On one level, the story of President Biden’s first year is a simple one: Americans feel worse about the pandemic and economy than they did earlier in his term, and his ratings have suffered for it. On another level, it’s a little more nuanced: they do not exclusively blame his policies, but they do demand more attention to inflation just the same; there are many reasons the pandemic is seen as bad, but confusing information stands out as a factor that is hurting views of his handling of it.
The story of his first year evokes emotions too: although most like Mr. Biden personally, words like “frustrated” and “disappointed” top people’s descriptions of things, along with the feeling that he’s “distracted” and not focusing on what they care about.
“Focus” is a running theme in this story. Majorities say he isn’t paying enough attention to either the economy or inflation — together, their top issues — not just that he isn’t handling them well. Few think Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats are focused on the right things overall, either. Even within his own party, it’s inflation where his fellow Democrats give him their lowest marks, compared to other issues.