Over the past year, Joe Biden’s job approval has declined substantially among many groups, including members of his own party.
Last July, about nine-in-ten self-identified Democrats (92%) said they approved of the way Biden was handling his job as president. Today, about three-quarters (76%) say the same.
Among political independents, Biden’s job rating has fallen from 54% a year ago to 33% today. In particular, Biden has lost ground among independents who lean to the Democratic Party. Democratic leaners tend to be younger, on average, than self-identified Democrats, and they are more likely to be men.
Today, only about half (51%) of Democratic leaners approve of Biden’s job performance. While his rating among Democratic leaners has not changed a great deal since January, it is about 30 percentage points lower than it was a year ago (82%).
Since he first took office, generally only small shares of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have approved of Biden’s performance as president. Today, just 8% of Republican leaners and 3% of self-identified Republicans give Biden positive job ratings.
Among the overall public, 37% say they approve of Biden’s job performance, while 62% disapprove. More than twice as many adults strongly disapprove of Biden’s job performance as strongly approve (45% vs. 18%).
Black adults are the only major demographic group where a majority have a positive evaluation of Biden’s job in office (57% say they approve, including 32% who strongly approve). Views among Hispanic adults and Asian adults are mixed – 46% and 44%, respectively, say they approve of Biden’s job performance. By contrast, a large majority of White adults (68%) say they disapprove of Biden’s job performance.
While majorities across all age groups disapprove of Biden’s job performance, his approval rating is 10 points lower among adults under 30 (31%) than among those 65 and older (41%).
About half of those with a postgraduate degree (48%) say they approve of the way Biden is handling his job, while 50% say they disapprove. By contrast, at least six-in-ten adults with a college degree but no postgraduate degree (61%), adults with some college experience (64%) and adults with a high school education or less (64%) say they disapprove of Biden’s job performance.
An overwhelming majority of Republicans and GOP leaners (94%) disapprove of Biden’s job performance, with 82% saying they strongly disapprove of his performance. Conservative Republicans hold more intensely negative views of Biden’s performance (89% strongly disapprove) than moderate and liberal Republicans (67%).
While a majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (64%) say they approve of Biden’s performance, including about a third (32%) who say they strongly approve, 34% of Democrats disapprove of Biden’s job performance. Among Democrats, ideological differences on views of Biden’s performance are minimal.
Lower confidence in Biden on issues
Public confidence in Biden on major issues has declined as his overall job approval rating has fallen. Today, majorities say they are not too confident or not at all confident in Biden’s handling of several issues, including his ability to deal with an international crisis and to make good decisions on the economy.
As in the past, Biden draws more confidence for his handling of the public health impact of the coronavirus than other issues. About as many say they are very or somewhat confident in Biden’s handling of COVID-19 (49%) as say they are not too or not at all confident (50%).
Of the issues included in the survey, the public is least confident in Biden’s ability to bring the country closer together: 74% say they are not too (32%) or not at all confident (42%) in Biden’s ability to do so. Only about a quarter of the public (26%) say they are confident in Biden’s ability to bring the country closer together.
Confidence in Biden’s ability to handle many of these issues has declined since the early months of his presidency.
Since March 2021, confidence in Biden’s ability to make good decisions on the economy has fallen 17 percentage points (from 56% to 39%), and there have been comparable declines in confidence in the president’s handling of the coronavirus, immigration, and law enforcement and criminal justice.
In March 2021, Biden drew less public confidence for his ability to bring the country closer together than in other areas. And confidence in Biden has fallen 22 points since then; today, just 26% are confident in his ability to unify the country.
These large declines are mostly due to shifts in opinions among Democrats and Democratic leaners, since confidence in Biden has been low among Republicans since the beginning of his presidency. Still, majorities of Democrats remain confident in Biden’s abilities on seven of the eight issues included in the survey.
Public’s view of Biden’s economic policies grows more negative
Today, a 56% majority of the public says that Biden’s policies have made economic conditions worse since he took office, up from the 40% who said this last fall. The share saying the policies of the Biden administration have made economic conditions better has decreased from 26% in September to 11% today. The share who say Biden’s policies have not had much effect on economic conditions is essentially unchanged over this period (32% today vs. 33% in September).
The share of Democrats who say Biden’s policies have made economic conditions worse has nearly tripled since September: 27% of Democrats now say this, compared with 10% last fall.
