According to polls, Kamala Harris is now the least popular US vice president after six months of an administration that began in the 1970s.
Alarming Democrat strategists are dealing with the Vice President’s woeful poll numbers that show she is “underwater”, meaning that more Americans disapprove than approve of her job performance.
The White House plans to send her to certain areas in order to promote her campaign for next year’s midterm Congressional election. It will also try to increase her visibility by sending her to foreign countries in the months ahead.
The disappointing first months of her term have also worried long-term strategists, many of whom had hoped she would run for president as early as the next elections.
Recent polls showed 46 per cent of Americans approved of Ms Harris, with 47 per cent and 48 per cent disapproving.
By contrast Joe Biden’s approval rating in an average of polls is 51.3 per cent, and disapproval is 44.9 per cent. One of the most concerning elements for the White House is Ms Harris’s unpopularity among young people.
A YouGov/Economist poll revealed that 41% of 18-29-year-old voters had a negative view of Ms Harris. Only 36% viewed her as “favourable”. Hispanic voters are also having a hard time with Ms Harris, possibly because of her leadership role in US border policy.
It is unlikely that she will be sent to Arizona, the border state where her campaign will take place ahead of the midterm elections. In an attempt to increase pressure on China, the White House announced Friday night that Ms Harris would be the first US vice president visiting Vietnam next month.
Professor Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said: “Biden has given her some very tough assignments – immigration and voting rights – but she hasn’t helped herself, she’s made some mistakes, like not going to the border.”
He said before Ms Harris was selected as Mr Biden’s running mate “outside of California nobody knew who the hell she was. If you know nothing about somebody it’s hard to have high favourables.”
The only way for Ms Harris to turn things around was to “take one of those two big issues Biden has given her and make it a big success.
“She has to find, her staff, Biden have to find something she can play a key role in that will transform her image and then build on that.”
He stated that the assumption that Ms Harris would be the Democrat nominee for Mr Biden – in 2024 or 2028 – was a mistake.
Prof Sabato said: “She’s not going to inherit the Democratic nomination. She might win it. But she can expect a lot of challengers.” In the polls the intensity of opposition has also been noted by White House officials.
The vast majority of the 48% who thought the vice president was “unfavorably” viewed him [40 percent] in the Economist/YouGov survey. Ms Harris has alienated some Hispanic voters by telling people from Central America “Do not come” to the US, while also infuriating conservatives and some independents by taking many weeks to physically visit the border.
A faltering performance in a high-profile TV interview with NBC in June left White House aides scrambling, and there have been numerous reports of dysfunction in her office.
The only recent vice president to have similarly poor ratings after six months was Mike Pence, but he was not “underwater”.
According to Gallup 42.1 per cent approved of Mr Pence’s performance at that point, and 41.9 percent disapproved.
After six months, Mr Biden, the previous vice president, had an approval rating of over 50 percent. Al Gore and Dick Cheney were both in their 60s at that time.
Even Dan Quayle (the much-mocked vice President of George H.W. After six months, Bush was still not underwater.
His approval rating was 43%, while his disapproval was just 22%, leaving 34% undecided.
Ronald Reagan made Bush a popular vice-president, and Walter Mondale was Jimmy Carter’s vice-president in 1976.