But Republican strategists and pollsters say Democrats shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss criticism, even though many Covid-related deaths this year were among those who ignored Mr Biden’s pleas to get vaccinated.
“McCarthy’s first hit on Biden is a competency hit — that he sold himself to voters as the man who can make a difference in the fight against Covid, yet more Americans are dying,” said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster who polled voters. about the problem. “The bottom line is that Republicans have always been more focused on the economic impact of the pandemic, and now we’re seeing independents and swing voters also expressing concerns about those effects: supply chain, inflation, jobs, stores not open. or have what they need.”
He added: “There is a feeling that the Biden presidency is not delivering on its promises.”
The Thanksgiving wave is the latest surprise in a nearly two-year pandemic. The 14-day average of new infections in the country is up 25 percent to more than 94,000 new cases per day, with the Midwest once again being the hottest hotspot. At the same time, the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines is holding up, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unvaccinated people are 5.8 times more likely to test positive than fully vaccinated people, and 14 times more likely to die if infected.
The partisan gap in infection and vaccination rates is narrowing only slightly. Most Republican counties have 2.78 times as many new cases than most Democratic counties, down from three times as many a month ago, according to Democratic health care analyst Charles Gaba, using data from Johns Hopkins University. The death rate in those Republican counties is nearly six times higher than the death rate in Democratic counties.
It’s unclear whether the ongoing pandemic or the vaccine mandates devised to defeat it are causing the president’s approval ratings to decline. Mr. Newhouse’s company, Public Opinion Strategies, found Mr Biden’s overall approval rating for his handling of the pandemic to be a relatively good 51 percent in October, down from 69 percent in April but only 53 percent in August.
But in the suburbs, where the 2020 presidential race was won, the president’s appreciation of the pandemic has fallen from 51 percent to 45 percent since August. And among white men, the drop is more pronounced, from 58 percent in April to 43 percent in August and 32 percent in October.
Republican lawmakers continue to try to block vaccine mandates at the local, state and federal levels. In September, a proposal by Kansas Senator Roger Marshall, a midwife, to block the use of federal funds to fulfill the president’s vaccine mandate for companies with at least 100 employees by one vote, failed after all 50 Republicans in the Senate had supported it.