Why There's More To Joe Biden's Approval Rating Than Meets The Eye

There's been less coverage of current President Joe Biden's approval rating in the polls after the commander-in-chief cleared the mark of his first 100 days in office in April, but that doesn't mean an end to polling writ large. Though Biden generally received a generally modest approval rating at the conclusion of the period, the consensus regarding the first phase of his presidency doesn't mean his approval isn't subject to change for the rest of his term. And according to a recent explainer from FiveThirtyEight, another round of results reached from a recent poll conducted by CNN/SSRS show that when it comes to how Americans feel about Biden, there's a lot more to simple numbers than meets the eye.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Biden is performing well among Americans surveyed by both CNN and the research firm SSRS, a pool that consisted of 1,004 respondents. But out of those respondents, the poll found that Biden's approval for his response to one area in particular far outstripped his general approval rating for his overall job as president. 

So, what's the source of these apparently mismatched statistics? How is Biden soaring in one way, but flying below that bar in others? Read on below to find out more.

Biden's mismatched approval ratings have to do with party loyalties

As FiveThirtyEight summarized in its May 26 analysis, the CNN/SSRS poll, which surveyed Democrat and Republican voters from April 21 to April 26, found that President Joe Biden's general approval rating came in at 53% overall, a two-point gain from a poll conducted by both organizations in early March. But as the media outlet noted, the rating itself contrasted greatly to Biden's approval rating for the handling of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, which totaled at a whopping 66%. A similar gap cropped up in survey results for a poll FiveThirtyEight conducted, with Biden receiving an overall approval score of 55% and a 63% approval rating for his handling of COVID-19 since assuming office. 

While the discrepancy may first appear baffling, it all boils down to one thing. Per FiveThirtyEight, results like these have everything to do with party unity, especially for Republicans. According to FiveThirtyEight's Geoffrey Skelley, "people are just less likely to say they approve of a president from the opposing party and more likely to say they approve of a president from their own." 

But when it comes to single issues, such as the Biden administration's response to the coronavirus, it means conservative voters can compartmentalize and respond in favor to policy decisions individually while still expressing dislike for Biden as a whole. And voters from both sides of the aisle appear happy with Biden's coronavirus response.