Joe Biden: What the polls say ahead of US midterms – BBC

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American voters go to the polls to pick new members of Congress on 8 November. But the midterms outcome will also be a thumbs up or down for President Joe Biden.
The president's party often suffers a loss at this point but has Biden done enough to buck that trend, and what could his remaining two years in office bring?
Biden's poll ratings paint a dour picture of his first two years.
Early signs were positive but in August 2021 after the much-criticised withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, his ratings dropped to negative levels seldom seen by first-term presidents.
By summer of this year, the RealClearPolitics aggregate of polls found just 37% of the public approved of the job he was doing as president, while 57% disapproved.
Since then, people have warmed to him a bit. Some presidents have recovered from these levels at similar points in their term to win re-election two years later. Voters have rejected others.
Biden inhabits a polling limbo, neither dead and buried nor at the top of his game.
Biden started his presidency by passing a massive Covid economic and healthcare aid package.
Its tax-relief payments helped pull millions of US children out of poverty and were a long-sought political victory for Democrats.
He also worked with Republicans to enact a massive infrastructure spending bill, to invest in roads, bridges, broadband, and electric car charging stations.
But after that strong start his agenda hit a wall.
A multi-trillion-dollar social spending and climate package stalled in the Senate and Republicans blocked progress on voting rights protection, gun control and abortion access.
It wasn't until the summer of 2022, as the midterms approached, that Democrats supported a climate and healthcare package and a technology investment bill was passed.
New background checks for young gun-buyers were introduced after a spate of mass shootings, including one that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
Progress has come in fits and starts but while it misses a single grand achievement like Obamacare, his record is as broad and substantive as any modern president.
The Biden administration has been caught flat-footed on multiple occasions.
The planned withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 turned chaotic as the White House was unprepared for how quickly the Taliban would seize power.
Undocumented migrant crossings at the US-Mexico border surged to the highest levels in decades, after Trump-era immigration policies were eased and refugee numbers picked up again post-Covid.
Inflation rose to levels not seen since the early 1980s, driven by fast economic growth out of the pandemic, supply chain disruptions and rising fuel costs.
But many experts also blamed Mr Biden's massive economic stimulus package for fuelling the fire.
The omicron Covid variant in autumn 2021; a shortage of baby formula in spring 2022; and the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade abortion protections in June all seemed to catch the White House ill-prepared.
It has been far from the return to diplomatic smooth sailing that Mr Biden promised on the campaign trail.
European leaders celebrated his renewed emphasis on trans-Atlantic relations and the decision to re-join the Paris climate accord.
But the Afghanistan withdrawal caught allies off guard and there was a rift with France over a joint US-UK decision to sell US submarines to Australia.
North Korea continues to fire missiles into the Sea of Japan and attempts to restart negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons programme have failed.
Even the major foreign policy challenge of his presidency, the Ukraine War, is no longer the unifying issue it was.
Support among Republicans in Congress for the US sending aid and weapons has waned, especially as oil prices rise.
Biden has rolled back some of Mr Trump's hard-line immigration measures, including the policy that asylum seekers must stay in Mexico while their claims are processed.
He fulfilled campaign promises to forgive some student loan debt (although that already faces legal challenges) and announced pardons for individuals with federal marijuana possession convictions.
He also followed through on a pledge to name the first black woman to the US Supreme Court.
Mr Biden may leave the most lasting mark on the federal courts as he has appointed more judges in his first two years than any president since John F Kennedy.
The majority of his judicial appointments have been women and individuals from racial and ethnic minorities – a first for a US president.
If history – and current polling – are a guide, the Democrats will lose control of at least one chamber of Congress in the midterms.
That means President Biden, for the first time, would face aggressive oversight from Congress.
Already Republicans in the House of Representatives are making plans to launch investigations into his son's dealings with China. Also in their sights will be the Afghanistan withdrawal and immigration policies.
Internationally, the administration just released a new national security strategy document that outlines a ferocious competition between the US and its allies on one side and China and Russia on the other.
At home, there is the risk of economic recession and it will be hard to find ways to ease the pain of rising unemployment or high inflation.
The Biden government will also face lawsuits over its policy on immigration, student loan debt forgiveness and the environment. Any defeats would be a political blow as he gears up for the 2024 presidential election.
And there's no guarantee Mr Biden will have a clear path to the Democratic Party renomination – if the soon-to-be-octogenarian decides to seek another term.
His ability to handle all this will help determine if he can keep his rivals at bay now he occupies the top office he sought for nearly all of his adult life.
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