Joe Biden Loses Ground With Independents as Approval Rating Drops Amid Afghanistan Debacle

Joe Biden's approval rating has sunk below 50 percent for the first time in his presidency as he loses ground among independent voters.

Biden's approval averages at both FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics, two polling data aggregators, fell just below 50 percent this week.

A new Reuters poll conducted Monday found Biden's approval rating dipped to 46 percent nationally, a seven-point decrease from just last Friday when the president enjoyed a 53 percent approval rating.

Behind Biden's sliding approval numbers are independent voters, noted FiveThirtyEight's Geoffrey Skelley.

The latest YouGov/The Economist survey found 48 percent of independent voters disapproved of Biden—an increase of 4 percentage points from earlier this month, when 44 percent of independent voters disapproved of how he was handling his job as commander-in-chief.

In early August, Morning Consult also found Biden's popularity among independent voters was falling. The pollster found Biden's net approval rating had dropped 18 percentage points among unaffiliated voters since April.

Biden's approval rating hit its lowest level yet amid the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. The militant group's lightning-fast seizure of the U.S.-backed government coincided with the withdrawal of American troops.

The president has defended his decision to remove U.S. combat forces from the region, stating Monday that the chaos unfolding is "gut-wrenching" but blamed the Afghan army's unwillingness to fight.

"I stand squarely behind my decision," Biden said in a speech delivered at the White House. "After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces."

Joe Biden Loses Ground with Independents
President Joe Biden is losing ground among independent voters, recent polling has shown. In this photo, Biden pauses while giving remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House August 16, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The president noted that the decades-long war cost the U.S. nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer money and thousands of American lives.

The Taliban officially took control of the capital, Kabul, on Sunday after entering the presidential palace. Images from the city's Hamid Karzai International Airport showed hundreds of Afghans trying to flee the country.

The Reuters poll found a majority of Americans, 61 percent, still support completing the withdrawal of American troops on schedule. Biden had previously set a deadline of August 31 to remove combat forces from Afghanistan.

Most people surveyed, 68 percent, also agreed with the statement that the war in Afghanistan was going to end badly no matter when the U.S. military left.

But Biden was rated worse than the other three presidents who presided over the United States' longest war. Just 44 percent of respondents said the current administration has done a good job presiding over the war. Forty-seven percent thought the Bush administration did a good job, while 51 percent thought the Obama and Trump administrations did a good job.