Kamala Harris has consistently received lower favorabilities than Joe Biden. In a poll, a plurality of 52% approves of Biden with a net approval rating of 7 points while another plurality of 47% disapproves of Harris with a net disapproval of 2 points.

I have seen people attribute this to the fact that she is a black and Asian mixed race woman who just entered politics a decade or so ago while Joe Biden is an established older white man. Another thing that I think is more relevant is that Harris apparently talks a lot less and sometimes comes across as cold.

I understand that this question could come across as being biased towards Vice President Harris. But Hillary Clinton had many of the same problems, though not as a woman of color. Clinton was seen as dishonest, "crooked", etc.

  • I'm voting to reopen, but perhaps others would be more inclined to if you rephrased as "Why is Harris' approval lower than Biden's?" Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 18:53
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    what could even answer this, a poll asking "Would you approve of Harris more were she white?"? Even then, many wouldn't admit such, many still wouldn't approve of her, and some might approve of her less, so even that couldn't really answer the question.
    – dandavis
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 21:40
  • Hillary is competent (in the sense that she is intelligent and cut-throat). Harris is not and is not in any way qualified for the job of VP of the US (see the primaries for the voters' thoughts on the matter). It has nothing to do with race or gender, few things do.
    – acpilot
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 4:59

1 Answer 1


Look at the YouGov numbers: YouGov has a B+ rating and very slight left bias according to 538, so it's acceptable for our purposes. Harris is running a few points behind Biden, yes, and low for a vice-president in general, but it's not by a huge margin. I mean, her favorability rating is still higher than Trump's was through most of his presidency. And if we dig in a bit deeper we find that the most significant changes in 'unfavorable' ratings over the last six months were among Whites (jumping from 34.7% to 55.5% unfavorable) and Republicans (jumping from 60.1% to 89% unfavorable). I can't get interaction effects from this particular data presentation (the correlation between 'White' and 'Republican' is self-evidently high, but I can't see the split between Republican males and Democratic males, or other possible differentiations). Her disapproval ratings among other groups have been fairly steady. The latter is not surprising, since she has not made a significant number of appearances or public statements or actions so far.

From this, I suspect that the primary driver of her approval and disapproval ratings is Republican sentiments within Right-wing media bubbles. The absurdity of a near 90% disapproval rating in the GOP speaks to something other than a rational assessment of her capabilities. It's impossible to tell whether these sentiments lean more on Harris' race, gender, or the perception that she is more liberal than Biden, and if such media outlets run true to form it's likely a soft blend of all three.

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    Note that the left wing is also slightly unhappy with her credentials as a hardliner state attorney -- basically her pick was interpreted as tokenism, as her policies have been disastrous for Black communities. Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 16:34

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