Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly poll summary.
Next week President Biden will hit the one-year mark of his presidency. While Biden oversaw notable achievements during this period, such as the passage of a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package and a $ 1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, other challenges have overshadowed those achievements: Perhaps most importantly, that the COVID-19 pandemic has not subsided. The virus’s latest mutation, the highly contagious variant of Omicron, has resulted in a surge in cases as well as persistent economic uncertainty, inflation and supply chain problems. The Democrats also struggled to get key parts of Biden’s legislative agenda passed, including an ambitious $ 1.75 trillion social spending plan and a voting rights bill that would complement the 2021 laws passed by GOP-controlled state lawmakers that make voting more difficult and make it easier to intervene in elections.
It’s hard to say how all of this will affect Biden’s job admission score, but by and large the public is unhappy. It’s also been a while since Biden’s approval rating stuck in the low 40s for nearly three months, with around 42 percent of Americans approving of his job performance and 51 percent currently disapproving, according to the president’s FiveThirtyEights Approval Tracker.
Looking back at the recent presidents, this development is particularly worrying for Biden, as he has the second-lowest approval rating of all presidents after one year. Only Donald Trump, whose approval rating was in the high 30s, had a lower rating.
In a way, however, the fact that Biden’s approval rating has dropped isn’t all that surprising. Most presidents have what is known as a “honeymoon period,” where their ratings start high but decline over time. Former President Barack Obama’s approval rating was much higher than Biden’s when he took office (68 percent versus 53 percent), but Obama’s approval rating also steadily eroded, dropping below 50 percent after about a year in office. But it’s not that simple: The approval ratings of former President George W. Bush in the first year rose after the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
In our highly polarized political environment, it’s hard to imagine the same “rally around the flag” effect – the coronavirus pandemic, for example, didn’t produce much of it. But as the approval ratings of former President Bill Clinton have shown, presidents can see an improvement after a significant decline. There are just a few more things left to do – in Clinton’s case, public sentiment about the economy improved, which helped his numbers recover, at least temporarily.
However, Biden will likely need to improve in areas that have long hampered his government in order to increase his approval rating. Biden’s approval rating dropped significantly last August after the Taliban captured Kabul in Afghanistan in the wake of the withdrawal of US troops, but at the same time as the spread of the Delta variant in the United States, Biden’s support from almost every group of Americans, especially the independents and Hispanics.
However, the biggest problem for Biden could be his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. While this was once one of Biden’s toughest problems, the public has steadily grown pissed off about his crisis management. In fact, Biden’s approval rating for COVID-19 fell below its disapproval rating for the first time earlier this week, according to FiveThirtyEight’s coronavirus presidential approval tracker.
With the Omicron surge, many Americans are now even more pessimistic that the pandemic is about to end. Many states and communities have also reintroduced COVID-19 social distancing policies such as masking requirements and distance learning – the latter has made few people happy, according to surveys. Economic concerns have largely partnered with COVID-19 worries, particularly inflation, which has been as high as it has been since the early 1980s. While the current rate is not nearly as high as it was then, ongoing inflation has significantly increased the price of essential goods such as food and gas. Presidential approval studies have found that inflation often degrades a president’s reputation, so that’s likely a factor for Biden here, too.
It is possible that some of these conditions could improve – the coronavirus pandemic has shown us time and time again that its course is often unpredictable. But any changes will likely take time, and there isn’t much positive in sight for Biden in the short term. The Democrats’ legislative agenda is largely in limbo as both their social spending plan and the boost to voting rights look like a major challenge at this point. Of course, there’s no guarantee that passing either law would boost Biden’s standing – after all, his approval rating has practically not changed after signing the bipartisan infrastructure package in November – but the fact that the Democrats are in a legislative position exemplifies has generated a lot of negative media attention.
How much of that is in Biden’s control is not easy. Some inflation may have been inevitable as the economy picked up again after the pandemic 2020. And many Americans refuse to get vaccinated, making it easier for a new variant to penetrate a large section of the population. But as president, the money stops with Biden. The government should have been better prepared for new waves of coronavirus by making tests more accessible to the public. And as his party’s leader, the legislative program that the Democrats have followed with fits and beginnings rests in part on him, including the almost impossible-to-pass Democrat-backed suffrage laws. After a year, the public is unhappy with its performance and the state of the country, and that could only change if COVID-19 recedes and economic confidence recovers.
Other polling bites
- The Centers for Disease Control recently cut the COVID-19 quarantine policy from 10 to five days as long as infected people are asymptomatic. Despite some backlash from medical professionals, a new Morning Consult poll found that 53 percent of US adults agree with the CDC’s decision. Interestingly, however, those at lower risk of dying from COVID-19 – women and young adults ages 18 to 34 – were less likely (47 percent each) to support this decision, compared with men and adults 65 and over (61 percent and 58). Percent). The survey was also split broadly on household income: Less than half (48 percent) of those who earned less than $ 50,000 a year supported the decision, much less than those who made $ 100,000 or more a year (68 percent).
- A positive development from the pandemic is that telehealth services are booming, especially for older adults. 62 percent of adults 50 and older said they have used a telehealth service since the pandemic began, according to a recent Associated Press-NORC survey. This is a sharp increase in usage since pre-pandemic times – and even since the first few months of the pandemic. In May 2019, only 4 percent of adults ages 50 to 80 had ever used telehealth services, but in 2020, 26 percent of that age group had used telemedicine between March and June of that year, according to a University of Michigan survey in August 2020 Injustices persist, however, with around one in five people over 65 and non-college graduate over 50 citing ignorance of technology as the “main reason” for still using personal services.
- It’s not just older Americans who find the digital world overwhelming. Americans agree on their concerns about digital privacy – and how they feel they don’t have much control over it. According to a recent survey by Ipsos, 70 percent of Americans felt they now have greater difficulty controlling who can access their personal information online.
- Europeans overall support US diplomatic negotiations with Russia to avert the Ukraine crisis, but are less confident that this would reduce the risk of a Russian invasion, according to a recent Morning Consult poll. In fact, in each of the countries studied (Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States), less than 50 percent believed that strengthening diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States would reduce the likelihood of Russia invading Ukraine. However, a diplomatic approach was still by far the most popular option among the countries surveyed, including the US, where support for diplomacy was the lowest at 34 percent.
- While Americans still view medical professionals like nurses, doctors, and pharmacists as some of the most honest and ethical workers in the world, a recent Gallup poll suggests that the pandemic may make their surge in popularity wear off. Between 2020 and 2021, ratings of honesty and ethics among nurses and pharmacists decreased by 8 percentage points and among doctors by 10 points. Most noticeable, however, is the sharp decline in Republican support for the military. Republican military officer ratings are historically about 20 points higher than Democrats, but Republican ratings have fallen 17 points since 2017, meaning they now see military officers only 8 points cheaper than Democrats.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Presidential Approval Tracker, 42.3 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s job as president, while 51.4 percent disapprove (a net approval rating of -9.1 points). At this point in the past week, 42.9 percent were approved and 51.7 percent rejected (a net approval rating of -8.8 points). A month ago, Biden had an approval rate of 43.1 percent and a rejection rate of 50.7 percent, which corresponds to a net approval rating of -7.6 points.
On our average of the polls for the generic congressional vote, Republicans currently lead by 0.6 percentage points (42.4 percent to 41.8 percent). A week ago, the Republicans led the Democrats with 0.5 points (42.4 percent to 41.9 percent). At that time last month, voters preferred the Republicans with 1.0 point (43.0 percent versus 42.0 percent).