Most Republicans continue to express a negative view of the impact of Biden’s policies. Currently, 90% say his policies have made economic conditions worse, up from 78% last September.
Views of Biden’s – and Trump’s – handling of the presidency
Beyond Biden’s handling of policy issues, majorities of the public give him negative ratings for running a transparent administration and setting a high moral standard for the presidency (55% say he definitely has not or probably has not done each of these). But in both cases, current evaluations of Biden are more positive than evaluations of Donald Trump were at a comparable point in his term (August 2018).
Just over four-in-ten adults (44%) say Biden has definitely or probably run an open and transparent administration; 37% said this about Trump four years ago. And while 43% say Biden has definitely or probably set a high moral standard for the presidency, just 27% said Trump had done this.
A 55% majority say Biden has definitely or probably not improperly used his office to enrich himself or his friends or family. Fewer than half (43%) said this description applied to Trump in August 2018.
On one dimension included in the survey – improving the way government works – Trump was viewed more positively in 2018 than Biden is today. Nearly three-in-ten (29%) say Biden has improved the way government works; 37% credited Trump for improving government four years ago.
Neither Biden nor Trump is widely viewed as improving the United States’ standing in the world. About four-in-ten (39%) say Biden has done this, which is similar to the share saying this about Trump in 2018 (36%).
There are wide partisan differences in evaluations of the two presidents, and in some cases, Democrats’ views of Biden today closely reflect Republicans’ views of Trump four years ago.
In 2018, seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners said Trump had probably or definitely run an open and transparent administration. Today, a similar share of Democrats (73%) say the same of Biden.
However, Democrats and Republicans have differing views of their leaders on their efficacy and morality. Only half of Democrats say Biden has probably or definitely improved the way government works. Republicans were more positive about Trump on this measure in 2018 – 72% said he had improved the way government works. And while 51% of Republicans said Trump set a high moral standard for the presidency in 2018, 72% of Democrats say Biden has done so today.
Similar to the pattern in 2018, members of the opposing party of the president hold negative views as to whether he has improperly used his position in office. Four years ago, more than eight-in-ten Democrats (84%) said that Trump improperly used his office to enrich himself or his friends and family. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans (74%) say the same of Biden today.
Views of Biden, Trump and other political leaders
A larger share of the public expresses an unfavorable opinion than a favorable opinion of each of eight different prominent political leaders, including four Democrats and four Republicans. These figures are consistently viewed more negatively by members of the opposing party than positively by members of their own party.
A narrow majority of the public (55%) say they have very or mostly unfavorable views of Joe Biden, compared with 43% who have very or mostly favorable views. While about nine-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners (92%) have an unfavorable opinion of Biden, three-quarters of Democrats and Democratic leaners have a favorable view.
Views of Kamala Harris are nearly identical to those of Biden: 43% of the public rates her favorably versus 52% unfavorably. As is the case with opinions of Biden, the share of Republicans who express negative opinions about Harris (88%) is larger than the share of Democrats who express positive opinions (75%).
More Americans say they have an unfavorable view of Nancy Pelosi (60%) and Chuck Schumer (43%) than view them favorably (35% and 28%, respectively). Pelosi is far more widely known than Schumer; just 3% have never heard of Pelosi, compared with 26% who say they have not heard of Schumer.
Donald Trump is viewed favorably by a somewhat smaller share of the public (38%) than Biden (43%). Three-quarters of Republicans view Trump favorably, while about nine-in-ten Democrats (91%) view him unfavorably.
A similar share view Mike Pence and Trump favorably, though the public is more likely to view Trump unfavorably than Pence. Four-in-ten adults say they view Pence favorably, compared with 52% who have unfavorable views. A majority of Republicans (65%) have favorable opinions of Pence, while most Democrats (71%) hold an unfavorable opinion.
Just 19% of adults have a favorable opinion of Mitch McConnell, while 62% have an unfavorable opinion; 16% have never heard of McConnell. Within McConnell’s own party, more Republicans view him unfavorably (50%) than favorably (32%).
Kevin McCarthy is least widely known of the leaders included in the survey: 37% say they have never heard of him. Among those who have an opinion of McCarthy, about twice as many view McCarthy unfavorably (41%) as favorably (19%).