President’s approval lands at 72% for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, numerically higher than the 68% of Americans who said the same thing earlier this month just before Congress passed his agenda $ 1.9 trillion relief plan, its first major legislative achievement. Only 28% disapprove of his response in the poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.
A clear majority of Americans (60%) also approve of Biden’s stewardship to fix the besieged economy, which continues to be hampered by the coronavirus, and nearly 4 in 10 Americans disapprove.
Biden’s stance on the pandemic is underpinned by overwhelming support from those who identify with his party, with around 9 in 10 Democrats endorsing his handling of the public health crisis (96%), administering vaccines (92 %) and the economic response (89%). Strong independent majorities also approve of Biden on all three fronts: 74%, 77% and 63%, respectively.
Notably, in these polarized times, a majority of Republicans (53%) also approve of Biden’s handling of vaccine distribution. Less than half, however, positively view its overall response to the pandemic (44%) and its leadership on the economy (23%).
Biden, meanwhile, faces early testing in his first two months in office, finding himself underwater for his handling of gun violence after two mass shootings in a week and the influx of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, which brought at least 18,000 unaccompanied children into US custody.
An equal 57% of Americans disapprove of his approach on both issues, while just over 4 in 10 Americans agree.
“They’ve been around for a long time. And what we’re going to be able to do, God willing, is now start one at a time to focus on those as well, ”he said at the first press conference on Thursday.
“Successful presidents – better than me – have been successful, in large part, because they know how to time what they’re doing – command it, decide and prioritize what needs to be done,” he later added.
Republicans grasp the flow of migrants to the southern border as a “crisis” – a term White House aides have refused to use while acknowledging the troubling circumstances – and blame the current administration’s hasty return of policies severe immigration policies implemented by former President Donald Trump as the cause.
A majority of Americans (54%) call the situation on the US-Mexico border a crisis, and 42% think it is a serious problem but not a crisis. Only 4% of Americans say it’s not a serious problem.
The immigration issue is one of the most polarizing among those included in the poll, with a clear majority of Republicans (89%) and Independents (54%) disapproving of Biden, while a third of Democrats say the same thing.
Likewise, Biden’s handling of gun violence elicits disapproval from 86% of Republicans, 56% of Independents and 37% of Democrats – the greatest dissatisfaction among members of his own party with the issues raised in the survey. Disapproval on both sides is likely seen by Republicans as pursuing too many gun restrictions and by some Democrats as not acting fast enough.
The president suggested on Thursday that he would not devote his political capital to gun control reform at this time, a view that seems at odds with most countries. About two-thirds of Americans polled said passing new laws to try to reduce gun violence should be a higher priority now, while 34% believe protecting gun rights should come first.
Biden has repeatedly stressed the desire to unify the country after four years with a divisive Trump at the helm, but so far he has made little progress.
While 30% of Americans think Biden makes the country more united, the same percentage thinks he makes it more divided. A plurality of 40% consider its presidency to be neutral on national unity.
Almost two-thirds of Republicans (66%) believe Biden further divides the country, and a total 33% say he improves unity (5%) or has no effect (28%). Among Democrats, 95% say Biden either makes the country more united (55%) or has no effect either way (40%), while 5% say he perpetuates the divisions. The self-employed are more divided: 28% say more united, 26% say more divided and 46% say neither.
This ABC News / Ipsos survey was conducted by KnowledgePanel® of Ipsos Public Affairs from March 26 to 27, 2021, in English and Spanish, on a random national sample of 517 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of 4.9 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-26-36%, Democrats-Republicans-Independents. View the main survey results and methodology details here.
Dan Merkle and Ken Goldstein of ABC News contributed to this report.