In the two months since Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States, his administration has made considerable progress in implementing its agenda, part of which includes scrapping policies introduced by his predecessor, Donald Trump. In the latest poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, a majority (53%) of Americans say they approve of Joe Biden’s overall job performance since he became President, while 35% disapprove.
A majority or strong plurality of all age groups indicated that they approve of President Biden’s job performance. Disapproval is highest among those aged 65 and over at 42%, but this figure is still lower than the proportion of the age group that approves of Biden’s performance (54%). However, only 14% of respondents who voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election said they approve of Joe Biden’s performance thus far, while a stunning 91% of Biden voters said they approve.
Whether or not they approve or disapprove of Joe Biden’s actions as President so far, a large majority (79%) of respondents believe his Presidency has been as they expected. Only 12% said that Joe Biden’s Presidency has so far not been as they expected.
One of the major initiatives President Biden has enacted since its inauguration is the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, which Biden signed into law on 11 March 2021. 61% of American respondents said they support the passing of the COVID-19 stimulus package, including majorities of all age groups and regions.
Of the nine policy measures introduced by President Joe Biden which we polled Americans on, opposition from 2020 Donald Trump voters was lowest in respect to the COVID-19 relief package. Still, a plurality (42%) of 2020 Trump voters oppose the stimulus package, although a considerable 33% support it. Meanwhile, 88% of 2020 Joe Biden voters support the COVID-19 stimulus package.
When Americans were asked about the cost of the stimulus package, 38% of respondents said the Government is spending about the right amount on the relief package. A considerable 31% of respondents think the Government is spending too much, whereas 14% think it is spending too little.
The result was slightly different when respondents were asked about a specific dimension of the stimulus package, wherein all individuals who earn up to $75,000 a year receive a direct, one-time payment of $1,400. 41% of respondents believe the $1,400 direct payment is about right, while just 16% believe the amount is too much. The proportion of respondents who believe the $1,400 direct payment is too little (28%) is higher than the proportion who think the overall price of the relief package is too little (14%), showing more Americans believe this particular aspect of the stimulus package is insufficient compared to the package as a whole.
A degree of bipartisan support exists for the $1,400 payment: a plurality (32%) of 2020 Donald Trump voters said they believe the $1,400 direct payment was the right amount, while 28% said it was too little, and 26% said it was too much. Compared to other policies introduced under President Biden, this specific aspect of the COVID-19 relief package appears to have more support from Donald Trump voters.
The perception that Joe Biden’s administration might not be spending enough to address the economic repercussions of the pandemic is highest among 45-to-54-year-olds, 24% of whom think the Government is spending too little on the relief package, and 33% of whom think the $1,400 payment is too little.
While the coronavirus pandemic has dominated the first months of Joe Biden’s Presidency, he has also implemented a number of policies unrelated to the pandemic—most of them through Executive Orders. One of such initiatives was to re-join the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which the US had withdrawn from under President Donald Trump. Our research finds that 53% of American respondents support Joe Biden’s measures to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement, with 34% strongly supporting it. A quarter (26%) opposes the decision.
Americans’ support for this measure varies considerably with age, with support for the US re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement being highest among 35-to-44-year-olds (60%) and lowest among 55-to-64-year-olds (43%).
Joe Biden’s decision to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement has the support of the large majority (84%) of respondents who voted for him in 2020. Meanwhile, 55% of 2020 Donald Trump voters oppose re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement.
During his Presidency, Donald Trump also began the process of withdrawing the US from the World Health Organization (WHO), a process which Joe Biden has since reversed. 50% of respondents support stopping the American withdrawal from the WHO, whereas 29% oppose it.
Of the nine measures taken by Joe Biden which we polled Americans on, the initiatives to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement and to stop the American withdrawal from the WHO have the greatest overall levels of support, indicating Biden’s efforts to engage with international forums are some of his relatively more popular initiatives so far.
A plurality (46%) of Americans also support Joe Biden’s order to repeal Donald Trump’s ban on transgender Americans joining the military, though a considerable 30% oppose the order.
