Biden’s performance: Analysis from a student perspective

I’m sure you’ve probably seen the countless articles on CNN or Fox about President Joe Biden’s plummeting approval rating. Between a botched Afghanistan military withdrawal, an immigration crisis at our border and the problems with his Build Back Better agenda, it’s clear to see that our president isn’t having the greatest year. These controversies do reflect in the polls. After the election, Biden started his term with a 61% approval rating. Polling company Five Thirty-Eight now reports that Biden’s approval rating is underwater, with 51% of Americans disapproving and 43% approving of the president. A question was raised after seeing these polls: does our school feel the same way?

100 students were polled on their opinions about President Biden, their results favored the president yet still showed a partisan split. Infographic by Thomas Bruns

As teenagers become more politically active in the era of social media, questions start to be raised on how they should express their political opinions. While parents might support apoliticism in school, they seem to have no problem sharing their own beliefs in school settings. One can just look at the West parent’s Facebook group, school board meetings that devolve into shouting matches about masks and Critical Race Theory or certain Pathfinder article’s comment sections. We’re seeing a new debate in our country: in a public, tax-funded school, should we stay politically neutral? I believe that it’s important for students to feel comfortable, no matter the belief, in sharing their opinions if they desire. So, with that being said, I asked about 100 of my peers to see what they think of our president Joe Biden. 

The results differ wildly from what the general country thinks. As responses trickled in, the results leaned conservative. Then, as the days passed and more results started coming in, it swung more liberal, with many students supporting much of Biden’s agenda. 

Wanting more answers, I spoke to some of my peers who indicated that they wanted to expand upon their opinions more. After these conversations, it became abundantly clear to me that my generation is the most informed and politically active generation yet, compared to adolescents of the past. Below are my opinions on the different polled issues. 

Biden’s General Presidency (so far)

As much as I want our President to succeed, I cannot truthfully say that I think Biden is doing a good job so far. Generally, he has shown an inability to unite his own party, which was a huge quality of his he tried to push during his campaign. He has shown time and time again that for some reason, he just isn’t able to prepare for big problems such as the Haitian Border Crisis and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. I feel like it’s the bare minimum for a President to be able to predict national security issues and if not, then at least have the ability to respond to them in an effective manner. Additionally, it is not a good look for the Vice President to make very few public appearances in the White House, let alone with the President. I feel like I haven’t seen Kamala Harris since the Inauguration. So, in short, while most of the crises we face today aren’t directly Joe Biden’s fault, his lackluster response is something we need to hold him responsible for in the next election. 

The Afghanistan Withdrawal

If one thing is going to cost the Democrats the Presidency in 2024, I think it is going to be the Afghanistan withdrawal. Clearly, it is not Biden’s fault that we were in Afghanistan. This can be attributed to the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, who continued the war even if they said in campaign promises that they would end it. However, Biden’s sloppy manner of removing troops and civilians from the region was a national embarrassment. I don’t claim to be a military or foreign policy expert, but I’d think it is a logical choice to evacuate the military after the civilians so they can help with the evacuation. Biden chose to evacuate troops first, which contributed to the chaos that we saw at the Kabul Airport. In principle, I support Biden’s decision to vacate Afghanistan, but in practice, he did a horrible job of planning ahead here.


Biden has done everything in his power to improve the pandemic. Any problems with the delta variant, mask mandates, and so on, can all be blamed on Former President Donald Trump and citizens who refuse to get the vaccine. Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses, I think, will do a lot of good in convincing vaccine-hesitant people to get vaccinated. How different states are doing with the pandemic, case-wise, can mostly be chalked up to the state’s response

to COVID. For example, states such as Hawaii, Vermont and Oregon are doing very well with the pandemic because they’ve implemented mask and vaccine mandates and used resources wisely in fighting the pandemic. On the other hand, states like Texas and Missouri are struggling with the pandemic partly because of their larger population, but also because their state governments did not follow the United States Federal Government’s COVID guidelines (even during the Trump Administration). President Biden is doing all he can to get things in control, but the unfortunate truth is that there’s not much he can do at this point.

The Economy

Biden’s economic approval numbers are plummeting amid supply chain shortages, labor shortages and inflation. I don’t think there is much he can personally do on this front. After the supply chain became stagnant during the pandemic, it wasn’t prepared for all the spending shoppers would do when things started speeding up again. This is just an unfortunate effect of the pandemic. The supply chain shortage is made worse by the great resignation and the labor crisis. Again, not Biden’s fault. If businesses want workers, they need to simply pay more and offer more benefits. In other words, give an incentive for unemployed people to come in and work instead of staying at home and collecting unemployment. Many uninformed critics attribute these economic problems to Biden, but truthfully, there isn’t much he can do. There isn’t a button on the resolute desk that turns the gas and grocery prices up or down. Biden can’t go door to door begging food service workers to go back to work. These are problems that were created in our economic system, and once there starts to be an impact on the bottom line, they will be worked out within our economic system. 

Immigration and the Haitian Border Crisis

Another controversial aspect of Biden’s presidency is immigration. We recently saw tens of 1000s of Haitian migrants come to the Texan border, with 30,000 more on the way. Our Border Patrol’s response to this was to chase them on horseback. This response came with great skepticism from Biden’s critics on how he is treating border migrants, and I am among them. Biden frequently attacked Trump’s rhetoric towards immigrants and for good reason (remember the caravan, anyone?). His Trump-esque actions and attitude towards the migrants come off as hypocritical. Where is the plan when we see a huge migrant surge, which seems to be a common occurrence during the past decade? Why don’t we have someplace to house the Haitian migrants so they don’t have to sleep under a bridge? To me, these seem like questions that the president should have the answer to, especially a president who ran on a platform of ethical treatment of immigrants. 

Climate Change

Much of Biden’s climate change agenda is riding on his infrastructure bill, which proposes cuts to fossil fuels, carbon emissions, funding for electric cars, and also making our current infrastructure climate-proof. All of these are great ideas. However, if Biden wants to get this infrastructure bill passed, he must get it past Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, the coal baron of the Senate who is dead set on sinking any climate provisions. If this bill does not get passed or if Manchin is successful in getting the climate provisions cut from the infrastructure bill, this puts Biden’s climate agenda at risk. Truthfully, I don’t see a way for Biden to further his climate change plans, because if he gets this bill passed he will have to cut climate infrastructure. He won’t be able to pass any bills with the Senate fighting climate change and he can only do so much through executive power. While Biden does have good beliefs on climate change and is doing everything in his power to pass legislation to fight it, in reality, I just don’t see his administration making any big steps in the next three years. 

Moving forward

Keeping politics out of the classroom isn’t the answer to having a politically informed generation. Fair discussions of political issues in school aren’t “liberal indoctrination.” The job of education should be to give their students unbiased facts and let them come to their own conclusions, even if these conclusions challenge their family’s beliefs. The interviews I did with my peers and the open conversations we had about politics reminded me that the only way that we can heal the partisan divisions in this country is through open and amicable dialogue with those who may have a different opinion than ourselves. I hope that through this political opinions poll and my writing that students will reflect on their political beliefs and know that it’s okay to be open with the things you believe in.