Details of Biden's economic agenda struggling to reach voters: poll

Details of Biden's economic agenda struggling to reach voters: poll
© Getty Images

President BidenJoe BidenGOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips Five House members meet with Taiwanese president despite Chinese objections Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE's signature economic agenda item is popular with a majority of voters, a new poll shows, but many of them are still unfamiliar with the details of the plan, underscoring the messaging difficulty the White House has had around the large-scale package.

A Navigator poll released Friday found 62 percent of registered voters support Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda when it’s described as a $3.5 trillion package to provide family and medical leave, fund universal prekindergarten, expand Medicare coverage and lower the cost of drug prices.

That includes support from 91 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independent voters, the poll found. Thirty-two percent of Republicans support the agenda when described in those terms, compared to 59 percent of GOP voters who oppose it.


The poll also found support among an overwhelming majority of Democrats and 49 percent of Republicans when it's explained the package would be paid for via increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations and with tougher IRS enforcement. 

Despite the popularity of the broad contours of Biden's agenda, however, the poll found details of the plan have yet to break through for most Americans, including Democrats.

Only 1 in 5 voters have heard “a lot” about the legislation, the poll found, including just 13 percent of independents. Roughly one-third of Democrats, one-third of independents and one-third of Republicans said they've heard “some” about the plan.

Among independents, 55 percent said they've heard either “not much” or nothing at all about the Build Back Better plan.

The poll was conducted by Navigator, a left-leaning research group, from Oct. 7-11 and surveyed 1,001 registered voters.

The survey's findings reflect how the White House believes its economic agenda is widely popular with voters, but it has been difficult to streamline the massive spending package into a clear and concise message.

Biden has traveled the country to tout different aspects of it, and he will visit Connecticut on Friday to specifically focus on the child care benefits in the package.

Further complicating messaging efforts, the final look of the reconciliation bill is still being negotiated. Biden has acknowledged $3.5 trillion is not going to be the final price tag after pushback from Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell pick Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaPragmatic bipartisanship – not hard left intolerance – is Democrats' surest path back to power With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (D-Ariz.), whose votes in the Senate are necessary to get the bill passed.

But progressives have dug in on their priorities and called Manchin's proposed price tag of $1.5 trillion too small, leaving negotiations stalled despite calls from congressional leaders to get the package finalized by the end of the month.