Nathan Gonzales has an interesting observation in Roll Call. Presidents generally lose ground in public support during first midterm election years and they never become more popular. That is until Joe Biden.
Gonzales looks back 70 years to Harry Truman and finds the pattern is consistent. The only marginal exception is Donald Trump in 2018. But that’s largely because he started off at 39% and was at 40% by election day. Biden was a great exemplar of this pattern until about seven weeks ago. He started the year weak, treaded water until the spring and then saw his numbers drop consistently. Then about seven weeks ago he started an upward trend which now has him at about 43% support.
Needless to say these are not great numbers. They’re a bit below Barack Obama’s at his first midterm, a bit over Trump’s at the same period. Both had big midterm losses. But the upward trend this late in the cycle is basically unprecedented.