Biden Brings Obama Back to White House as Approval Rating Remains Dismal

Former President Barack Obama will be joining President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House on Tuesday in his first public event there since the end of his second mandate in 2017.

The event on Tuesday will celebrate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also informally known as "Obamacare," the reform of the health care system promoted by Obama which aimed at making health insurance affordable to every American.

According to a White House official, Obama will ​​"deliver remarks celebrating the success of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid in extending affordable health insurance to millions of Americans."

Biden, on his part, "will take additional action to further strengthen the ACA and save families hundreds of dollars a month on their health care," according to the same official.

The event comes at a time when Biden has very little to celebrate: inflation has surged to its worst level in a generation, and the president's popularity among Americans has remained quite low, with only 41.1 percent of people approving of Biden as of April 1, according to estimates by FiveThirtyEight.

Despite job growth remaining steady since Biden took office, food and gas prices have kept spiking, led by the impact of the pandemic on the American economy and the war in Ukraine.

In a speech at the White House on April 1, Biden told the country that the March jobs report showed unemployment levels have dropped to 3.6 percent, but said that despite the fact that the U.S. economy "has gone from being on the mend, to being on the move," "this job is not finished."

"We need to do more to get prices under control," he said.

Biden Obama Approval Rate
Biden's approval rate remains at a low of 41.1 percent as of April 1. Getty Images and Canva

In an effort to stop skyrocketing fuel costs, Biden has ordered an unprecedented release of oil from America's reserves: 180 million barrels of oil will be released over six months, at a pace of 1 million a day.

But the majority of Americans seem not to have faith in this move to solve the energy crisis, as polls show.

The impact of rising inflation can be seen in the president's popularity, which is failing to pick up despite the few successes highlighted by Biden in his speech on April 1.

According to a poll conducted in March by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, seven in ten people in the country describe the economy as being in poor shape, and nearly two-thirds disapprove of Biden's economic leadership.

Biden promised to tame rising inflation during his State of the Union speech in early March and defend American families from skyrocketing prices.

But confidence in the president's handling of the domestic challenges facing Americans has steadily declined since 2021, reaching a record low of 40 percent in support in March. Support for the president has been below 40 percent since August 2021, when COVID-19 deaths were rising with the spread of the Delta variant and the country made a chaotic exit from Afghanistan.

Such a low rating is not unprecedented: former President Donald Trump also received a 40 percent approval rate in his second year in office. In December 2017, Trump's approval rate stood at 33 percent.

According to the latest polls, 53.1 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden's performance. The number is slightly higher than a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted between March 28 and 29, which found that 52 percent of respondents were unhappy about Biden's performance in office. According to the same survey, 42 percent of respondents approved of Biden's performance while 8 percent weren't sure.

Asked about the most important issues concerning them, respondents to the Reuters/Ipsos survey said the economy was on top of their worries (25 percent), followed by war (11 percent) and health care (8 percent).

When Biden took office in January 2021, his approval rate stood at 57 percent—his highest job approval to date.

Joe Biden March jobs report
President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks on the jobs report for the month of March from the State Dining Room of the White House on April 1, in Washington, D.C. The U.S. economy gained an additional 431,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images