Most political analysts would agree a large reason Joe Biden won the White House last year was because of centrist voters, both Republicans and Democrats, who were exhausted by the tumult of the previous administration.
In the face of a raging pandemic, political upheaval and overwhelming unemployment, Americans were looking for calm, confident and competent leadership.
Yet 10 months into Biden's presidency, his approval rating has plummeted to a new low of 38%, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll released this month.
Nearly half of those surveyed, 46%, say Biden has done a worse job as president than they expected, including 16% of those who voted for him. Independents, by 7-1 (44%-6%), say he has done worse, not better, than they expected.
Everywhere we turn, criticisms of Biden's leadership abound. Global supply chain challenges exist along with historic levels of inflation, including skyrocketing prices for gas, food and other goods. And the COVID-19 culture war about masks, vaccination mandates and travel bans continues.
While there have been wins for the Biden administration, including the signing of a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal and the lowest jobless rate level since 1969, polls show he's in a dogfight heading into his second year in office and midterm elections.
The USA TODAY Editorial Board asked expert voices from the left and right to assess Biden's performance. We selected five areas that were either key campaign themes or have played outsize roles in his presidency: Afghanistan, COVID-19, the economy, immigration and overall leadership/party unity.
It's clear that Americans are deeply divided over Biden's practices and policies – even as the White House declared last week that he intends to run for reelection. Cries of the insult "Let's go, Brandon" exist alongside those voters compelled to say, "Thank you, President Biden."
In many ways, America remains in crisis. Was Biden handed a dumpster fire set ablaze by former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party? Or did Biden and his Democratic companions help create the high gas prices and empty shelves that have angered and financially strapped voters?
Dive into this Biden package for diverse perspectives and opinions starting Monday.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: In many ways, America remains in crisis. Is President Biden to blame?