Biden's approval tops 60 percent in new poll

President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE is starting his tenure in White House with the approval of 61 percent of voters, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill on Monday.

Biden’s initial approval numbers are markedly higher than those of former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE when he first took office. The first Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of Trump’s presidency, conducted in February 2017, showed his approval rating at 48 percent.

Only about 39 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the job Biden is doing in the White House, according to the poll. 

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There’s a relatively wide partisan divide in early perceptions of Biden’s presidency, with an overwhelming majority of Democrats approving of his job performance and most Republicans disapproving. Still, nearly one-third of GOP voters  31 percent  said they approve of Biden’s handling of his job. 

Biden’s approval rating is accompanied by a rise in approval for his party as a whole. Overall, 55 percent of respondents said they approve of the Democratic Party, marking a 7-point increase since January, when slightly less than half of those surveyed gave the party a positive review.

Approval of the GOP, meanwhile, is trailing that of the Democrats, coming in at 44 percent, according to the survey.

“Unlike Trump, president Biden is having a honeymoon along with the Democrats,” Mark PennMark PennEx-Clinton strategist: Va. results show Democrats 'have gone too far to the left on key issues for educated suburban voters' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Did Democrats misread voters' 2020 call for change? Trump leads in hypothetical 2024 GOP primary: poll MORE, the director of the Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey, said. “The country is turning to them and giving them the opportunity to get the country vaccinated and the economy moving. It’s not the biggest of honeymoons but it’s still a real opportunity for the party and presidency to grow.” 

There’s also been a positive shift in the overall direction of the country since Biden entered the White house. Forty-seven percent still believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, though that’s down from 63 percent in January. Conversely, the percentage of voters who say the country is on the right track rose from 27 percent last month to 43 percent in late February.

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Confidence in the economy also appears to be strengthening after taking a massive hit last year as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S. 

Forty percent of voters said that the economy is on the right track, compared to 45 percent who said it’s on the wrong track. That’s still a major improvement over recent months. In January, for instance, only 29 percent said the economy was heading in the right direction, while 58 percent said it was on the wrong track. 

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 2,006 registered voters was conducted from Feb. 23 to 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.