Voters care about Joe Biden’s unpopularity, not Donald Trump

Democrats had hoped that former President Donald Trump could serve as a boogeyman. They wanted his continuing unpopularity to serve as a call to action to Democrats, even as President Joe Biden himself is unpopular.

Tuesday night should serve as a warning that such a strategy doesn’t look like it’ll work in elections to come. Biden, not Trump, is the President now, and how voters feel about him is paramount.

You can see this well in the Virginia exit polls. There, Biden had a 45% approval rating to 54% disapproval rating. This mirrors his 43% approval rating nationally.

Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin won those who disapproved of Biden by a 91%-to-9% margin. This is similar to how voters who disapproved of a president’s performance have acted in the past in Virginia. In 2017, Democrat Ralph Norham won among those who disapproved of Trump’s job by an 87%-to-11% margin.

And even in California this year (where far more voters approved of Biden), those who disapproved were in favor of recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom by an 88%-to-12% margin.

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