NBC Now BURIES Bad Poll Signaling ‘Forever Stain’ on Biden Presidency


Despite Chuck Todd warning on Sunday’s Meet the Press that President Biden’s falling poll numbers amid the disaster in Afghanistan could signal a “forever stain” on his presidency, that evening’s Nightly News and Monday’s Today show completely ignored the negative findings in the network’s latest survey. While both broadcasts continued covering the Afghanistan debacle, reporters weren’t interested in talking about the American people giving Biden failing marks on his woeful mishandling of the crisis.

“Look, politicians from both parties and four administrations have their fingerprints on America’s 20-year Afghanistan policy, but it is now President Biden who has become the face of this disastrous withdrawal,” Todd announced early on Meet the Press as he introduced NBC’s new poll showing bad news for the White House. The host revealed: “Among all adults, Mr. Biden’s approval rating stands at a fairly mediocre 49%, 48% disapproving….not surprisingly, approval of Mr. Biden’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan, as we’re watching all of this, is extremely low, just 25%.”

 

 

Seeming to try to reassure the administration, Todd argued that it was Biden’s incompetence on other issues beyond Afghanistan that were the real drivers of his polling plunge:

But the President’s overall slippage is less about Afghanistan than about two other issues. Approval of his handling of the coronavirus is down a whopping 16 points – just 53% approve now, from 69% in April. And approval of his handling of the economy is standing at 47% – that’s upside down now because it was at 52.

Still, Todd direly concluded: “But let’s be honest, with headlines like this one in The Economist [image of cover on screen: “Biden’s Debacle”], the human tragedy at the end of this forever war is threatening to be a forever stain on Mr. Biden’s presidency.”

One would think that such a declaration would grab the attention of Todd’s NBC colleagues and guarantee that Biden’s sinking poll numbers would receive continued network coverage. Instead, just hours later, Sunday’s Nightly News found no time to even mention the President’s growing unpopularity. Despite having a full two hours, Monday’s Today show also lacked a single second on the poll – though it did manage to offer nearly three minutes on the ongoing search for a new Jeopardy host.

Here is a transcript of Todd’s August 22 coverage of the polling on Meet the Press:

10:31 AM ET

CHUCK TODD: Plus, our new NBC News poll. New numbers on President Biden’s approval rating, his handling of COVID, the economy in a deeply divided country.

(…)

10:34 AM ET

TODD: Look, politicians from both parties and four administrations have their fingerprints on America’s 20-year Afghanistan policy, but it is now President Biden who has become the face of this disastrous withdrawal. We have a new NBC News poll taken as Americans were witnessing this chaos in Kabul. Among all adults, Mr. Biden’s approval rating stands at a fairly mediocre 49%, 48% disapproving. In our polarized politics, that isn’t the end of the world, but if you compare that to last April, when the numbers were 53% approve, 39% disapprove, you start to see some erosion.

Now, not surprisingly, approval of Mr. Biden’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan, as we’re watching all of this, is extremely low, just 25%. But the President’s overall slippage is less about Afghanistan than about two other issues. Approval of his handling of the coronavirus is down a whopping 16 points – just 53% approve now, from 69% in April. And approval of his handling of the economy is standing at 47% – that’s upside down now because it was at 52. Mr. Biden has weeks to set things right in Afghanistan, and more than three years until the next presidential election. But let’s be honest, with headlines like this one in The Economist [image of cover on screen: “Biden’s Debacle”], the human tragedy at the end of this forever war is threatening to be a forever stain on Mr. Biden’s presidency.           

(…)

11:18 AM ET

TODD: Welcome back, Data Download time. I want to dig in a little bit more into our poll to show you just how divided we are as a country, and you’ll see how polarized we are by party.

First, we’ll look at the President’s job approval rating. I showed you, it’s sort of this middling 49, 48. Well, look at it by party, 88% of Democrats approve, 88% of Republicans disapprove. Polarized result. Well, guess what? It’s the same almost across the board whether we’re talking about Biden’s handling of the economy, basically an even split there: 47, 49. Very much partisan; doesn’t budge on this one. His personal rating: 43, 44. Again, the big overly positive Democrats, overly negative Republicans. And go down the line, even the idea of a vaccine requirement in this country splits along very polarized lines: 48% favor, 50% oppose. Congressional preference, who do you want to control Congress, starting to look familiar: 47 Democrat, 46 Republican. Again, very polarizing.

There’s one small group of voters that make the polls move and I want to show you who they are. They’re hardcore independents. This is less than 15% of our sample. They’re the only people that seem to be moved by events. President Biden’s job approval, in April, among independents, 61, now 46. On the economy, it dropped 15 points. On handling of COVID, it dropped a whopping 30 points. On congressional preference, you saw a swing of 15 points. The point is, these are the only voters in America that are actually moved by public events, what’s happening in the administration. This group of independents, that’s who’s going to decide who’s in charge of our politics for the next couple of years.

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