Republicans have struggled in many ways to craft a coherent message attacking President Biden. And in the absence of that, they’ve often turned to the next best thing: Going after his second-in-command, Vice President Harris. The idea is that she’s out of her depth and ill-equipped to deal with the influx of migrants at the border that she’s been tasked with combating.
And to hear these Republicans tell it, the American people have come to agree with them about all that. This week, many of them have pointed to a claim that Harris is the most unpopular vice president at this point in her tenure in modern American history.
“Kamala Harris Is The Most Unpopular Vice President In 50 Years, Polls Show,” reads the headline at the Daily Wire, one of many conservative sites to aggregate the story.
“Congratulations, Kamala Harris, on this historic achievement! You earned it!” declared Breitbart.
As for their predecessors, both of the most recent VPs clearly trail behind. The most unpopular vice president (full-term) in modern history was Richard B. Cheney, but at this point in 2001 he was still strongly popular. Al Gore was also in strongly positive territory in mid-1993. Biden, as vice president, was still above-water in mid-2009.
Before then, though, it’s a bit less clear. Before Cheney, Dan Quayle was the modern vice president people most derided (though for different reasons). At this point in 1989, Quayle was less unpopular than Pence and Harris, with a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing his approval rating at 43 percent and his disapproval at just 22 percent. About one-third of people offered no opinion.
But this masked how little regard people had for Quayle. The same poll showed just 38 percent of people said he was qualified to assume the presidency, while 52 percent said he was not. And 43 percent went so far as to say it was a “mistake” for then-President George H.W. Bush to have selected Quayle.