KEY POINTS

  • Harris has faced criticisms in her handling of the border crisis
  • Not many in Dem camp are sure about Harris succeeding Biden 
  • However, many accuse the right-wing of negatively branding Harris

As Democrats vie to buck the trend of the President's party suffering a midterm poll loss, they have something serious to worry about: Vice President Kamala Harris's bad polls. 

A report by The Hill said Harris made some "tactical missteps outside of the White House" that have resulted in the unfavorable ratings. 

According to polling aggregator, RealClearPolitics, Harris's average unfavorability rating is 46 percent, three points worse than Biden’s 43 percent. In an Economist-YouGov poll conducted from July 24 to 27, Harris’s unfavorable figure reached 48 percent. 

Though vice presidents do not usually outperform the President, her lower rating show "she hasn’t quite yet found her bearings," The Hill added. 

Now, as the Biden administration plans its midterm strategy, this is a major complication. While a visit by the vice president to a congressional district helps candidates gain some visibility in midterm polls, Harris's bad ratings are a major problem. This is when Democrats struggle to retain their wafer-thin 221-211 majority in the House and the 50-50 in Senate.

"As of right now, I think she has the potential of doing more harm than good for some of these candidates," a Democratic strategist told the news outlet. "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. She doesn’t have the standing at this moment to go to a lot of these tighter districts," the strategist added.

Even the allies of Harris say she has made mistakes. "No one is coming out and saying she’s doing an amazing job, because the first question would be ‘On what?’" The Hill quoted a Harris ally. "She’s made a bunch of mistakes and she’s made herself a story for good and bad."

Harris has faced brickbats, particularly in her handling of the border crisis. In June, she took a trip to near the border with Mexico after much pressure where she snapped at reporters who asked why she hadn’t trekked to the border earlier. The Vice President was also criticised for telling immigrants  don’t come here" which earned her backlash from progressives. 

According to New York Post, there have also been stories about issues in her office, where staffers have gone so far as to say they are treated "like s–t." 

"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." a Democratic strategist told The Post.

However, many express confidence that things will get better for Harris. "She’s not the person who’s out front day in and day out. It’s a lot harder to break through as vice president," Joel Benenson, former President Obama’s chief pollster, told The Hill.

Meanwhile, many in Democratic circles belive the right-wing apparatus — from Trump to Republicans in Congress and prominent partisan media outlets — have "worked for years to negatively brand Harris." They rely on "racist and sexist stereotypes to minimize her standing as the first female, Black and Asian American vice president," political analyst Rachel Bitecofer told The Hill.

"The reason that Harris is unpopular is that they haven’t been able to make headway against Joe Biden personally, so they really have switched their messaging strategy to focus on Harris and attack him indirectly," said Bitecofer.

US Vice President Kamala Harris has caught flak from Republican lawmakers -- and some progressives in her own Democratic Party -- during her trip to Central America and Mexico to address the immigration crisis US Vice President Kamala Harris. Photo: AE / ALFREDO ESTRELLA