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Biden begins term with 49 percent approval, new Marist poll finds

President BidenJoe BidenCensus results show White House doubling down on failure Poll: Americans back new spending, tax hikes on wealthy, but remain wary of economic impact True immigration reform requires compromise from both sides of the aisle MORE is beginning his term in the White House with the approval of roughly half of Americans, according to a new Marist poll released on Monday. 

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they approve of Biden’s job performance in the days since he took the oath of office, the poll found. Thirty-five percent, meanwhile, said they disapprove of the new president and 16 percent are unsure. 

The poll shows Biden starting his first term as president in a stronger position than former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's Facebook ban to stay in place, board rules Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud DOJ asks for outside lawyer to review Giuliani evidence MORE. The first Marist poll of Trump’s presidency, released in February 2017, showed the now-former president with only 39 percent approval. 

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Still, there remains a wide partisan divide in perceptions of Biden’s job performance. Ninety-one percent of Democrats gave the new president positive reviews, while 78 percent of Republicans said they disapprove of the job he’s doing in the White House.

Meanwhile, a plurality of independents — 46 percent — said they approve of Biden’s job performance so far, while 32 percent said they disapprove and 22 percent said they are unsure, according to the Marist poll. 

A majority of Americans — 55 percent — believe that Biden is doing more to unite the country than divide it. That includes 91 percent of Democrats, 54 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans. About one-third of respondents — 35 percent — said they believe Biden is worsening divisions in the U.S.

Biden is also seen by 47 percent of Americans as working to change the country for the better. Conversely, 32 percent said he is taking the U.S. in a worse direction, the poll found.

Still, that suggests that Americans generally have a more positive impression of Biden than they did of Trump after he took office.

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In February 2017, 38 percent of Americans said that Trump was taking the country in a more positive direction. Another 43 percent at the time said he was pushing the U.S. in the wrong direction. 

“In his first weeks in office, President Biden has achieved a higher approval rating than former President Trump did at any point in his four years,” Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Poll, said. “Yet, Biden still hopes to convince Americans who are on the fence, especially independents, and close the huge partisan divide. That is a more daunting challenge.”

The Marist poll is based on responses from 1,313 U.S. adults gathered from Jan. 24-27. The margin of sampling error is 3.3 percentage points.