The White House is hoping for a rebound after a strong week, with bipartisan support for supporting Ukraine, a strong jobs report, the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the ongoing confirmation process for its Supreme Court nominee.
President Biden, plagued by low approval of high inflation and pandemic fatigue, saw his numbers surge in at least one poll after his first State of the Union address.
“I think it’s a reset moment for us. I think this is a time for our country to pull together,” said Samar Ali, research professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University and former President Obama White House Fellow. “I feel like Biden found his voice in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, showing a calm head in times of crisis and chaos.”
Forty-seven percent of Americans polled after that speech said they approve of the work Biden is doing as president in the latest NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist National Poll, up from just 39 percent in the same poll last month.
The last time Biden had a higher approval rating was in August — his numbers have been steadily declining since the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, fueling fears among Democrats ahead of November’s midterm elections.
“The American people saw this week that President Biden is delivering on his promises. He announced a historic nominee for the Supreme Court, proved he has rebuilt ties with international partners and allies, and spearheaded strong job growth,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a close Biden ally.
“On Tuesday night we heard a clear and powerful argument from President Biden about where we stand as a country and his vision to address the challenges we face at home and abroad, and I believe it’s a vision that working Americans understand.” support,” he added.
At the State of the Union, Congress enjoyed a rare moment of unity as the President outlined sanctions against Russia and the coordinated response by the US and its allies to its aggression.
News followed Friday that the economy added 678,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent last month after the president outlined his plan to fight inflation in the State of the Union.
Ed Pagano, a former Senate liaison to Obama, argued that this is a good first step.
“I think they have a plan and we’ll have to see how things play out, but it feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and there’s no train coming our way,” said Pagano, partner at Akin gump .
However, some wonder how much public sentiment on inflation will change in the absence of clear-cut results, such as B. noticeably lower prices are present.
“We’ve had strong jobs reports for months and the polls on his handling of the economy are poor and the inflation problem is very real,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former economic adviser to former President George W. Bush and the late Senator John McCain (R -Ariz.). “Energy prices will remain high and with the invasion we have no idea how long. I don’t see that the speech that says ‘I have a plan’ does him any good. It’s not a big plan, because the recording.”
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain predicted on Wednesday that approval ratings will rise as inflation improves and COVID-19 cases continue to fall. But Labor Secretary Marty Walsh conceded on Friday that the anti-inflation plan will not yield immediate results.
“No, it’s not,” Walsh said when asked on Fox Business Network about starting tomorrow. “But we also have to be realistic about the times we live in. We are still living in a global pandemic. Much of the inflation is caused by supply chains and manufacturing – lack of goods and services in our country. Now we have to ‘deal with this sad situation in Ukraine, what is happening there.’
Biden fueled unity among US lawmakers and allies while addressing the situation in Ukraine, saying at the State of the Union address that Russian President Vladimir Putin had tried to “divide us at home,” but had failed.
Wearing Ukraine’s national colors of blue and yellow, members of both parties applauded and cheered, the opposite reaction Biden received in August when he was heavily criticized from both sides of the aisle over Afghanistan.
“It’s a combination of things coming together. He has the foreign policy experience for Ukraine, he is a united NATO,” Pagano said. “He was somehow able to point out publicly what the plan for an invasion was before it happened with Putin, and I think that transparency helped.”
Another move that could bolster voter support this week was the government’s declaration that wearing a mask indoors is no longer recommended in much of the United States. COVID-19 infection numbers have been falling rapidly in recent weeks after the Omicron variant caused a spike in these winters.
Lawmakers and Biden were maskless at the State of the Union in an attempt to signal a turning point in the fight against COVID-19.
However, Holtz-Eakin warned that the fight against the corona virus is not over yet.
“Anything that makes the pandemic go away is good news for the American people. They’re really sick of it, there’s no question about that. But remember, last summer we also declared victory, and we found ourselves again with a new wave and a new variant?” he asked.
The White House is also optimistic about a possible no-drama confirmation process for Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who met senators on Capitol Hill this week.
Democrats want her confirmed by April 8 before a two-week break, and she could potentially garner a few Republican votes. If Jackson’s confirmation process goes smoothly, it would give Democrats a positive note to campaign ahead of the midterms.
“I think it was well received and the nomination will definitely unite Democrats and was very good for the grassroots and the party, which I felt needed to be shored up after the Build Back deadlock was better,” Pagano said.
The President did not mention Build Back Better by name in the State of the Union address after the sweeping Senate spending package effectively died when moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) said he could not support it.
Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, noted a shift in focus from Biden this week.
“Ten months ago, in the speech at the joint session, the President was essentially asking for 6 trillion [dollar] Investment in massive transformation investments. And in that state of the Union, the focus was on signing bipartisan bills with an agenda,” he said. “There has clearly been a significant realignment of the government’s political ambitions.”
Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist, similarly called it “a week of adjustments for the president.”
“It gave him an opportunity to reset and make some adjustments,” he said. “It really put oxygen in the mouths of Democrats who were worried about the direction we’re going in terms of the midterm elections and gave people a reason to feel confident again about what we can do.”