Biden's Job Approval Is 43 Percent, Here's Where Pollsters Say It Needs to Be for Midterms

President Joe Biden's approval rating has taken a significant dip in his first year in office, a concern for a party aiming to hold onto control of Congress in next year's elections.

Biden entered the White House with a 57 percent approval rating, but the final Gallup poll of the year showed that approval had fallen to 43 percent.

As of December 31, a FiveThirtyEight compilation of polling data showed Biden's average approval rating to be 43.3 percent while 51.6 percent disapproved of the job he's doing as commander-in-chief.

The nosedive is not ideal for the Democratic Party, as historical precedent is on the Republican Party's side. Midterm elections tend to be a referendum on the party in charge, and the 2021 races already resulted in a red wave in Virginia and other areas across the country.

So where does the president need to be by November to give Democrats a helping hand in November?

"Getting his job rating closer to 50, high 40s is really where you would like to be," Jeff Horwitt, a Democratic pollster from Hart Research Associates who conducts the NBC News survey, told Newsweek.

Biden's Approval Rating Should Increase 2022: Pollsters
President Joe Biden needs to bolster his approval rating ahead of next year's midterm elections, pollsters said. In this photo, Biden addresses graduates of South Carolina State University during their commencement ceremony on December 17, 2021. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Douglas Herman, a Democratic consultant who was the lead mail strategist for former President Barack Obama's campaigns, previously told Newsweek that Biden getting his approval rating up by five or six points should make the party more competitive next fall.

But Lee Miringoff, the longtime director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said there may be no "magic number" for Biden and the Democrats.

"I think it has more to do with messaging," Miringoff told Newsweek. "The Democrats, and especially Biden, are going to have to come up with a way of framing this so that prior patterns don't hold."

One problem, according to Miringoff, is that the party hasn't been proactive enough in promoting successes and was sideswiped on the discussion about Build Back Better—a central piece of Biden's domestic agenda.

The sweeping, $1.7 trillion social spending package appeared dead this month after West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin made headlines for stating he couldn't support the legislation. Party leaders have pledged to put the legislation up for a vote in the new year despite Senator Manchin's opposition, but it's unclear if it'll pass.

The Build Back Better roadblock, along with ongoing crises like Omicron and rising prices, has plagued the end of Biden's first year despite early wins with the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

"He's not controlling his message, and that's a real political problem," Miringoff said of Biden.

One potential bright spot for the administration, according to Horwitt, is to highlight the contrast between Biden and Donald Trump. The former president has remained an influential figure in the Republican Party and has endorsed more than 50 candidates at the state and local level ahead of the midterm elections.

The NBC pollster pointed to a January survey that found among Biden voters, the single most important reason to vote for him was to make sure that Trump didn't continue as president.

"The contrast between the last four years and what's happened this year, I think that's really important to take into consideration as well as just the president's job rating," Horwitt said.

Polling averages show Democrats and Republicans in nearly a dead heat among voters. According to FiveThirtyEight, 42.8 percent of Americans say they would support Republican candidates on a generic congressional ballot compared with 42 percent who would back Democrats.