MSNBC anchor asks why Biden is not receiving a 'Zelenskyy bounce' for his 'popular policies' in the polls

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One MSNBC anchor wondered on Tuesday why President Biden’s “popular” stance on Russia’s invasion into Ukraine isn’t helping with his historic low poll numbers.

During MSNBC’s “MTP Daily” guest host Garrett Haake discussed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s plan to address Congress virtually on Wednesday. While Zelenskyy received positive coverage and approval ratings across party lines for his response to Russia’s invasion, the same has not been true for Biden.


In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Facebook early Saturday, March 12, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“President Biden’s not getting a Zelenskyy bounce. And when you look at the polling, it’s kind of fascinating,” Haake said. 

The MSNBC host noted that while Biden’s policies are “popular,” the president has repeatedly received low approval ratings.

“Why doesn’t Joe Biden get credit for doing the popular things Joe Biden does?” Haake asked the panel.

MSNBC contributor Maria Teresa Kumar agreed, noting that Biden similarly did not get a boost in polls after the passing of the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in November. However, she argued that Biden’s issues primarily lie in communicating to the American people.

“And if Biden can go head and center and start talking about the why and at the same time go into the place – and I think we discussed this last time – go into communities where the Republicans vetoed, decided not to vote for the infrastructure bill, and actually go in there and say, ‘This ribbon cutting is because I, the President of the United States, is bringing jobs back [sic],’” Kumar said.

President Joe Biden speaks at the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

She also complimented Biden’s plan to travel to the NATO summit on March 24 to address the Russian invasion, claiming that it will “demonstrate once again that America is back, that leadership is back, and that you can trust our word.”

PBS Newshour correspondent Geoff Bennett remarked media interest has likely influenced public opinion by avoiding positive coverage of the president.

“[T]he White House also, I think, blames those of us in the media, present company excluded, for shifting the goalposts. That for a year the question was, can this administration get its arms around and wrestle down this 100-year pandemic? And now that the pandemic is shifting, God willing, to an endemic, the question is all about inflation and gas prices,” Bennett said.

He also added, “I might sound a little Pollyanna-ish, but sometimes presidential leadership is its own reward. The history books might reward President Biden’s leadership here in ways that voters may not come November and beyond.”


President Biden announces a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

While some polls suggested a small bounce for Biden following his State of the Union address, the president has consistently received approval ratings in the low to mid 40s. Although most Americans approved of Biden’s choice to ban Russian oil imports as a response to the invasion, another majority disapproved of Biden’s handling of the economy and inflation.

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