After an eventful first seven months as President of the United States, the latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies finds that 46% approve and 36% disapprove of Joe Biden’s overall job performance as President. His net approval rating, at +10%, is two points lower than last month, when our polling on 2-3 August found 48% approved and 36% disapproved of Biden’s performance.
How Americans evaluate President Biden’s performance largely relates to how they voted in the 2020 Presidential Election, with 80% of Joe Biden voters approving and 75% of Donald Trump voters disapproving of the President.
Vice President Kamala Harris enjoys a similarly positive net approval rating of +7%, up two points since 2-3 August. In our latest poll, 41% approve, 34% disapprove, and 18% neither approve nor disapprove of Harris’ overall performance as Vice President of the United States. Once again, 2020 Biden voters (69%) are much more likely than 2020 Trump voters (15%) to approve, with 71% of the latter demographic rather disapproving. A notable fifth (21%) of Biden voters neither approve nor disapprove of Harris’ performance so far.
When it comes to the overall Joe Biden Administration, Americans are split on their assessments of its competency. 37% think the current Administration is competent, 37% think it is incompetent, and 13% think it is neither competent nor incompetent.
On matters of policy, respondents appear most satisfied with the Administration’s record on the coronavirus pandemic: half (49%) approve of the Joe Biden Administration’s response to the pandemic, including 81% of Biden voters and 23% of Trump voters, while 31% overall disapprove. In fact, the Administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is the policy area which consistently saw the greatest levels of approval when we polled the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Virginia between 20 and 24 August.
On the subject of Government handling of the pandemic, 43% (up 2% since 2-3 August) of Americans believe the Government is currently taking the right measures to address the pandemic, compared to 37% (down 5%) who do not think so, and 61% (up 3%) are satisfied with the country’s vaccination program, while 39% (down 3%) are not.
Approval of the Administration’s performance is also substantial with respect to its overall economic policies (45%) and unemployment policies (41%), whereas respective proportions of 35% disapprove of its record in each regard. A strong plurality of 40% approve of the Biden Administration’s environmental policies as well, compared to just 29% who disapprove, producing a +11% net approval rating. By comparison, the Administration’s performance on the environment was given a net approval rating of +17% in California and -3% in Pennsylvania.
In other policy areas, Americans display more division in their opinions of the Joe Biden Administration’s performance. 34% approve and 31% disapprove of its housing policies, while 36% approve and 35% disapprove of its crime/policing policies.
Approval is split on matters of foreign policy as well, as 34% approve and 33% disapprove of the Administration’s relations with Russia, 34% approve and 36% disapprove of its relations with China, and 35% both approve and disapprove of its defence policies. Defence is the only area to have seen a meaningful change in responses since 2-3 August, when net approval was seven points higher at +7%. This deterioration of approval for the Administration’s defence policies may relate to the recent withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s subsequent takeover of the country. The Administration’s performance on defence is viewed particularly poorly by residents of Florida (-17% net), Texas (-18% net), and Wisconsin (-20% net), of the ten states polled in late August.
Immigration is the policy area that sees the greatest proportion of Americans in disapproval, with 39% disapproving and 35% approving of the Joe Biden Administration’s performance on immigration. For 2020 Donald Trump voters, disapproval increases to 75% of the demographic, compared to 11% of 2020 Joe Biden voters. When we again look at respondents in the ten states we polled previously, immigration is the area which draws the greatest disapproval in each, ranging from 40% in California to 54% in Wisconsin.
On the whole, Americans’ views of the Biden Administration are most favourable with respect to its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, and the environment and least favourable with respect to immigration. Our research finds that many of these policy areas are poised to be important in the next Presidential Election: when asked to select up to three issues that are most likely to determine how they vote in the 2024 Presidential Election, 46% select healthcare, 36% select unemployment and wages, 30% select immigration, and 27% select the environment as determinative election issues.
Roughly a fifth of respondents also identify government spending (23%), housing and homelessness (21%), foreign policy and defence (21%), and policing and crime (20%) as issues that are likely to determine how they vote.
For 2020 Joe Biden voters, healthcare is by far the most-selected issue, with 60% choosing this option. The environment (42%) is the next most popular 2024 Presidential Election issue, followed by unemployment and wages (34%). By contrast, the most important election issue for 2020 Donald Trump voters is immigration (52%), along with unemployment and wages (37%), healthcare (35%), and government spending (34%). On the latter topic, 72% of Trump voters think the Government is currently spending too much, as do 25% of Biden voters.
Looking ahead to 2024, our hypothetical voting intention polling finds that, after weighting by likelihood to vote, 45% say they would vote for Joe Biden and 42% say they would vote for Donald Trump if they were to be the candidates in the 2024 Presidential Election. A further 10% of respondents say they don’t know how they would vote in this scenario.
The vast majority of 2020 Donald Trump voters (89%) and Joe Biden voters (87%) say they would again vote for their respective candidates, indicating that most Americans have not yet changed their minds on either individual so far this year.