Approaching one hundred days in the presidency, President Biden maintains fairly strong approval ratings for what look like fairly straightforward reasons: most Americans like the way he’s handling the country’s top priorities, with especially strong marks on the pandemic and vaccine rollout; his major legislative pieces are popular so far. And then, more stylistically perhaps, a majority of Americans pick words to describe him like “presidential,” “focused” and “competent.”
At the same time they also say they’d generally like politics for the next four years to be “steady,” and “normal” (even though, we should note, they don’t expect it to be) more so than they want it “shaken up” or even “exciting.”
Specifically, most view the recent stimulus package as helpful to the economy, and infrastructure, too, is very popular: spending more on roads, bridges, and broadband find widespread favor, in principle, and Mr. Biden’s proposal overall nets majority backing.
The removal of troops from Afghanistan also meets with broad approval. A range of items from his handling of economy to race relations, to foreign policy get majority nods. All told, on a lot of metrics for both policy and approach, there’s resonance — at least with those open to it.
But there are clearly challenges ahead for Biden, leading a nation that’s remains polarized and going through large-scale challenges. Three-fourths of Americans feel the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was the right one, but far fewer expect race relations, generally, to improve in the coming months.
The president’s handling of immigration, in particular, finds lower approval than other items. And while most do feel he’s reaching out for bipartisanship in Congress, aside from some backing on the pandemic and infrastructure, Republicans’ rank-and-file mostly oppose him, describe him negatively, and most still will not say he legitimately won.
A large majority would see more spend on roads and bridges, at least in principle.
Along political lines, Biden draws approval from Democrats, from a majority of independents and from almost everyone who voted for him in 2020. This is much less true of Republicans, though they do give him better marks for the pandemic than they do overall.
Politically though, there is still plenty of resistance from the nation’s Republicans. Biden gets only about half the overall Republican approval that Obama got in early 2009, just before the party splits on presidential approvals got even more polarized, where they’ve remained for years.
Part of this is that most Republicans still do not say Biden was the legitimate winner of the election, and six in 10 of former President Trump’s voters now want to see their congressional representatives oppose Biden at every turn. This isn’t just politics. That particular group who wants opposition — while constituting a minority of Americans — also has very different views on issues from most Democrats, moderates and independents as well. For instance, most of them think efforts at racial equality are making American society worse; they say illegal immigration should be the top priority, as opposed to the pandemic or even the economy.
This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,527 U.S. residents interviewed between April 21-24, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2020 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is ± 2.3 points.