Tracking Biden: Year One

This week marks one year since Former Vice President Joe Biden was inaugurated as the President of the United States. His presidency began at a time like no other, with a nation scarred by a controversial election, violent attempted coup, and an economic and health crisis that seems to show no end. Biden made many promises to a desperate America at the beginning of his presidency, but has he kept them?

In the first month of his presidency, according to an advisor, President Biden hoped that the United States would “reach a semblance of normalcy by Christmas 2021.” A year later, we are experiencing record-breaking daily cases, averaging around 800,000 a day, due to the rise of the highly contagious omicron variant. The US is now sitting at 71,925,931 total cases, which is equal to almost 22% of the US population having had COVID at some point. Although the pandemic hasn’t subsided, Biden’s administration has reached goals that they hoped would help quell the pandemic. One of these goals was to administer 100 million vaccines within his first 100 days. This goal was accomplished within the second month of the Biden presidency, and the number of vaccines administered now stands at 526 million doses, fully vaccinating 62.9% of the US population. The administration is also providing four free rapid COVID-19 tests per household and 400 million N95 masks available to the public at no cost.

Environmental action was a large part of Biden’s platform, calling climate change “the existential threat to humanity” during his campaign. In his first week, Biden rescinded the Keystone XL Pipeline’s permit, rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, signed bills protecting the Arctic National Reserve in Alaska, and embraced the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which aims to reduce ozone-destroying hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in aerosol products. One significant environmental promise that the Biden Administration broke was banning new oil and gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters. In the last year, the Biden Administration approved 3,557 permits for drilling on public lands, stomping the Trump Administration’s 2,658 in Trump’s first year as president. 

One great improvement is the current low unemployment rate of 3.9%, which is the lowest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. The largest issue with unemployment currently is that many Americans are growing tired of minimum wage jobs and climbing up the ranks to higher-paying jobs, leaving retail stores and restaurants with worker shortages, as explained by economists and President Biden. Democrats have tried to solve this issue multiple times by raising the federal minimum wage, but have been filibustered each time. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 and hasn’t increased since 2009

Rising inflation is another issue, which reached 7% in December; the largest 12-month gain since 1982. Among most things, gas prices have soared, with the national average for regular gas being $3.33, and $3.26 in Wake County. Economists attribute this monumental rise in inflation to supply chain breakdowns, labor shortages, and a sudden burst of spending after lockdown. 

Many of Biden’s supporters believe that one of the biggest letdowns of his administration so far is their inability to use the Democratic majority in the House and the Senate to their advantage. Most notoriously, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have continuously blocked key partisan bills, including the Build Back Better package and the original American Jobs Plan, where the two have forced Democrats to completely abandon or water down their bills in order to get them passed. The two also oppose voting rights legislation that has been a key issue in the Democratic party since the last election and the issues that followed it. 

President Biden is at his lowest approval rating at 41.9% and a disapproval rating of 53.5%, according to FiveThirtyEight. He began his presidency with a 53.0% approval rating and a 36.0% disapproval rating. His highest approval rating in the last year was 55.1% on March 22nd, which likely correlates with the efficiency that vaccines were being rolled out and fewer cases of COVID-19. Biden’s disapproval rating began outweighing his approval rating on August 30th, which correlates with the height of the second wave of COVID-19 in the United States. Although Trump had a lower all-time low, Biden’s approval rating has dropped by 11.1% since his inauguration, while Trump’s only dropped by 6.6% in his first year.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic.
President Biden’s approval/disapproval ratings throughout his first year.

After one year of his presidency, it is clear that many Americans are getting tired of the Biden Administration and the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation. Now that the Biden Administration has completed a fourth of their term, will they learn from their mistakes and get back on the same course that they were on at the beginning of Biden’s presidency? Only time will tell.

Curious about how Biden’s image looks now, compared to his first 100 days in office? Read this Eagle’s Eye article from last year to take a look into the past!