Voices: Will Biden’s rising approval rating sink after classified documents headache?

A steady drip of information has proven problematic for the US president  (AP)
A steady drip of information has proven problematic for the US president (AP)

President Joe Biden’s approval rating has increased steadily since he hit his nadir toward the middle of last year.

A recent YouGov poll showed that 49.6 per cent of those surveyed approved of his job performance.

He also enjoyed a better-than-expected midterm election and Democrats gained a Senate seat from his native Pennsylvania in November. Inflation, his most stubborn foe, has also steadily declined, though prices remain high and the economy is a major worry for many Americans.

All of this should prime Biden for a potential 2024 run, since most of the promising Democrats will likely get out of his way if he were to seek a second term.

That is what makes the question of how Biden’s team responds to the discovery of classified documents from his time as vice president at his home all the more salient. Over the weekend, it was announced that five additional documents were found at the president’s home in Delaware. The steady drip of new information has proven to be a political headache for the Biden White House.

Republicans are hoping to make hay out of this investigation, and oversight committee chair James Comer sent a letter asking for a visitor log of everyone who came to Biden’s Delaware home, only for the White House to say such a log doesn’t exist.

While Republicans have sought to draw an equivalency between how Donald Trump and Biden handled classified documents, the two cases are starkly different. Trump, for his part, obstructed officials from recovering the documents, while Biden’s team appears to have taken a more proactive approach in returning the recovered documents.

Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, Comer’s counterpart on the oversight committee, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that it was important to keep a “sense of symmetry” regarding the two cases, adding that Trump fought with the federal government about turning over documents for more than a year before the FBI executed a warrant at Mar-a-Lago.

At the same time, Raskin said “I don’t know yet” what should be done if yet more documents are recovered. It is entirely likely that voters themselves might not be able to differentiate between the two presidents. And it remains to be seen whether they will reserve judgement until the investigations are complete.