National leader with the worst net favorable rating? Kamala Harris, of course


“Poll: Donald Trump More Popular Than Kamala Harris,” reads the Free Beacon headline for this news.

Which sounds like trolling but turns out to be a simple statement of fact.

I’m going to call this a good poll for Democrats inasmuch as it forces them to reckon with the fact that Harris is unelectable. If they don’t get a bunch of data early proving that she’s a nonstarter in 2024, they’re going to end up sleepwalking into nominating her on “it’s her turn” grounds.

Which didn’t work out well for the last nominee who ran on that message.

Not only is Harris the least popular politician tested there, she’s viewed less favorably than Dan Quayle was at this point in his term, notes the Beacon’s Andrew Stiles. Quayle didn’t end up running in 1996, when it would have been “his turn,” as it was widely perceived by then that he was an oaf who couldn’t possibly win. See what I mean about this being a good poll for Dems?

Of course, Quayle’s decision not to run left the GOP with a leadership vacuum that was ultimately filled by Bob Dole, who went on to get walloped. (Although probably no worse than Quayle himself would have been.) A preview of 2024 for Democrats, perhaps.

As for Harris, it feels almost like an accomplishment that she’s less popular than a guy who got impeached twice and incited a mob to riot at the Capitol in the interim. She’s also less popular than her own running mate, whose own numbers are terrible. How is that possible? Biden’s performance has obviously dragged down her rating to some degree, but she manages to poll worse than he does despite having famously kept a low profile as veep so far.

That’s not a new phenomenon. If you go back and look at their favorable ratings over time, you’ll find that Biden has consistently outpolled her. She seems to have slipped in her polling earlier than he did too, with Biden still touching the mid-50s in his favorability as of late May and early June while Harris was already on her way into the mid-40s. That’s due partly to Biden having put her in charge of the border crisis, a thankless task made worse by Harris’s bumbling in interviews. But it’s also a function of innate likability.

Harris’s defenders will naturally blame racism and sexism for the disparity. And to be fair, how is any politician in a position of national leadership supposed to be popular when her boss just steered the country through a year that’s left almost everyone feeling hopeless?

“Downhill, divided, doubting democracy, falling behind, and tuning out — this is how Americans are feeling as they’re heading into 2022,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies…

According to the poll, 72 percent of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction — essentially unchanged from the 71 percent who held this view in October’s NBC News poll.

It marks just the sixth time in the poll’s history when 70 percent or more have said the nation is on the wrong track in back-to-back surveys.

Yesterday CBS aired parts of a focus group it conducted recently on the state of the country. It … did not go well for the ruling party:

If you want to go really dark about the present moment, read this transcript of a focus group Frank Luntz recently conducted on where things stand in America. Just a taste:

Frank Luntz: Give me a word or phrase to describe life in America today.

Scott (53, white, Florida, works in health care): Divided.

Janet (66, white, Ohio, customer service): Dismal.

Julia (50, white, Illinois, small-business owner): Disappointment.

Don (36, multiracial, Georgia, elementary school educator): Indescribable.

Tenae (44, Black, California, director of security dispatch): New normal.

Nick (43, white, Pennsylvania, merchandise designer): Burned out.

Azariah (38, Black, New York, hospitality): Stressful.

Travis (45, white, Kansas, corporate finance): Lost.

None of those people is a hardcore Republican. All of them are Obama/Trump voters, gettable by both parties. The fact that Biden is staring at an electorate that feels that way and is still managing to cling to a 42 percent favorable rating in the polling average is a testament to how rigid partisanship is in America 2022. The core of the Democratic base is propping him up, just like the core of the Republican base propped up Trump for four years. But at this point in their presidencies, it’s only their own base who has/had any use for them.

In lieu of an exit question, read Jim Geraghty for theories on why Americans feel such despair. Nothing seems to meaningfully improve in any aspect of the country’s social and civic health anymore. And that’s not all due to the pandemic.





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