Reports are surfacing suggesting that there is underlying tension amongst the White House staff due to the increasingly critical spotlight the normally supportive mainstream media is casting on President Joe Biden’s sinking approval rating. This phenomenon is drawing attention as the upcoming 2024 election cycle is revving up. Over the majority of the previous year, Biden’s ratings continue to slip. Interestingly, more and more polls suggest that former President Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate by a significant gap, is on a smooth journey to once again claim the Republican nomination. This information comes courtesy of news outlet, The Hill.
An anonymous source close to Biden expressed their dissatisfaction with the biased media attention which persistently focuses on the polling results showcasing Biden’s downward trend while disregarding those that paint him in a victorious light. Trump, on the other hand, has prophesied a collapse of the U.S. economy under Biden, countering which, White House officials assert that inflation is under control, stock market figures are promising, and unemployment rates are near historical lows.
The Consumer Price Index, which studies a selection of common goods, has indeed been experiencing a decline since the engulfing pandemic. Despite these encouraging economic indicators, The Hill points out that the media coverage of this positive economic climate is insufficient. This in turn impacts the polling outcomes since public opinion is heavily influenced by media headlines.
A high-ranking Biden official remarked on the frustrating lack of media coverage. The sentiment was echoed by a Biden ally who shared that in light of this overwhelming ‘deep frustration’, strategic meetings have been called to assess the situation. They clarify, however, that these meetings do not suggest panic over the President’s prospective standing.
These gatherings involve deliberations on how best to spread the message about President Biden’s age and achievements. Serious concerns are being raised that the communication of Biden’s accomplishments have not been persuasive or recurring enough to resonate with the public. The challenge, therefore, is crafting a message that is both potent and penetrative.
However, despite the government’s optimistic economic projections, according to many polls, a noticeable share of Americans continues to struggle financially. In fact, a recent survey may provide further fuel to the Republicans as they strategize their political maneuvers against Biden and the Democrats leading up to the 2024 elections.
Remarkably, the November 2023 PYMNTS and LendingClub survey found that 62% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and around 60% of the country’s credit card holders are among this group. The research went on to disclose that an astonishing 80% of these individuals possess at least two credit cards.
The study went on to add an even more worrying statistic: cardholders living paycheck to paycheck are twice as likely to carry forward a credit card balance month-to-month than those who do not. Almost a third admitted that they have maxed out their credit card limit of on average $9,200, at least a few times within the past year.
In an alarming trend, U.S. consumers have amassed an additional $48 billion in credit card debts during the third quarter of 2023, increasing the total outstanding amount to a staggering $1.08 trillion. This outstanding amount was revealed by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York through an analytical report regarding household debt.
Campaigning his ‘Bidenomics’ approach, the President is steadfast in his belief that his implemented policies have significantly improved the living standards of US citizens. However, what the public tells the pollsters narrates a different story. Many survey respondents stated that it was Biden’s policies that pushed them to reduce their Christmas spendings. Furthermore, in multiple cases, individuals reported having to work extra hours or take on additional jobs just to afford celebrating the holiday season.
Aided by the Empower’s 2023 holiday spending report, it was uncovered that a whopping majority of 74 percent of respondents – 1,000 people conducted in the survey – agreed that inflation caused them to be more frugal during the holiday season. Remarkably, 31 percent of them stated they had to work additional hours so as to afford holiday expenses.
Empower’s study uncovered further details regarding Americans’ spending habits, with over a third of respondents (34%) electing to make savings this year by reducing their budget allocation. Another prominent change in spending behavior amongst respondents included reducing expenditure on non-essential items such as dining out or buying gifts so as to stay within their budget.
According to Empower representative Courtney Burrell, the survey gives a glimpse into the current financial situation of most Americans. Budget reductions, compromise on quality of life, and an increase in work hours are the measures employed by many to survive in today’s economy. Faced with such high inflation rates, they are forced to cut back on non-essential expenses to make ends meet.
While there are people criticizing the media for being biased, there are others who feel that their life situations are not improving regardless of the economic indications. The mainstream narrative focusing on Biden’s slipping ratings indicates a negative perception of the Biden administration’s efforts at managing the country’s economy.
For Biden, tackling these ongoing struggles goes beyond mass media manipulation. Efforts must be ramped up to restore confidence in his policy-making and economic management. American households that are feeling the financial squeeze from inflation and rising costs deserve attention, and the President must strive to deliver on that.
Ultimately, regardless of spin and media narratives, substantive changes on the ground reflecting in people’s wallets will be instrumental in swaying public opinion. The high number of citizens living paycheck-to-paycheck, increased credit card debt, and the struggle to make ends meet all paint a different picture from the government’s take on the country’s economy. This signifies an urgent calling for more effective and impactful economic reforms.