Poll: Biden approval remains steady amid struggles with immigration, foreign affairs

President Biden is still enjoying a post-inauguration honeymoon more than two months into his first term, but there are signs that it may be coming to an end.

A new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill on Monday found approval of the president’s job performance hovering at 61 percent, unchanged from this time in February. Likewise, Biden’s disapproval remains relatively low at 39 percent, the same as it was in a similar poll fielded last month. 

Biden’s consistent approval rating is accompanied by a slight uptick in approval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey found that 71 percent of voters approve of how he has reacted to the outbreak, up 3 points since February, before Congress passed a massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package to address the fallout from COVID-19. 

On other fronts, however, Biden’s approval has ticked downward. A majority of voters still approve of his handling of foreign policy, though that number now stands at 56 percent, down from 61 percent last month. 

Immigration is the president’s biggest vulnerability, according to the poll. Forty-eight percent of respondents approve of his handling of the issue, an 8-point decrease since February. Immigration is the only issue on which Biden’s approval stands below the 50-percent mark.

Still, on most fronts, Biden receives higher marks than former President Trump did in his final month in the White House.

On the economy, Biden gets 60 percent approval compared to the 56 percent Trump received in a January Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey. Likewise, when it comes to administering the government, 60 percent say they approve of the job Biden is doing. Trump scored 49 percent on that front before he left office.

And for the first time in the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll’s roughly four-year history, more voters say the country is on the “right track” than the “wrong track.” Forty-six percent of respondents gave the country’s overall direction a positive review compared to 43 percent who said it is on the “wrong track.”

Voters are split when it comes to their perception of the U.S. economy. Forty-two percent said that the economy is heading in the right direction, while just as many said it is heading in the wrong direction. 

That’s still a significant improvement since Jan. 21, when 58 percent said the economy was on the “wrong track” and only 29 percent said it was on the “right track.”

“Biden continues to enjoy a honeymoon based on voters liking him personally, improving numbers on the economy and support for his actions on the virus,” Mark Penn, the director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, said. 

“There are some storms brewing in the horizon but his early low-key communications combined with strong actions has put him in a good opening light.”

Most voters also say they approve of the way the Democratic Party is handling its job – 53 percent, according to the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey. Another 47 percent disapprove. Still, that represents a slight downward shift for the party since last month, when 55 percent of voters approved of its job performance and 45 percent disapproved.

Approval of the GOP, meanwhile, remains underwater, with 54 percent disapproving and 46 percent approving. 

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 1,945 registered voters was conducted from March 24-25. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags approval rating Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Harvard Harris poll Joe Biden Mark Penn Pandemic Polling

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