As Vice President Kamala Harris’ poll numbers remain underwater, and well below President Biden’s, some Democrats are worried that she could become a drag on their efforts to maintain control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
A new Economist/YouGov poll shows that 48 percent of Americans disapprove of Harris’ job performance while only 46 percent expressed approval. This is in line with a flurry of recent surveys and puts her well behind Biden, whom the Real Clear average of polls has at 51 percent approval and 43 percent disapproval.
According to Democratic strategists who talked to The Post and The Hill, the numbers have the party concerned about the midterms.
“My sense is she’ll probably raise a lot of money and maybe she’ll go to some specific districts, but they’ll have to be really strategic with her.”
An early test of just how strategic Democrats plan to be with the veep is the run-up to the Sept. 14 recall election in her home state of California, where she has vowed to campaign for embattled Gov. Gavin Newson, but has offered no set plans about doing so.
Under normal circumstances, Harris, the first woman to be elected vice president, would be a natural fit for campaigning on both the recall race and the 2022 midterms, but staunch criticism of her handling of the border crisis as well as dysfunction in her office have potentially made her politically toxic.
In June, Harris took a trip near the US border with Mexico after pressure built for her to go for months. In that time, she snapped at reporters who asked why she hadn’t trekked to the border given that she was put in charge of the crisis there.
In one interview, she told NBC’s Lester Holt that “we’ve been to the border.” When he pointed out that she had not gone as vice president, she whipped back at him with, “And I haven’t been to Europe, And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”
Meanwhile, there have been persistent stories about issues in her office, where staffers have gone so far as to say they are treated “like s–t,” and which date back to similar concerns from campaign staff that helped derail her 2020 run for president.
One Democratic strategist told The Post, “This is less about the upcoming midterm and more about the future. There was a hope that she would grow into the role, but she keeps making mistakes, it’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ with her mistakes.
“If Biden doesn’t run [in 2024], is there comfort with her as the nominee? I’m not sure.”
Republicans could be eager to tie Harris to Democratic candidates across the country over the next year as they did in 2020, especially after a tweet last summer urging her followers to help bail out rioters and arsonists in Minneapolis amid the George Floyd protests.
The GOP needs to flip a mere five seats from blue to red to retake the House of Representatives next year — a razor-thin margin that clearly has some Democrats on edge about which way the vice president may tip the balance.
On Thursday, Harris released an 18-page report on the root causes of the border debacle that includes a five-pillar plan to curb the crisis with items such as “Addressing economic insecurity” and “Combating corruption.” However, the plan comes with no timeline or specific policy proposals.