Among Donald Trump's favorite lies was that he enjoyed an approval among Republican voters between 94% and 96% throughout his failed White House tenure. The boasts were never quite true, but the former president, preoccupied with the idea that only GOP voters mattered, peddled the line obsessively anyway.
Oddly enough, his successor has managed to pull off the feat Trump felt the need to lie about.
A Quinnipiac poll released yesterday, for example, showed President Joe Biden with a 94% approval rating among Democrats. A Monmouth poll released around the same time showed the president with 95% support among voters in his own party.
The New York Times reported this week that while many rank-and-file Democrats were lukewarm toward Biden during his candidacy in 2019 and 2020, the president, at least for now, is keeping his party and its many factions together.
He began his term this winter with an approval rating of 98 percent among Democrats, according to Gallup. This represents a remarkable measure of partisan consensus — outpacing even the strongest moments of Republican unity during the presidency of Mr. Trump, whose political brand depended heavily on the devotion of his G.O.P. base. And as Mr. Biden nears his 100th day in office, most public polls have consistently shown him retaining the approval of more than nine in 10 Democrats nationwide.
At a certain level, this shouldn't come as too big of a surprise. Indeed, for much of the party, the president is likely benefiting from a what's-not-to-like dynamic: Biden vanquished Trump; he's delivering on his campaign promises; he's governing effectively; he's generally advancing ideas progressives like; he doesn't spend every day trying to dominate every news cycle; and there have been no major missteps, gaffes, or controversies in the early months.
The economy is improving, and vaccines are reaching shoulders, so it stands to reason that Biden would be riding high among his own party's voters.
But I'm especially interested in the practical effects of the president's intra-party backing. Biden has already begun advancing an ambitious agenda, and if he's going to secure additional victories, he'll need to maintain robust support from the Democratic Congress.
The polling can, and likely will, help in that goal. If Biden were struggling with a 40% approval rating, and he faced widespread skepticism from voters in his own party, Democratic lawmakers would be far less likely to follow Biden's lead.
But a 95% approval rating among Democratic voters -- a feat the president does not talk about, unlike his predecessor -- coupled with strong polling support for much of his policy agenda, can only help on Capitol Hill.