Opposition to repealing the ban forbidding transgender Americans from joining the military is highest among respondents aged 65 and over, 39% of whom oppose the measure—including 30% who oppose it strongly. That being said, a plurality of all age groups support Biden’s order to repeal the ban on transgender Americans joining the military.
Another policy initiative introduced by Joe Biden that has the support of a plurality of respondents from all age groups and regions is one regarding the use of private prisons: 43% of respondents support Joe Biden’s Executive Order to end the Justice Department’s use of private prisons, a measure which 24% oppose.
About half (49%) of 2020 Donald Trump voters oppose Biden’s efforts to end the Justice Department’s use of private prisons, a practice which began before Trump’s presidency. By contrast, 70% of 2020 Joe Biden voters support the measure.
President Biden has also made changes to some immigration policies in the US, including extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which aims to protect individuals who were unlawfully brought to the US as children from being deported. Our latest research finds that 49% of respondents support and 29% oppose Joe Biden’s extension of the DACA program.
Opposition to Joe Biden’s extension of DACA is highest among respondents aged 65 and over (40%),although pluralities of respondents in all age groups support the measure.
A substantial 57% of 2020 Donald Trump voters oppose the decision to extend the DACA program, though this is significantly lower than the proportion of Trump voters who oppose two of Biden’s other immigration-related policies.
Another one of such immigration policies introduced by Joe Biden is to end the construction of the border wall with Mexico started by Donald Trump. 44% of respondents support stopping construction of the Mexican border wall, but 41% oppose it, revealing a significant division of public opinion on this matter.
2020 Donald Trump voters are strongly opposed to ending the construction of the border wall (77%), while a similar proportion for 2020 Joe Biden voters support it (76%).
However, there is significantly less overall support for Joe Biden’s re-instatement of the ‘catch and release’ policy which Donald Trump had ended. A plurality of 40% of respondents oppose re-instating the ‘catch and release’ policy, which involves releasing certain undocumented immigrants from custody while they await their immigration court proceedings. 36% support the policy’s reintroduction by President Biden.
Although the plurality of respondents overall oppose reinstating the ‘catch and release’ policy, a plurality of 25-to-34-year-olds (44%) and 35-to-44-year-olds (48%) support the policy. Conversely, relatively higher proportions of 55-to-64-year-olds (49%) and 65-and-overs (47%) oppose Joe Biden’s reintroduction of the ‘catch and release’ policy.
2020 Donald Trump voters strongly oppose the effort to bring back the ‘catch and release’ policy (76%). While a majority (58%) of Joe Biden voters support reinstating ‘catch and release,’ this proportion is substantially lower than the share of Biden voters who support all of the other Biden policies we polled. Therefore, it seems President Biden’s order to reinstate the policy of ‘catch and release’ is one of his least popular policies, even among those who voted for him.
The other order made by President Biden that a plurality (40%) of respondents oppose is the revoking of the Keystone XL Pipeline permit. 37% of respondents, however, support the measure.
Answers again vary depending on respondents’ age: support for revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline permit is highest among 25-to-34-year-olds (48%) and 35-to-44-year-olds (47%), and lowest among 55-to-64-year-olds. The move to revoke the Keystone XL Pipeline permit is supported by 64% of Joe Biden voters, which again is lower than such voters’ support for other policies implemented by Biden, but still forms a considerable majority. On the other hand, two-thirds (77%) of those who voted for Donald Trump—who supported the pipeline—oppose Biden’s order to stop its construction.
Overall, President Joe Biden currently has the approval of a majority of respondents, with Americans particularly supporting his COVID-19 stimulus package and his efforts to re-join in the Paris Climate Agreement and the WHO. Pluralities of respondents also support Biden’s policies on repealing the ban on transgender Americans joining the military, ending the Justice Department’s use of private prisons, extending the DACA program, and stopping construction of the Mexican border well. However, there is considerable opposition to Biden’s decisions to reinstate the ‘catch and release’ policy and revoke the Keystone XL Pipeline permit—opposition which is significantly heightened among those who voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 Election.
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.