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Vice President Kamala Harris is failing to impress Americans in a way not seen with her predecessors ever since Al Gore was in the White House.
A poll conducted this month shows 32% of registered voters have a positive view of the Democrat while 49% have a negative view of her. The resulting net-negative rating of -17 is “the lowest for any vice president in the poll’s history,” NBC News reported on Monday. It also noted that 39% have a “very negative” view of Harris.
Showing its math for judging this the worst rating in more than two decades, the news outlet looked back at surveys dating back to 1995. The only other president to have a negative split, Mike Pence, was at 34% positive and 38% negative in October 2019 for a -4 rating. President Joe Biden barely made it into positive territory. In December 2010, his rating as vice president was 34% positive and 33% negative, creating a +1 split.
Dick Cheney fared better in May 2003 with a +23 split arising from a 47% positive rating and a 24% negative rating. The furthest back in time that NBC News looked was March 1995, when Gore scored a 42% positive rating and 27% negative rating, resulting in a +15 split.
Harris, a former attorney general of California and U.S. senator, is the first woman to be vice president, as well as the first black American and first South Asian American to hold the office.
During her time in the White House, Harris has struggled to shake the view by critics that she did not take seriously her role as leader of the Biden administration’s efforts to tackle the migration challenge at the U.S.-Mexico border. Her public speaking appearances have become fodder for mockery thanks to a constant flow of “word salads.”
When Biden announced his 2024 re-election campaign in April, he chose to stick with Harris as his running mate despite her poor approval ratings. Axios reported around that time that the White House and Biden’s campaign had been working to revamp her image as officials feared she would be a drag on the ticket.
Defenders of Harris, including former White House chief of staff Ron Klain and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, have argued racism and sexism have been major factors in the vice president’s unpopularity. In late April, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said Harris is “ready to be president should that ever happen,” adding, “I know our president has great confidence in her, and so do I.”
The new poll from NBC News also found growing anxiety concerning Biden‘s fitness to serve, as more than two-thirds of registered voters — 68% — said they have moderate to major concerns about him “not having the necessary mental and physical health” to be president. And only 43% said they approve of Biden’s job performance while 53% disapprove.
Still, a hypothetical general election rematch envisioned by the survey showed Biden ahead with 49% support over former President Donald Trump, who generally leads GOP primary polls, with 45% support. The survey also looked at a match-up between Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, showing a 47%-47% tie in the general election.
“A majority of Americans have deep, deep concerns about Biden’s physical and mental state; Kamala Harris is the least liked Vice President in the poll’s history; and notwithstanding both, Biden/Harris would still beat Trump,” conservative radio host Erick Erickson said about the poll. “All the GOP has to do is avoid Trump, and many of them won’t let him go.”