Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos
Pew Research Center released a sprawling polling overview of Joe Biden's early presidency, and the reviews are pretty damn good—particularly given the polarized political environment in this moment of national crisis.
For starters, 59 percent of American approve of the way Biden is doing his job, while 39 percent disapprove—that marks an improvement of a handful of points over last month when 54 percent approved of his job performance.
Biden's job approval has clearly been helped by public perception of his work in bringing the pandemic under control and getting the country back to work—the job Americans chiefly hired him to do.
In terms of the vaccine roll out, 72 percent rated the Biden administration's execution as excellent (29 percent) or good (43 percent), though the survey was taken before the latest halt/review of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That widespread approval includes 55% of Republicans and Republican leaners—a pretty impressive feat for a guy who most of them believe wasn't duly elected.
The public also continues to largely favor Biden's $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package, with 67 percent of Americans approving of the bill, including 36 percent who strongly approve. Just 32 percent disapprove of the relief plan, with only 17 percent saying they strongly disapprove. The relief plan also continues to divide the GOP base by income level, with fully 55 percent of lower income Republicans and Republican leaners approving of the bill, compared to just 18 percent approval among Republicans with the highest incomes.
The relief plan's high approval—which is entirely consistent with public approval of the plan before it became law—suggests people not only like the plan but are also pleased so far with its rollout. Indeed, a Civiqs poll earlier this week found that 80 percent of respondents had received their direct payments and some 90 percent of those who reported receiving the money said the amount was about as expected.
On a series of less tangible, more perception-based questions, Biden also seems to be doing relatively well, particularly when compared to the former guy.
A 46 percent plurality of Americans say they like how Biden is conducting himself in office, with just 27 percent saying they don't and another 27 percent expressing mixed feelings on the matter. In February of 2020, just 15 percent said the same of Donald Trump. Biden's significant improvement on the matter is due to him drawing less criticism from the opposing party—while 59% or Republicans said they don't like the way Biden conducts himself, fully 85 percent of Democrats disliked how Trump conducted himself.
A 44 percent plurality of the public also thinks Biden has changed the tone and nature of national political discourse "for the better," while just 29 percent say he has changed it for the worse.
In the final year of Trump's tenure, a 55 percent majority of Americans believed Trump had changed the tone of political debate for the worse, with just 25 percent saying he had a positive effect on political discourse and 19 percent saying he hadn't affected it either way.
Finally, Democrats in Congress are also dusting their GOP counterparts in terms of approval rating. Half of Americans approve of congressional Democrats' performance while just 32 percent approve of Republicans' job performance.
Overall, the American public is giving President Biden a pretty glowing review for how he has comported himself at the outset of his presidency. He is largely delivering on the promises he made and the job he was hired to do. While public perception is likely to get more complicated down the road, Biden has earned himself more political capital to spend rather than depleting his cache right from the start.
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