In the first months of his presidency, majorities of Americans say a number of positive descriptions apply to Joe Biden. And Biden draws public confidence on most issues, especially his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
About two-thirds of adults (66%) say the phrase “stands up for what he believes in” describes Biden very or fairly well, and 62% say he cares about the needs of ordinary people.
Majorities also describe Biden as a good role model (58%), honest (57%) and mentally sharp (54%).
There are sizable partisan differences in these evaluations. Overwhelming shares of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say each positive trait describes Biden well.
Among Republicans and Republican leaners, opinions about Biden vary more widely across different traits and characteristics. While more than a third (36%) say Biden stands up for his personal beliefs, smaller shares say that other positive descriptions apply to him.
There have been only modest changes in evaluations of Biden’s personal traits and characteristics since October. Democrats have become somewhat more likely to view Biden positively, while Republicans’ attitudes about Biden have not changed significantly.
Confidence in Biden to handle important issues also is divided by partisanship. Among seven topic areas included in the survey, Biden engenders the most confidence – among Republicans and Democrats alike – for his handling of the public health impact of the c0ronavirus outbreak.
Overall, 65% of adults say they are very or somewhat confident in Biden to deal with the public health aspects of COVID-19. Democrats overwhelmingly express confidence in Biden on this issue (92% confident); a third of Republicans also have confidence in Biden to handle the coronavirus.
Biden draws less public confidence for his handling of other issues, though majorities say they are very or somewhat confident in him to make good decisions about foreign and economic policy (56% each); effectively address issues around race (55%); make wise decisions on immigration policy (53%); and effectively handle law enforcement and criminal justice (53%).
Large majorities of Democrats (80% or more) express confidence in Biden on each of these issues, compared with no more than about one-in-five Republicans.
Biden engenders less public confidence for his ability to bring the country closer together. Roughly half of adults, including 74% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans, have confidence in Biden to unify the country.
Since June, the public has become more confident in Biden’s ability to deal with the public health impact of the coronavirus and to make good decisions on economic policy.
The share of Americans who are very or somewhat confident in Biden to handle the coronavirus has risen 13 percentage points since June, from 52% to 65%. The increase has come equally among Democrats and Republicans.
The share of adults who have confidence in Biden to make decisions on the economy has increased 9 percentage points since June (from 47% to 56%), though this change has come largely among Democrats. Democrats are 12 points more likely express confidence in Biden (76% in June vs. 88% today), while Republicans’ views have not significantly changed (13% then vs. 16% now).
Since June, confidence in Biden on two other issues – effectively handling law enforcement and criminal justice issues and bringing the country closer together – has also ticked up.
Biden job approval at 54%
A majority of Americans (54%) say they approve of the way that Joe Biden is handling his job as president, including nearly four-in-ten (38%) who say they strongly approve. A smaller share, 42%, say they disapprove of Biden’s job performance, with 29% saying they strongly disapprove.
Nearly six-in-ten women (58%) say they approve of Biden’s job performance, while men are as likely to say they approve (49%) of Biden as disapprove (49%) of his performance.
An overwhelming majority of Black adults (87%) say they approve of Biden, including 71% who say they strongly approve. A smaller share of Hispanic adults say they approve of Biden (67%), and 45% strongly approve. About half of White adults (52%) say they disapprove of Joe Biden, with 44% saying they approve.
Adults with college degrees are much more likely to say they approve of Biden than those who do not: 68% of those with postgraduate experience say they approve of Biden’s handling of the presidency, including nearly half of those who strongly approve. About six-in-ten (59%) of those with a college degree but no postgraduate experience say the same. Nearly half of adults without a college degree say they approve of Biden (49%).
While a majority of White Americans with a college degree say they approve of Joe Biden (59%), a similar share of Whites without a college degree (60%) say they disapprove of Biden, including almost half who strongly disapprove (46%).
Large majorities of Republicans and Republican leaners (81%) say they do not approve of Joe Biden’s performance, including more than six-in-ten (62%) who say they strongly disapprove. There is a modest ideological divide among Republicans: Moderate and liberal Republicans (28%) are nearly three times as likely to say they approve of Biden compared with conservative Republicans (10%).
Overwhelming shares of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say they approve of Joe Biden’s handling of his job, with nearly two-thirds saying they strongly approve (65%).
For additional subgroups, see the accompanying detailed tables.