WASHINGTON – After a surge in Covid-19 cases in the United States and bipartisan criticism of the chaos caused by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden’s overall job approval score fell below 50% among adults for the first time during his first presidency, according to a new NBC News poll.
The poll also finds that fewer Americans support Biden’s handling of the coronavirus and the economy now than they did last spring, and only a quarter of those polled approve of his handling of Afghanistan.
Survey results show the public has become more pessimistic about the coronavirus since April, the country remains divided over whether Covid-19 vaccines should be mandatory, and an electorate is divided over which political party should control Congress after the 2022 midterm.
It all produced a “summer of discontent” for Biden, said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.
“The April promise led to the August peril,” Horwitt said, arguing that Covid – more than Afghanistan – rocked Biden’s numbers. “It’s the domestic storm, the Covid Delta Wave, that’s causing more difficulty at this point here at home and for President Biden. “
“The best way to understand this poll is to forget about Afghanistan,” he said.
According to the survey, 49% of adults approve of Biden’s overall performance, while 48% disapprove.
That’s down from the April NBC News poll, when 53% of adults approved of Biden’s work and 39% disapproved of it – some of the biggest drops for Biden from freelancers, rural residents and white respondents.
Democrats, however, have remained stable, with 88% of them approving of Biden’s work (it was 90% in April).
Among a smaller sample of registered voters, Biden’s current job rating stands at 50% approval, 48% disapproval – down from April, when it was 51% of approve and 43% disapprove.
(Despite this drop for Biden, his approval rating is higher than that of former President Donald Trump in the poll throughout his presidency.)
In addition, the poll found that 53% of Americans approve of the president’s handling of the coronavirus (which is a drop of 16 points from April) and 47% approve of his management of the economy (a drop of 5 points from April). compared to spring).
And only 25% approve of Biden’s management of Afghanistan, while 60% disapprove.
The NBC News poll was conducted August 14-17 – before, during and after the fall of the Afghan capital, Kabul, to the Taliban.
While most Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of Afghanistan, they also oppose the 20-Year War there.
Sixty-one percent think the war was not worth it, compared to 29 percent who say it was – numbers virtually identical to the last question asked, in 2014.
An increasingly pessimistic public
What has also changed for Biden since April is a more pessimistic audience, according to the NBC News poll.
Overall, only 29% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction, which is a 7 point drop from the last poll.
A majority of Americans – 54% – say they are primarily worried and pessimistic about the country’s future, compared to 44% who say they are primarily optimistic and optimistic.
Only 24 percent describe the current state of the economy as excellent or good.
Regarding the coronavirus, 37% of those polled say the worst is behind us, while 42% say the worst is yet to come.
This is a significant reversal from April, when 61% of Americans said the worst was behind us, compared to 19% who said the worst was yet to come.
A nation deeply divided
Furthermore, the poll shows that deep divisions remain in the country, despite Biden’s call for unity in his inauguration speech.
Eighty-eight percent of Democrats approve of Biden’s overall performance, while 88 percent of Republicans disapprove. (The independents are split in the middle: 46% approve, 46% disapprove.)
Forty-seven percent of registered voters prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress, while 46 percent want Republicans in charge. (That’s down from the Democrats’ 5-point advantage on this issue in April.)
Fifty percent of Democrats rank the coronavirus as one of the most important issues facing the country (compared to 13 percent of Republicans who feel the same), while 51 percent of Republicans consider border security and l immigration as one of the main problems (compared to just 4% of Democrats).
Forty-eight percent of Americans argue that every eligible person should be vaccinated against Covid-19, compared with 50 percent who oppose it.
Even Dr.Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, receives divided ratings in the poll, with 40% of the public viewing him positively and 36% viewing him negatively. (In the poll from a year ago, Fauci’s rating was 50% positive, 13% negative.)
“We are still in a red and blue country – not a red, white and blue America,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart said.
Other survey results
- Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they have received a Covid-19 vaccine, while 13 percent say they will not receive it under any circumstances (the rest say they will receive it as soon as possible, will wait or will only receive it if needed).
- Forty percent say Biden has accomplished a lot or quite a bit as president, while 58% disagree.
- Thirty-five percent of Americans say the Covid relief legislation that was passed in March is helping or will improve the economy in the future, compared with 38 percent who think it won’t help or hurt the economy. economy; 27 percent have no opinion or are unsure.
The NBC News poll was conducted Aug. 14-17 among 1,000 adults – including 600 cell phone-only respondents – and the poll’s overall margin of error is plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.
Of the 790 registered voters the poll measured, the margin of error is plus-minus 3.5 percentage points.