US drugmakers
US President Joe Biden AFP

A sizable amount of the population believes that President Joe Biden is mishandling the surge of migration at the U.S. southern border, citing this as the main reason why they disapprove of his work, according to a new poll by Gallup.

In fact, it's the issue that was cited the most among those who said they disapprove of him in the poll, with almost 20% of respondents. Economy-related issues followed suit, with 9% citing his handling of the economy and 5% mentioning inflation. Moreover, 4% cited foreign affairs in general as the main reason and 3% the Israeli-Palestinian conflict specifically.

Immigration and border security are already playing a dominant role in the political conversation and the presidential campaign leading to November's elections.

Among the main issues taking over the agenda: House republicans impeached Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, over what they say is the mishandling of the border situation; Republican lawmakers blocked a billion-dollar border security package after months of negotiations, a move criticized by Democrats arguing it was done for political purposes; Biden is considering taking executive action to stem the flow of migrants, accusing Trump of playing politics by having his allies in Congress block legislative action; and Trump reportedly looking at a range of tools that include "obscure laws, military funds and law enforcement officers from all levels of government" to crack down on immigration if elected.

Overall, Gallup said, "41% of Americans approved -- a record low for an incumbent president at this stage of his presidency -- while 54% disapproved."

The survey
Reasons given by those who disapprove of Biden Gallup

The report clarifies that the survey was conducted before the special counsel last week released a report over Biden's handling of classified documents found at his house in 2022, saying that its description as "someone with diminished mental capacity could negatively influence the way people evaluate Biden going forward."

There are already some who mentioned a personal trait when describing why they are unsatisfied with Biden's work, with 5% saying he's "incompetent," 4% saying he's in poor health or mentally unfit, and 4% saying he's too old.

Most of those who disapprove of Biden are either Republicans or independents. And their assessments vary, the survey shows. "Republicans are more likely than independents to cite immigration policy (26% vs. 14%, respectively)," while "independent disapprovers appear a bit more focused on the economy and inflation (18% mention either of these) than Republican disapprovers (11%)."

In contrast, those who do approve of Biden's job cite his overall handling of the presidency. The economy, the labor market and actions on immigration and education are among the reasons given.

"Biden backers are largely composed of Democrats and political independents. The two groups' stated reasons for why they approve are similar, except that Democrats are more likely than independents to cite Biden's policies or the improving economy as the reason for their view," the report added.

When compared to other Presidents at this stage of their tenure, the poll shows that "Americans are more likely to cite specific policy reasons for their approval of Biden than they were for his three predecessors, which likely reflects the longer time he's had in office to implement policies."

In contrast, "Biden is the least likely of the four presidents to be praised for his personal traits or style, with the 11% citing these about him contrasting with 24% for Trump, 19% for Bush and 16% for Obama."

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