Over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris was confronted with her unpopularity and the unpopularity of President Joe Biden in an interview that aired for Sunday’s edition of “60 Minutes.”
“A recent CBS poll found that at the beginning of President Biden’s term, 70 percent of young people, people under 30, said he was doin’ a good job. Now it’s less than 50 percent. Why is that? What’s going on?” interview Bill Whitaker asked.
The vice president’s response didn’t directly address the question, and it didn’t inspire much confidence. “If you poll how young people feel about the climate, and the warming of our planet it polls as one of their top concerns. When we talk about what we are doing with student loan debt, polls very high,” she told Whitaker. “The challenge that we have as an administration is we gotta let people know who brung it to ’em,” she said with a laugh. “That’s our challenge. But it is not that the work we are doing is not very, very popular with a lot of people.” Further, Harris’ non-answer almost put her and the administration in a worse place. If young people care so much about climate change and student loan debt, and the Biden administration is supposedly so committed to these issues, why aren’t the president and vice president’s approval ratings any higher?
It’s worth reminding that Biden has been struggling with younger voters in the polls for some time, and that they came to be less than a year after he had been in office.
A CBS News write-up also noted that Harris “blames the disconnect in part on lack of media coverage. Still, the vice president herself is not very popular now. Justtold CBS News they approve of the job she’s doing, about the same for President Biden,” pointing to a CBS News/YouGov September poll. Biden was at a 40 percent approval rating, while 60 percent disapproved.
The poll’s findings also showed a waning excitement over Harris being Biden’s running mate with the president running for reelection for the 2024 presidential election. While 58 percent of respondents had been “enthusiastic” about her as a running mate in August 2020, when her name was announced, just 30 percent are today. Worse, a plurality of Democrats–48 percent–have heard “not much/nothing at all” about “Harris’ work as vice president.”
Harris has been confronted about her unpopularity–especially in context of her own–in previous interviews from other networks. In August, Harris was interviewed by ABC News’ Linsey Davis, and confronted about her low approval ratings. This came after a June poll from NBC News that showed 49 percent of voters had a negative view, while just 32 percent had a positive view, making her the least vice president in the poll’s history since they began asking that question.
While the vice president claimed during the interview that “there are polls that also say I have great approval ratings,” there have been no such polls, including when it comes to more recent ones. The “best” poll as of late for Harris comes from Harvard CAPS-Harris and was conducted earlier this month, showing her with a 44 percent favorable rating, while her unfavorable rating was at 47 percent, for a spread of “only” -3.
Other concerns with the president were also brought up during this “60 Minutes” interview, especially when it comes to speculation that Biden might not be the Democratic nominee for 2024 after all. Such a concern especially has to do with the president’s age, with fellow Democrats sharing such a concern, as multiple polls show. In fact, that CBS News poll found that just 34 percent of respondents think that Biden will finish out a second term.
As Whitaker pointed out to Harris, donors have said “that they would not naturally fall into line” to support her as the nominee if it was not Biden. When Harris was asked “why is that,” she once again provided another non-answer, as from the start she insisted “I’m not gonna engage in that hypothetical ’cause Joe Biden is very much alive and running for reelection.”
Whitaker pushed back, though, to point out it was “a legitimate concern,” with Harris continuing to insist Biden will be the nominee. “I hear from a lot of different people a lot of different things. But let me just tell you, I’m focused on the job. I truly am. Our democracy is on the line, Bill. And I frankly, in my head, do not have time for parlor games, when we have a president who is running for reelection. That’s it,” she said, reminding that that’s “Joe Biden.”