Politics Props: Will Joe Biden’s Approval Rating Top 54.5 on February 24?

By | February 17, 2021

Donald Trump made no shortage of headlines over the course of his four-year term in the White House. Though he has now been a private citizen for nearly a month now, the former president is still getting plenty of news coverage.

That must feel weird to Joe Biden, Trump’s successor in office. President Biden has been at the helm for 28 days, and he has spent most of that time attempting to undo various policies put in place by his predecessor. Biden has signed 30 executive orders in less than a month, which is quite the pace. Trump, for example, signed 220 executive orders while in office, including 55 in his first year (2017).

Most of Biden’s actions thus far have undone some of the things Trump installed. He has attempted to deliver on a number of things he promised he’d do during the election, including signing the US back into the Paris climate accord and lifting Trump’s transgender military ban. We’ll see what unique policy ideas Biden brings to the table as his first year moves forward.

Political betting sites may not have quite as many interesting Biden-related prop bets available as they had while Trump was doing the job. Trump’s four years were marked by all sorts of chaos and palace intrigue. That presented all sorts of crazy prop betting opportunities. Biden, on the flip side, seems intent on making the presidency less of a circus.

There is at least one way you can bet on Biden’s early days in the White House, however. Some political betting sites are offering an over/under prop on Biden’s approval rating once he hits his 35th day in office. Biden’s 35th day as president will come on Thursday, February 24.

How Popular Was Donald Trump?

FiveThirtyEight has made a habit of keeping track of presidential approval ratings over the years. It may sound strange now, but Trump’s approval rating was actually higher than his disapproval rating early in his term. On his fourth day in office, FiveThirtyEight reported Trump’s approval rating was at 45.5, which was slightly higher than his disapproval mark of 41.3.

It Didn’t Take Long for That to Change

In fact, Trump’s disapproval rating moved past his approval rating on the 15th day of his presidency and didn’t look back. Per FiveThirtyEight’s numbers, Trump’s approval rating was never again higher than his disapproval rating at any point during his term.

Trump’s approval rating peaked at 45.8 percent back on March 27 of last year. That was just as the pandemic was beginning to settle into the US. Of course, his disapproval rating (49.7) was still higher, even with his approval at its peak.

Trump actually left office with his highest disapproval rating ever (57.9), just weeks after the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol. You can see in the chart below that Trump’s approval rating plunged in the time between the November election and his departure.
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Trump received 74.2 million votes in his re-election bid, but he still lost by more than seven million votes to Biden (81.2 million) last fall.

Biden’s Approval Over/Under

  • Over 54.5 (-120)
  • Under 54.5 (-120)

Trump was in a decent place to start his presidency, but he spent the vast majority of his time in the Oval Office underwater from a popularity perspective. He was nearly able to overcome that to secure another narrow win in the general election, but he was ultimately defeated.

Biden earned more votes than any presidential candidate in history, so perhaps it’s no surprise that he has started his term with impressive approval numbers. FiveThirtyEight started tracking Biden’s approval on his fourth day when he was at 53 percent approval with 36 percent disapproval. The numbers haven’t moved much from there. As of this writing, he’s at 54.8 percent approval alongside 37.7 percent disapproval.
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Trump never sniffed 50 percent approval at any point during his presidency, so Biden is off to a favorable start. His approval numbers are historically good, though. Biden received 57 percent approval in a recent Gallup poll, which gave him the highest approval rating this early in a term of any president in the last 40 years other than Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Biden’s approval is better than that of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush (51) at this point during their first terms, respectively. Biden is on par with George W. Bush and a point south of Clinton (58). Obama had easily the highest Gallup approval of any president at this point (68 percent).

Partisanship Remains

Biden pledged to try and “restore the soul of America” during his campaign. Since taking office, he has repeated his calls for national unity as the nation deals with a number of different crises. While he has said that he hopes the government can work in a bipartisan fashion while he’s in office, a deeper dive into the approval numbers shows that the country is still as divided as ever.

91 percent of Democrats polled have approved of the job Biden has done thus far. Meanwhile, 83 percent of Republicans approved of Trump at this point four years ago. However, just 18 percent of Republicans approve of Biden right now, along with 71 percent disapproval.

The first major hurdle Biden will face as president will be pandemic relief. The president has pitched a $1.9 trillion relief package that would include sending $1,400 (or $2,000) checks to millions of Americans. In a development that should surprise nobody, the majority of Americans approve of receiving free money. Biden’s relief plan has the approval of nearly 70 percent of the voting public.

While Biden would surely love to get Congressional Republicans on board with his efforts, it seems as though Democrats will have to go it alone. The bill will likely pass through the House of Republicans next week. All 50 Democratic Senators would then need to vote in favor of the measure in order for the legislation to get all the way back to Biden’s desk. That’s because no Republican Senators have indicated that they plan to vote for the bill.

The Bill Is Likely to Pass, Which Means Americans Will Get More Relief Pretty Soon

That will presumably help Biden’s approval numbers, as the economy needs all the help it can possibly get. With the continued rollout of the vaccines and the potential for the country to return to “normal” at some point relatively soon, Biden’s approval numbers only stand to improve.

What’s the Best Bet?

Assuming Congress is able to pass Biden’s relief plan relatively soon, Biden’s approval should rise. Trump’s approval rose after the initial pandemic relief package passed last summer. While it ultimately wasn’t enough to help him win re-election, financial relief is an easy way for the administration to boost approval and earn some early support from the general public.

All Biden has to do between now and February 24 is avoid getting bogged down in some sort of scandal. If he’s able to make it through the next week without drumming up too many negative headlines, the “over” on 54.5 looks like easy money. He’s already north of the 54.5 mark without having had to do a whole lot. I’d expect the approval rating to continue its northward trend, especially once Americans start to receive those aforementioned checks.

Bet the over here.

What’s the Best Bet? –Over 54.5 (-120)

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