(Trends Wide) — The tentatively positive public outlook that marked the first months of the Biden administration has faded, according to a new Trends Wide poll conducted by SSRS. The survey, released on Friday, finds a growing proportion of Americans saying that things in the United States are bad and that the economy is in bad shape, with increased concerns about the coronavirus, the economy and crime.
The new poll finds that 69% of Americans say things in the country are going badly today, down from the pandemic-era high of 77%, reached in January, just before President Joe Biden took office. charge, but well above the 60% who felt that way in a March Trends Wide poll.
And 62% say economic conditions in the US are bad, compared to 45% in April, and almost as high as the pandemic-era peak of 65%, reached in May 2020.
The survey, which was conducted using a different methodology than previous Trends Wide surveys, was conducted primarily online and over a period of about a month.
Biden’s approval rating stands at 52% approving and 48% disapproving, with disapproval increasing since April. The poll ran throughout August and early September, and Biden’s ratings changed during that time, with his approval rating in the first half of August (55%) more positive than in subsequent interviews (50%).
Growing pessimism about the trajectory of the United States and its economy cuts across partisan lines, but the rise in disapproval of Biden seems concentrated among independents. While 43% of them disapproved of the way Biden was handling his job in an April Trends Wide poll, that figure is now 54%. Among supporters, Biden’s numbers remain the same as in April.
August saw several major challenges for the Biden administration, including a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the US and a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Taliban quickly took control of the country. In interviews conducted after the fall of Kabul in mid-August, the new poll shows that Biden’s approval rating is 50% approving to 50% disapproving, with his approval rating among independents, in the survey. , falling from 51% approval, in the first part of the field period, to 42% in the last segment.
Vice President Kamala Harris’s approval rating matches Biden’s, with 52% approval and 48% disapproval, marking a 10-point increase in disapproval, compared to April.
The poll shows a significant decline since April in Biden’s approval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, 56% approve of the way he’s handling it, up from 66% in April. That change comes amid widespread concern about the virus.
Americans’ concerns about the coronavirus pandemic in their local community are at a higher level than last summer, before vaccines against the virus were available, and 70% now say they are very or somewhat concerned in compared to 60% last summer. Democrats continue to express deepest concern about the pandemic (58% are very concerned), but acute concern has risen among Republicans, from 9% late last summer to 27% now.
At the same time, 77% of Americans say they are concerned about the state of the economy in their community, a steep rise from 58% who said the same thing last summer. That rise is largely due to a negative shift among Republicans (from 28% concerned last year to 85% concerned now), but most parties express concern about the economy (70% among Democrats, 76 % among independents) and general assessments that the state of the economy has worsened since the spring. In April, 54% said the economy was in good shape, the first time that figure had crossed 50% since before the pandemic started, but now, only 38% say the economy is in good shape, with declining ratings coming from both Democrats and Republicans.
The survey also finds an increase in concern about the risk of crime in the communities where respondents live – 57% now say they are concerned, compared to 37% at the end of last summer. That shift has also come along party lines, with up to 26 points of concern among Republicans, 20 points among Democrats and 16 points among independents.
The coronavirus (36%) and the economy (20%) are most often mentioned as the most important problems facing the country. No other topic is mentioned in an open question by more than 9% of Americans. And when Americans are asked to name the number one economic problem their family faces today, inflation and the cost of living are the number one overwhelming problem, with 43% mentioning something related to inflation or the cost of living. as your most urgent problem.
Although only 4% cite a crime or gun related problem as the most important problem facing the country, the majority of Americans (55%) say that it is very important to them that the federal government address the increase in crime. gun violence, slightly above the group that says it is important for the government to enact stricter laws to counter racist policies and institutions (52% very important) and take aggressive measures to curb the effects of climate change (51 %).
About half say it is very important for the federal government to make a significant investment to improve infrastructure (49%) or pass legislation that expands access to voting (47%). A similar proportion, 49%, say it is very important that the federal government take action to stop the movement of undocumented immigrants to the United States.
However, Americans’ perception of the importance of these issues is deeply divided by party.
Among Democrats, roughly 8 in 10 say it is very important to counter racist policies, tackle gun violence, curb climate change and expand access to the vote, while fewer than 3 in 10 Republicans say the same. Republicans view stopping the flow of undocumented immigrants as much more important than Democrats, at 84% versus 22%.
Americans express widespread anger at how things are going in the US, with 74% saying they are at least somewhat angry about things in the country today. That’s as widespread as last summer, but the feeling is less intense now. While 51% described themselves as “very angry” last year, only 26% feel the same now, right between the level of intense anger measured in the first years of Donald Trump’s presidencies (31%) and Barack Obama (23%).
The partisan dynamics behind those angry feelings has changed in the last year. Anger has risen nearly 20 points among Republicans, while it has dropped nearly 30 points among Democrats, but even with those changes, most party supporters say they are at least somewhat angry at the state of America today. .
The new Trends Wide poll was conducted by SSRS from August 3 to September 7, among a random national sample of 2,119 adults, initially contacted by mail. Interviews were conducted online or by phone with a live interviewer. The full sample results have a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
The change in methodology means that changes in results compared to previous Trends Wide polls may be due, at least in part, to differences in the ways respondents answer questions when they complete a survey themselves online vs. when speaking to an interviewer on the phone and in increasing the number of respondents who comment on most questions.
Earlier this year, some self-administered polls found higher ratings and lower no-opinion responses when asking about Biden’s approval rating than some phone polls.
For example, in April, around the 100 days of Biden’s presidency, when many pollsters were conducting research around the same time, the AP-NORC Center poll, which, like Trends Wide’s new poll, is conducted primarily online with Some telephone interviews found that Biden’s approval rating was 63%, and a CBS News / YouGov poll, conducted entirely online around the same time, pegged his approval rating at 58%. Trends Wide’s April telephone poll came in at a lower approval rating of 53%, with a higher proportion expressing no opinion on the Biden presidency.
Both CBS News and AP-NORC published polls in late August, showing single-digit drops in Biden’s approval ratings. Polls conducted by phone during that same time have shown similar size drops in Biden’s approval numbers, including an 8-point change in the ABC News / Washington Post poll and a 10-point drop in NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist.