“Heating costs have gone up, the cost of groceries has gone up, and you have a president talking about spending all this extra money and concentrating on voting,” he said. “People asked me 23 different things, and voting ended up last.”
Some lawmakers and leading Republican strategists argue that with Mr. Biden’s declining numbers and shaky policies, he’s doing their job for them.
“If your opponents hang themselves, don’t cut the rope, and that’s what we see Democrats doing here,” said Jeff Roe, the founder of Axiom Strategies, a political consulting firm that worked for Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Senator. Ted Cruz of Texas, both Republicans. “All we have to do is stay away.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill point to last summer’s withdrawal from Afghanistan — a tumultuous period when a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. servicemen — as the turning point for a once-popular government. Internal Republican polls showed Biden lost six percentage points in his approval rating at the time, a drop he has been unable to reverse.
“Republicans have a lot of important, deep problems, but the Democrats have been so bad that it’s been very easy to overlook them,” said Brendan Buck, former adviser to the past two Republican speakers of the House, Paul D. Ryan. and John A. Boehner. Republicans are still dealing with the culture wars and populism that could pose serious long-term demographic challenges, he said, but for now, Democrats have overshadowed those rifts.
McCarthy, who is lining up to run for president if Republicans win the House, is increasingly optimistic about the prospect, predicting 70 Democratic seats will be competitive.
There are some bright spots for Mr. Biden. Democrats see his chance to appoint a Supreme Court justice as an opportunity for a shift in focus and a moment for him to claim a high-profile victory. Mr Biden has highlighted the unemployment rate of 3.9 percent as part of the recovery he promised Americans, and his best assistants have underlined that he has led the strongest economic growth in decades.