Before March, President Biden and his team were suffering from polling that reflected major disapproval of their policies by the American people . The country was struggling on multiple fronts. Inflation, supply chain issues and the COVID-19 pandemic provided plenty of fodder for Republicans to attack the administration. That all changed once Putin invaded Ukraine.
Americans always rally around the office of the President during times of international conflict, regardless of who is in office.
A stunning 81% of the country sees Ukraine favorably, or as an ally. Anything that President Biden does to help Ukraine benefits him with regards to public opinion. The administration also benefits from the President constantly appearing in his commander-in-chief role. Polling reveals that holders of the office look the most ‘Presidential’ when acting on the world stage in concert with other leaders.
The war in Ukraine has caused the media to pivot away from the domestic issues that have been hurting the president’s approval ratings. In addition, the conflict provides a scapegoat any time the president is pressed on domestic issues.
The administration has a clear message that Putin is responsible for everything that is ailing the country. A month ago, all of America only had the President to blame. At the very least, Putin has relieved some of the pressure being placed on the administration.
What is not currently known is how long this situation will benefit President Biden. The country is already war-weary, both from the 20-year conflict in Afghanistan and the war waged against COVID-19 for the last two years. Once the novelty of the war in Ukraine begins to fade, will Americans keep their focus on Eastern Europe? Or will they again begin to grumble about rising gas prices? Unfortunately for Biden, inflation shows no sign of abating.
The fact is that a drawn-out conflict between Ukraine and Russia might provide political cover for both Biden and many embattled Democrats, who are looking at major losses in this November’s midterm elections. At some point, however, Americans will begin to hold the administration accountable again if rising prices are not reined in. There’s just one question: how long will that take?