Nearly two out of every three Americans say they are optimistic about the direction the country is headed over the next year, according to a new survey taken after President Joe Biden finished his first 100 days in office.
The poll by ABC News/Ipsos found that public opinion was sharply divided along party lines with Democrats more likely to be optimistic while Republicans reported being pessimistic about the nation’s short-term future.
In the survey taken between April 30 and May 1, 64 per cent said they were optimistic about the direction of the country over the next 12 months.
Just over one-third – or 36 per cent – described themselves as pessimistic.
The survey of 513 adults also found that a majority of Americans – 52 per cent – believe that at the moment it is more important to have ‘the federal government spend money to help the economy, even if it increases taxes.’
Slightly less than half of those surveyed – 47 per cent – believe that tax rates should stay the same, ‘even if it means not spending money to help the economy.’
President Joe Biden is seen above in Duluth, Georgia on Thursday. An ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that some two-thirds of Americans are optimistic that the country is headed in the right direction over the next 12 months
In the survey taken between April 30 and May 1, 64 per cent said they were optimistic about the direction of the country over the next 12 months. Just over one-thirds – or 36 per cent – described themselves as pessimistic
Opinion on taxes also depends on party affiliation. Nearly four in five Republicans – 78 per cent – want to keep taxes at the same rate while 80 per cent of Democrats think it’s more important for the government to spend money.
Among whites, there is a virtual even split, while a majority of Americans who identify as non-white say federal spending is needed to help the economy.
In March, Biden signed into law a COVID-19 relief package totaling $1.9trillion. It included stimulus checks, unemployment assistance, aid to local governments and states, nutrition assistance, and tax credits.
Biden and the Democrats are now proposing a massive infrastructure spending bill that could cost upwards of $2.3trillion.
The ABC News/Ipsos poll also shows that Biden is perceived among a majority of Americans as willing to compromise with Republicans while the GOP is viewed as not doing enough to meet the president halfway.
According to the poll, 51 per cent of Americans said Biden is doing ‘the right amount’ to compromise with the opposition party. Nearly two in five – 39 per cent – say the president is doing too little to reach across the aisle.
When asked about Republican willingness to compromise with the president, 22 per cent say the GOP is doing ‘the right amount’ while two-thirds – or 67 per cent – say the party is doing ‘too little.’
Last week, polling by Reuters/Ipsos found that more than half of Americans approve of Biden, a level of support that his Republican predecessor Donald Trump never achieved and one that should help Democrats push for infrastructure spending and other big-ticket items on Biden’s agenda.
Last week, polling by Reuters/Ipsos found that more than half of Americans approve of Biden
The survey found that Biden received high marks from Democrats though he was viewed less favorably by independents. Republicans have an overwhelmingly negative view of Biden’s job performance
Biden’s base of support includes minority voters who make up the core of the Democratic Party coalition. White voters appear to be evenly split on Biden’s job performance, according to polling
The national opinion poll of 4,423 adults from April 12-16 found that 55 per cent approved of Biden’s performance in office, while 40 per cent disapproved and the rest were not sure.
Biden received the highest marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with 65 per cent supporting his response.
In January, 38 per cent approved of Trump’s handling of the health crisis.
Ninety-percent of Democrats, 61 per cent of independents and 39 per cent of Republicans said they approved of Biden’s response, the poll showed.
Fifty-two percent of Americans also said they liked Biden’s handling of the economy and 53 per cent said the same about his impact on US jobs, which in both cases were a few percentage points higher than Trump’s marks on jobs and the economy during his final month in office.
But Biden received his strongest criticism on immigration, as his administration continues to grapple with a surge of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border: 42 per cent approved of the president’s border policy, while 49 per cent disapproved.
More than half gave Biden strong marks for bipartisanship, though Democrats were much more likely than others to credit Biden for unifying the deeply divided electorate.
Biden received the highest marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with 65 per cent supporting his response
President Biden’s toughest numbers were on immigration and border situation: 42 per cent approved of the president’s border policy, while 49 per cent disapproved – above asylum seeking migrants illegally cross the Rio Grande River in rafts to surrender to the United States Border Patrol in Roma, Texas
Fifty-six percent approved of Biden’s efforts, including 88 per cent of Democrats, 23 per cent of Republicans and 48 per cent of independents.
Americans were also generally supportive of Biden’s stance on the environment and racial inequality, with 54 per cent and 51 per cent approving of his record so far, respectively.
Biden is benefiting somewhat from circumstances that are beyond his control.
He had months to prepare his pandemic response before becoming president, and some coronavirus vaccines were already in use before his January 20 inauguration.
Biden’s economy also has the advantage of being compared against the 2020 pandemic recession, when employers shed millions of jobs as COVID-19 shuttered businesses and schools.
Still, Biden’s approval numbers reflect popular support for his ambitious agenda, including a $1.9trillion economic stimulus package and should help him pursue other initiatives, said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University.
Biden is now pushing for a $2trillion infrastructure plan that many Republicans oppose, and he is expected to propose tax hikes on the wealthy to raise money for childcare and other programs for American workers.
His popularity will help Biden keep his party together, Zelizer said, blunting malcontents on both the progressive and moderate wings of the party, and possibly tempering opposition from some Republicans, especially those in politically competitive states.
Lyna Sandau, a 75-year-old Republican from New York City, said she admires how Biden has aggressively supplied the United States with vaccines.
Sandau voted for Trump last year, but if the election were held again, she would probably back Biden.
‘What can I say, he seems to be trying,’ she said.
Republicans largely oppose Biden, with only about 20 per cent supporting the president, but those numbers have not changed much over the past year.
Biden so far has been able to counter that with near-unanimous approval among Democrats and strong support among independents.
About 90 per cent of Democrats approve of Biden, while 8 per cent disapprove. Among independents, 51 per cent approve and 39 per cent disapprove.
Most presidents enjoy at least a brief period of elevated popularity, and Trump’s favorability numbers also rose when he entered office four years ago.
But they declined a few weeks later as he pushed to ban travel from Muslim countries.
Biden’s popularity, meanwhile, has grown over the past year among a broad cross-section of the American population, not only among the white college graduates who helped put him in the White House, but also among the traditionally conservative non-college whites who still dominate the electorate in many places.
According to the April poll, 61 per cent of white college graduates and 46 per cent of whites who did not get a degree said they have a favorable view of the president, which is up 7 points and 6 points, respectively, from a year ago.
Biden also has become more popular over the past year among racial minorities, with 68 per cent of Hispanics expressing a favorable view of Biden, up 12 points from last April.
The latest poll also shows more Americans – 40 per cent – think the country is headed in the right direction than at any other time in the last decade.
That is about as good as a Democrat should expect in such a hyper-partisan political environment, said Robert Shrum, a Democratic strategist and political scientist at the University of Southern California.
Republicans will likely continue to oppose Biden en masse, Shrum said.
But Democrats could counter by pushing for policy initiatives that are popular among conservatives too, such as rebuilding roads and expanding internet access.
‘It is very useful to have Republicans who may not give you a high job rating out in the country agree with some of or many of the steps that you want to take,’ Shrum said.