Presidents matter, but so do the people they surround themselves with. A strong team of experienced advisers can have a major impact on a presidency. President Joe Biden’s advisers are a case in point, and perhaps go a long way toward explaining his current low favorability among American voters.
As part of our July I&I/TIPP Poll, we asked the following question about Biden’s various teams of advisers and Cabinet members: “In general, based on what you read, see, or hear, how would you rate the quality of advice President Biden receives from the following teams of senior policy advisers?”
Respondents to the online national poll of 1,643 adults, taken July 6-9, were asked to assign a grade of A (excellent), B (good), C (average), D (poor) or F (unacceptable). The poll has a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points.
If Biden’s advisers were students, they’d all be grounded by their parents for earning failing grades.
Biden’s economic team, for instance, received “A” or “B” grades from 31% of poll respondents, while getting “D” or “F” grades from 42%. 20% handed out “C” grades, barely passing.
But 25% gave Biden’s economic team an “F,” perhaps not surprising given the difficulties arising from the forced national COVID lockdown, including a looming recession, the implosion of the small-business sector, the national supply-chain nightmare, a meltdown of our air-transportation and trucking systems, and current inflation over 9%, the highest in 41 years.
Making it even worse, most Americans, while usually filled with sunny economic optimism, now say they’re falling behind.
How about other Biden senior advisers? Did they fare any better?
Not really. Biden’s national security advisers, for instance, got closest to coming out ahead, breaking even on their pass-fail grades, with 36% of respondents giving them “A” or “B” grades, and an equal 36% giving them the failing grades of “D” or “F.”
This might be a result of the U.S. policy of supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia, which has garnered much positive coverage in the American media and support even from many Republicans.
And despite recent indications of trouble within our military — including a newly “woke” military leadership having trouble finding recruits, the disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, and a threat by Biden to purge the Army of the 27% of members who refuse to get vaccinated — Americans still seem to harbor a residual respect and fondness for the military, including its leaders and those who advise the president.
Biden’s foreign policy team also performs poorly. Only 32% give his foreign policy team a “A” or “B,” while 39% give it a “D” or “F.” One-fifth (21%) give it a “C.”
But Biden’s immigration advisers and policymakers do a lot worse. With a flood of illegal immigrants now crossing the border each month, Americans show their strong disapproval of Biden’s open border policies, which have led to record surges of illegal migrants across our southern frontier with Mexico.
Biden’s immigration gurus get just 29% “A” or “B,” versus 44% “D” or “F.”
Finally, Biden’s climate advisers, including Gina McCarthy and John Kerry, also get poor marks for their efforts. While 32% of gave “A” and “B” grades, 38% flunked them with “D” and “F” grades. Another 21% gave them a “C.”
In our analysis, so far we focused mainly on the overall scores, because that’s what matters most. However, if you break the numbers down by political affiliation, the left-right split becomes apparent.
Among Democrats, “A” and “B” scores for Biden’s advisers are all 53% or higher, while “D” and “F” scores were all 15% or lower. Among Republicans, the reverse was true: Just 10% or lower gave “A” and “B” scores to Biden’s team, while those assigning flunking grades for each group were 69% or higher.
Independents split the difference, assigning failing grades over passing grades by a more than 2-to-1 ratio for all categories of Biden’s advisers.
If all this talk about letter grades is confusing, you can look at it another way: In the 4.0 system that once served as the grading standard across America, a passing GPA would be an average of 2.0 or higher.
So, overall, none of the advisory teams received even a passing GPA: Economic advisers 1.75, national security 1.19, foreign policy 1.83, immigration 1.66, and climate 1.84.
Those low GPA numbers translate into a stunning lack of confidence by the public in the quality of the administration’s key policymakers and advisers, who at times have been faulted for being clueless, out of touch or just plain ignorant about the impacts their policy prescriptions have.
And it’s no wonder: A study by the Committee to Unleash the Economy, released in early July, showed the top 68 officials who shape U.S. economic policy have, on average, just 2.4 years of business experience and that almost two-thirds had no business experience at all.
Which is why the $2 trillion stimulus was signed into law in 2021, despite warnings by even some liberal economists that such spending as the economy recovered risked a major jump in inflation. Inflation since has soared from 1.4% to 9.1%, as bad advice won out over good.
In a more recent example, when National Economic Council Director Brian Deese was asked on CNN about the high cost of gasoline now ruining the finances of many families, his response was: “This is about the future of the liberal world order and we have to stand firm.”
“A troubling trend in the Democratic Party in recent years is its increasing detachment from the private economy,” the Wall Street Journal recently commented. “That’s shown itself in the Biden administration’s economic management, and one reason may be that few of its officials have experience in private business.”
The New York Post has a harsher take: “Instead of grabbing the reins of the economy to set things right at a time of crisis, they are preoccupied with big spending programs and woke priorities while working people and small businesses drown.”
It starts at the top: Neither Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris have any real business experience at all, either.
And, of course, there are also others just outside the White House ambit who reside in the permanent bureaucracy, among them Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, who gave questionable advice and counsel during the COVID pandemic that created unnecessary panic, cost the economy trillions of dollars of output, and almost certainly cost American lives.
The point is, Biden’s record-low presidential favorability ratings are a result not just of the bad decisions Biden himself has made, but also of the quality of the advice he gets from key advisers.
Based on the July I&I/TIPP Poll, the quality of that advice is very low indeed and appears to be a major contributor to the Biden presidency’s steep plunge in the polls.
Each month, I&I/TIPP publishes polling data on this topic and others of broad public interest. TIPP’s reputation for excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.
Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.read more