By Josephine Walker
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s public approval rating held steady at 40% in early August, with concerns about the economy souring Americans’ opinion of his performance despite falling inflation, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll this week.
The three-day online poll, which asked Americans if they approve or disapprove of the way Biden is handling his job, matched the July reading of 40%.
Some 54% of respondents said they disapproved of the Democratic president’s performance and 6% were unsure or would not answer. The survey has a three percentage point margin of error.
The economy, unemployment and jobs remained Americans’ top concern with a fifth of respondents citing that as the most important problem facing the U.S. today. A full 60% of Americans, including one in three Democrats, said they disapproved of Biden’s handling of inflation.
Top Cabinet officials and Biden himself have begun to fan out to events across the country to try to highlight recent economic gains that the White House argues are evidence that what they call the “Bidenomics” agenda is working.
U.S. households have struggled with the most severe inflation in decades under Biden, though the rate of price increases has recently fallen sharply. Economic growth has been modest but the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest levels in decades.
A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll last week found that worries about the economy could cost Biden support in the 2024 election, when he faces a likely rematch with Republican former President Donald Trump. One in five respondents who voted for Biden in 2020 said they weren’t sure who they would vote for this time.
The latest poll’s approval rating for Biden of 40% was just four points higher than the 36% lows he hit in mid-2022.
The survey had some heartening news for Democrats as well. With some Republican state-level officials pushing for increasingly hardline bans on abortion, the poll found that 81% of Americans oppose the idea of allowing states to criminally prosecute people who travel to other states for abortions. That included 68% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats.
Some 70% of Americans support requiring “ghost guns,” or firearms that are built from kits at home, to be given serial numbers and restricted to production by licensed manufacturers only, including 61% of Republicans. Biden’s administration is trying to rein in the sale of “ghost guns.”
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, Aug. 4-6 and collected responses from 1,032 adults, using a nationally representative sample.
(Reporting by Josephine Walker; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)