President Biden’s withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan was met with mixed opinions and much condemnation from both sides of the partisan equation. After 20 exhausting years of war in Afghanistan, a survey by USA Today found that most Americans (53%) were supportive of ending the war effort. Regardless of Biden’s swift actions, an end to the Afghanistan war was inevitable. Evidently, the people were tired of a never-ending war with no progress.
Yet, Biden’s approval rating has dropped significantly in the past month. As early as last Tuesday, Biden’s approval rating sank from a steady 50%+ to a concerning 41%.
According to a late-August USA Today poll, only 26% of Americans approved of Biden’s handling of the withdrawal. 50% of Americans approved of his COVID-19 policies, and 39% approved of his handling of the economy. Similarly, the FiveThirtyEight polling average found Biden’s approval ratings dropped from a net positive of 8.1 points to a net negative of 0.4 points. An NBC News poll found that 41% of American adults “strongly disapprove” of Biden’s administration.
The Outspoken Oppa conducted an August 27 poll asking “Do you approve of the way Biden withdrew from Afghanistan?” Of the 168 respondents, 36% said yes, while 64% said no. The respondents were mostly La Cañada Flintridge students or residents that, as all polling suggests, typically lean and vote Democrat.
Although on a downward trend from his handling of economic issues and COVID-19, Biden and his administration’s handling of Afghanistan was the final straw. The aftereffects of Biden’s hasty removal of American troops are well documented and discussed. Of particular importance to Biden himself is the public’s generally disapproving and negative opinion of his competence: it could be a lasting stain on his political reputation for the rest of his career.
How will this effect the 2022 and 2024 elections?
Consequently, Republican leadership is likely to use this significant drop in the polls as momentum for taking back Congress in the 2022 midterm elections. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin Mcarthy suggested that the 2022 midterm elections will be about holding the Biden administration accountable for the way it withdrew from Afghanistan. Most Republicans will most likely frame the 2022 elections as a referendum on Biden’s foreign policies.
Since Democrats only hold a four-person majority in the House and a one-person majority in the Senate, the midterm elections may undoubtedly result in the Republican party taking back at least one chamber of Congress.
When the next presidential election cycle rolls around, political opponents are quick to bring up old faults. For Biden, the crisis in Afghanistan is guaranteed to become a talking point of the 2024 election. While some of Biden’s supporters recognize that he was following his predecessor’s policies, the bipartisan criticism from Congress and general criticism of his hasty retreat from the general populace is sure to hurt Biden’s chances at re-election. It is important that Biden can recover from this incident smoothly.
Ethan Kim contributed to this article.