Biden’s Approval Rating Remains High, Whereas Pluralities Disapprove of All Congressional Leaders

May 14, 2021
By The Redfield & Wilton Strategies Research Team
Approval Rating | Joe Biden | US Elections | US Politics
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With Joe Biden recently marking his 100th day in office, the latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies finds that a majority (52%) of Americans approve of Joe Biden’s performance as President. Meanwhile, 36% of Americans disapprove of Joe Biden’s performance, a result which has not changed meaningfully since we last polled Americans on 21-22 March 2021.

Approval of President Biden’s job performance remains highest among 25-to-34-year-olds (62%) and those who voted for the Democratic Party in the 2020 Presidential Election (87%), while strong disapproval of Biden persists among 2020 Donald Trump voters (75%).

Americans’ approval (49%) and disapproval (36%) of Vice President Kamala Harris’s overall job performance largely mirrors the public’s assessment of the President.

Although President Biden and Vice President Harris enjoy similarly high approval ratings, a plurality (46%) of respondents believe that Joe Biden is the better person to be President of the United States at this moment. Just 12% say Kamala Harris would be a better President at the present moment, whereas a considerable 41% say they don’t know—including 71% of 2020 Donald Trump voters.

Younger respondents are the most likely to believe that Kamala Harris would be the better President of the United States at this moment, with 28% of 18-to-24-year-olds and 24% of 25-to-34-year-olds expressing this view. Nonetheless, it remains a minority view even among this age group.

In contrast to the majority of Americans who approve of the President and Vice President’s performances thus far into their term, a plurality of respondents disapprove of the performances of the Speaker and Minority Leaders of the House of Representatives, and of the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate.

Disapproval is highest for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: 42% of the American public (including 59% of 2020 Biden voters and 27% of 2020 Trump voters) disapprove of Mitch McConnell’s overall job performance. Only a quarter (25%) approve of McConnell’s performance, including just 32% of Trump voters.

A slight plurality (41%) of Americans also disapprove of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s overall job performance since she became Speaker of the House of Representatives, whereas 38% approve. Two-thirds (65%) of Joe Biden voters approve of Speaker Pelosi’s performance, compared to just 9% of Donald Trump voters.

Americans are divided when it comes to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s performance: 30% approve and 34% disapprove of Chuck Schumer’s overall job performance since he became Senate Majority Leader. Once again, support for the Democratic leader is higher among 2020 Joe Biden voters (51%) than among 2020 Donald Trump voters (10%).

Lastly, 31% of respondents disapprove of Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s overall performance in his role. Conversely, 29% neither approve nor disapprove and 26% approve of the House Minority Leader’s performance. As with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, only a third (33%) of 2020 Trump voters approve of McCarthy’s performance as House Minority Leader, revealing dissatisfaction with both Republican Leaders of Congress among Trump voters.

The considerable disapproval that respondents expressed for all of the Congressional Leaders could have an impact on the next Congressional Elections in the US, scheduled for November 2022. When Americans were asked about how they would vote in the Congressional Election if it were held today, 44% say they would vote for a candidate from the Democratic Party and 37% say they would vote for a candidate from the Republican Party.

17% of respondents say they don’t know how they would vote, including 15% of 2020 Donald Trump voters and 13% of 2020 Joe Biden voters. Otherwise, the large majority of Trump voters (79%) say they would vote for a Republican candidate, and the large majority of Biden voters (82%) say they would vote for a Democratic candidate, indicating that very few respondents intend to change their party affiliation for the Congressional Election.

That being said, with a year and a half until the 2022 Congressional Election, there is still plenty of time for further developments. Indeed, Joe Biden’s first 100 days as President have shown how rapidly the political landscape can change in the US, with Biden introducing numerous new policies in his first days and weeks in office.

Support for many of these measures has been substantial, including with respect to re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement (50% support), stopping the withdrawal from the World Health Organization (48%), repealing the ban on transgender Americans joining the military (44%), extending DACA (44%), and ending the Justice Department’s use of private prisons (40%).

A majority (54%) of Americans continue to support the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill introduced by President Biden. A considerable 29% of Donald Trump voters support the relief bill, whereas 80% of Joe Biden voters are supportive. 

Other measures, however, have provoked greater division among the American public: 34% support and 34% oppose Joe Biden’s revocation of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit. The public is also split between supporting (37%) or opposing (35%) President Biden’s reinstatement of the ‘catch and release’ policy for those caught illegally crossing the southern border, and there is further division with respect to his ending construction on the border wall, which 40% of Americans support and 42% oppose.

More recently, President Joe Biden announced that all American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021. Over half (53%) of Americans support Biden’s plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, with a fifth (20%) being opposed. A significant majority (71%) of Joe Biden voters support the withdrawal of troops, in comparison to the 36% of Donald Trump voters who support and 37% who oppose the policy.

A similar proportion of respondents (51%) support Joe Biden’s recent pledge to cut carbon emissions 50% below what they were in 2005 by 2030, an initiative which 23% oppose—including 46% of Donald Trump voters.

President Biden also enjoys considerable support for his $2.1 trillion infrastructure investment proposal, with 46% saying they support and 28% saying they oppose the plans. Again, opposition is particularly heightened among Donald Trump voters (52%), reflecting the significant degree of fragmentation along partisan lines in the United States.

This partisan divide also exists more broadly on the question of Government spending, as 70% of Donald Trump voters and 23% of Joe Biden voters believe the current Government is spending too much. Overall, 44% say the Government is spending too much, 24% say the Government is spending about the right amount, and 12% say the Government is spending too little.

Just 100 days into his term as US President, Joe Biden has implemented many new policies that represent a distinct departure from his predecessor’s presidency, most of which have been met with considerable public support. Approval of both the President and the Vice President’s performances so far is relatively high, particularly when contrasted with Americans’ approval of Congressional Leaders. Although more than a year remains until the 2022 Congressional Elections, our latest results suggest that, if this election were held today, a greater proportion of Americans might vote for the Democratic Party than for the Republican Party.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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