 10 Republicans approve of the president in general or on the economy, similar to ratings earlier this summer.

Kristen Januzzi, 50, suspects 79-year-old Biden has the ability to lead.

“I don’t think he’s mentally, very aware of everything that’s going on all the time,” said Januzzi, who lives in Binghamton, New York. “The economy is very weak and I find it hard to believe that the unemployment rate is low as they say.”

“I think the middle class is virtually getting rid of and families are doing two and three jobs per person,” the Republican added.

29% of US adults say the economy is doing well, while 71% say it is doing poorly. In June, 20% said conditions were good and 79% said conditions were bad.

Democrats are more positive now than they were in June, 46% versus 31%. Republicans remained largely passive, with only 10% saying conditions were good and 90% saying they were bad.

About a quarter of Americans now say things in the country are going in the right direction, 27%, up from 17% in July. 72% say things are going in the wrong direction.

Nearly half of Democrats – 44% – have an optimistic view, up from 27% in July. Only 9% of Republicans are optimistic about the nation’s direction.

Akila Atkins, a 27-year-old mother of two thinks Biden is “just fine” and has little confidence that his solutions will limit price hikes.

Atkins says it has become a little more difficult in the past year to manage her family’s expenses, and she’s frustrated that she can no longer rely on the expanded child tax credit. The tax credit paid monthly was part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and has since lapsed.

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the expanded tax credit nearly halved the child poverty rate last year to 5.2%. It helped them “stay afloat with bills, baby clothes, shoes, school supplies, everything,” Atkins said.

Whatever the Grand Forks, North Dakota Democrat’s doubts about Biden, she thinks he’s better than Trump.

“I always feel like he could be better, but then again, he’s better than our previous president,” she said.

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The survey of 1,054 adults was conducted September 9-12 using a sample taken from NORC’s AmeriSpeak Probability Panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The sampling error margin for all respondents is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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