Less than a week before the 100th day of his presidency, a slight majority of Americans approve of the job Joe Biden has done so far, according to several new national polls published on Sunday. That puts him ahead of Donald Trump at the same point four years ago, yet still on the low end historically, compared with other presidents. Biden’s approval rating ranges from 52 percent to 58 percent in the polls — averaging out to 54.5 percent, per’s FiveThirtyEight’s calculations, with 40.6 percent of Americans disapproving, and putting Biden’s net rating nearly 14 points higher than Trump’s was ahead of his 100th day.
ABC News notes that Biden’s 52 percent in a Washington Post–ABC poll is the third-lowest approval rating for any president since 1945, ahead of Gerald Ford’s post-Nixon-pardon 48 percent in 1974 and Trump’s historically abysmal 42 percent in 2017. (Trump never gained the approval of a majority of Americans during his presidency, which ended with a net approval rating of almost minus-20 percent, per FiveThirtyEight.)
The good news for Biden is that a solid majority of Americans approve of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic: 69 percent in an NBC News poll, 64 percent in the Post-ABC poll, and 65 percent in a CBS News–YouGov poll — which also showed 72 percent, including 47 percent of Republicans, approving of Biden’s handling of COVID-vaccine distribution. Sixty-five percent of Americans support Biden’s recent pandemic-relief package in the Post-ABC poll, and two in three Americans think it had been beneficial to the economy in the CBS-YouGov poll. General approval of Biden’s handling of the economy, however, appears to mirror his overall approval rating.
It also appears Biden’s infrastructure plan has slim to solid majority support, according to the polls, though it’s not as popular as the COVID stimulus.
Amid a surge of migrants at the southern border, anywhere from 53 percent to 59 percent of Americans in the polls disapprove of how President Biden has handled immigration and/or border security at this point.
And not at all surprisingly, America’s deep partisan divide appears to be driving Biden’s overall numbers across the board, as the Post explained:
The 2020 presidential election and its acrid aftermath, during which Trump falsely insisted that the election had been stolen and that it was marred by widespread voting irregularities, left the country deeply divided. The new poll provides ample evidence that those divisions have not lessened during the early months of Biden’s presidency.
For example, 78 percent of Republicans say they strongly disapprove of the way Biden has handled his job, which is slightly higher than the 72 percent of Democrats who strongly disapproved of Trump at the same point in 2017, and also far higher than the 43 percent of Republicans who strongly disapproved of President Barack Obama’s performance in April 2009. At no point during Obama’s first three years in office did strong disapproval among Republicans reach its current level.
The poll also shows a record divide between the parties in views of Biden ahead of the 100-day mark, with 90 percent of Democrats approving of his performance compared with 13 percent of Republicans.
Biden is doing six points better among Democrats in that poll than Trump was doing among Republicans four years ago, however, and nine points better with independents. Seventy percent of Republicans reached in the CBS-YouGov poll still don’t believe Biden is the legitimate winner of the 2020 election.
Regarding overall public opinion on the current state of the pandemic, 81 percent of respondents to a Fox News poll feel the pandemic is under control, up 34 points from December. Sixty-one percent said they thought the worst of the pandemic was behind the nation in the NBC poll — compared with 19 percent who expect the opposite. Twelve percent of respondents to the same poll said they would never get vaccinated (including 24 percent of Republicans, compared with just 4 percent of Democrats), while another 7 percent said they would only get the shot if required to. (Fifteen percent want to wait and see, citing concerns about side effects.) The CBS-YouGov poll found even more hesitancy, with 18 percent saying “maybe” to the shot and 22 percent remaining a hard “no.” These numbers are still lower than in previous months, however, and as to what is fueling the hesitancy, per CBS News’ write-up:
The reasons selected by the hesitant have been relatively consistent over the past few months, and most choose more than one. Most common is “It’s still too untested/I’m waiting to see what happens” (53%), followed by general concern about allergies or side effects (40%). More specifically, some also pick reported problems with some vaccines, including news about clots (36%).
Finally, it appears Biden can count making presidential politics boring again among his administration’s initial achievements. Regarding the return to post-Trump U.S. political normalcy that Biden represents, 55 percent of respondents to the NBC poll said they believed he “is returning the country to a more typical way that past presidents have governed.” And 85 percent of respondents to the CBS-YouGov poll said they wanted politics for the next four years to be either “steady” or “normal.”