Majority of Americans view Biden’s anti-MAGA speech as divisive: poll

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave after a speech outside Independence Hall, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

A majority of voters say they view President Biden’s speech earlier this month in Philadelphia in which he said the GOP is “dominated, driven and intimidated” by MAGA Republicans as divisive, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll shared exclusively with The Hill. 

Sixty percent of respondents said Biden’s speech divided the country and held it back, while 40 percent said the speech united the nation and moved it forward. Another 56 percent opposed the address, while 44 percent said they supported it. 

Earlier this month at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Biden warned that former President Trump and so-called “MAGA Republicans” who back his views and “Make America Great Again” agenda pose a grave threat to the country’s democratic values. 

“As I stand here tonight equality and democracy are under assault,” Biden said. “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

While the address garnered praise from Democrats and the president’s supporters, Republicans were quick to call the speech overly political. 

The Harvard CAPS-Harris poll found that 54 percent of respondents said the address “was an example of fear-mongering,” while 46 percent said the president’s fears expressed in the speech were “justified.” 

“Joe Biden is facing a backlash from his speech that was viewed as divisive,” said Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey. “While it pleased Democrats and even may have energized them, most voters saw the speech as inappropriate. 

Last month, Biden also made headlines at a fundraiser when he likened the “MAGA” wing of the GOP to fascism. Fifty-six percent of respondents said Biden’s comments were “inappropriate,” while 44 percent said they were “appropriate.” 

However, Biden is by no means the only politician facing heat from critics for his recent political rhetoric. During a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, Trump referred to Biden as an “enemy of the state” and called for his supporters to to smash the grip of this vile and vindictive political class.” 

​​The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey was conducted Sept. 7-8 and surveyed 1,885 registered voters. It was a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.

The survey was an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it did not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden MAGA Republicans Mark Penn Mark Penn Philadelphia Poll President Biden The Harris Poll

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