Joe Biden Is Breaking the Rules When It Comes to the Midterms

President Joe Biden appears to be breaking the rules when it comes to presidential approval in a midterm election year in what could be a good sign for Democrats.

Biden's approval rating is higher now than it was in January and February, according to polling from Gallup, defying the usual trend for presidents to lose popularity heading into midterms.

Analysis from Roll Call published on January 24, based on Gallup's presidential polling archive, found that no president over the past 70 years had substantially improved their approval from late January/February of a midterm year to late October/November.

That analysis also found that there had been an average drop of 8 percent in presidents' approval in midterm election years going back to President Harry S. Truman in 1950.

However, the most recent figures from Gallup suggest Biden is defying that trend and his approval rating is on course to be notably better in the coming two months than it was at the start of 2022.

Gallup found that Biden's job approval was 41 percent from February 1 to 7 and then dipped as low as 38 percent from July 5 to 26. But their most recent figures show the president had an approval rating of 44 percent from August 1 to 23.

That represents a three-point increase since January and stands in contrast to his immediate predecessors.

Former President Donald Trump had an approval rating of 40 percent from January 29 to February 4, 2018, according to Gallup. By September 3 to 9, that was still 40 percent but had fallen to 38 percent between November 5 and 11.

The 2018 midterm elections took place on November 6 of that year.

In 2010, Democrats suffered heavy defeats in the midterms, losing 63 seats in the House of Representatives.

Gallup's polling shows a sharp decline in Obama's approval rating over the course of that year. He enjoyed approval of 50 percent from February 1 to 7 but that fell to 46 percent between September 6 to 12 and was 45 percent from November 1 to 7.

Midterm elections took place on November 2, 2010.

With less than two months to go before midterms, Biden currently seems on track to break the usual rules on presidential approval. His approval has seen an upswing in recent weeks, with poll tracker FiveThirtyEight finding the president's approval was 42.5 percent as of Friday.

Biden's rising popularity is coupled with signs that this year may not be as bad for Democrats as previously expected.

Biden's party has been improving in generic ballot polling, while the University of Virginia's (UVA) Crystal Ball forecast recently moved two competitive Senate races - Pennsylvania and Arizona - from toss-ups to lean Democratic.

Nonetheless, midterms are still almost two months away and both House and Senate races remain competitive, though Republicans are currently favored to win the House.

Joe Biden Visits Johnstown, Ohio
U.S. President Joe Biden visits the groundbreaking of the new Intel semiconductor plant on September 9, 2022 in Johnstown, Ohio. Biden's approval rating has seen recent improvements. Andrew Spear/Getty Images