President Joe Biden had a very quick response to recent public opinion polls that show his popularity waning among voters who identify as politically independent.
“I don’t believe the polls,” he said during his first press conference of the year.
Biden was answering a McClatchy reporter’s question about how he plans to win back moderates and independents who voted for him in 2020 but who aren’t happy with the way he’s currently performing.
National exit polls showed that Biden beat then-President Donald Trump 54% to 41% among independent voters in the 2020 election, but that support for him has declined since he took office — particularly among political independents.
"I don't believe the polls," Biden when asked by @fran_chambers what he plans to do to win over moderates/independents who voted for him in 2020, but have shown declining support in polling.
— Laura Figueroa Hernandez (@Laura_Figueroa) January 19, 2022
According to Gallup, one-third of independent voters currently approve of Biden, compared to 61% when he first took office. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 57% of self-described independents said they disapproved of Biden in September.
More independents approved of Biden than disapproved last summer, but the numbers appeared to change after the president withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan. While 76% of self-described independents reported supporting the withdrawal from Afghanistan, 55% disapproved of Biden’s execution of the plan, according to the Post-ABC poll.
The president’s sharp dip in support from independent voters has contributed to his overall popularity rating decline, which, among several public opinion polls, currently averages in the low 40s.
While Biden made sure to praise his administration’s COVID-19 relief package, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, economic growth and declining unemployment, many Americans are paying attention to the White House’s struggle to control the pandemic amid another wave, as well as the lack of progress in Congress on several issues the president campaigned on.
“One of the things that I do think that has been made clear to me, speaking of polling, is the public doesn’t want me to be the president senator. They want me to be the president, and let senators be senators,” he said.
“And so I’ve made many mistakes I’m sure — if I’ve made a mistake, I’m used to negotiating to get things done, and I’ve been, in the past, relatively successful while I was in the United States Senate, even as vice president. But I think that role as president is a different role.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.