Biden approval takes a hit as coronavirus surges, poll shows

President Biden and Congress’s job approval are taking a hit amid a resurgence of the coronavirus. 

A Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released Monday found Biden’s approval dropping to 52 percent. He may still be above water — only 43 percent of respondents disapprove of the job he’s doing in the Oval Office — but he’s down 10 points from where he was in June, when his approval was at 62 percent.

Congress doesn’t rate any better among voters. Forty-five percent say they approve of the way lawmakers are doing their jobs, down 9 points from June. Disapproval of Congress, meanwhile, rose from 46 percent in June to 55 percent in July, according to the poll. 

Both the GOP and the Democratic Party are underwater, with disapproval of each rising to 52 percent and approval falling to 48 percent. 

The across-the-board drop in approval comes amid broader concerns about the direction of the country, which has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks as the more-contagious delta variant takes hold as the dominant strain in the U.S.

That resurgence has put the coronavirus pandemic back at the top of the list of voters’ concerns, according to the poll. Thirty-six percent say that COVID-19 is the most important issue facing the country, a 6-point increase from June when jobs and the economy topped the list of concerns.

The percentage of respondents who say that the country is on the right track fell to 46 percent last month after peaking at 53 percent in June, according to Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll. The percentage who believe the country is on the wrong track simultaneously rose to 47 percent after dropping to 39 percent in June. 

Optimism about the U.S. economy fared even worse in the poll, with the number of respondents who say it’s on the right track falling to 43 percent from 49 percent in June. Forty-nine percent now say the economy is on the wrong track, up from 42 percent in June.

To be sure, most voters surveyed — 53 percent — believe that the U.S. economy remains strong, compared to 47 percent who say it is weak. 

And while Biden’s approval rating trended downward in July, it remains higher than that of his predecessor, former President Trump, who never broke 50 percent in a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll surveys.

Still, Mark Penn, the co-director of Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, said Biden’s latest approval numbers signal that his post-inauguration “honeymoon … is officially over.”

“Overall the country has come down from its mood highs as the Delta variant is putting a crimp in America’s plan to party now and go back to work after Labor Day,” Penn said. 

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 1,788 registered voters was conducted from July 28-29. 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. Respondents are recruited via voter panel providers on a randomized basis, and their responses are then weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative poll conducted online, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Biden approval rating Coronavirus COVID-19 Delta variant Donald Trump Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll Joe Biden Mark Penn presidential approval

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