When Joe Biden took office, he bet voters would judge his presidency on one thing and one thing only: how well he handled the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.
Now, with vaccination accelerating, optimism rising and another round of relief checks arriving in the mail, a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that a clear and growing majority of Americans approve of Biden’s policies and leadership, providing the president with momentum that could bolster his next major legislative push, on infrastructure and climate change — if mounting challenges at the border with Mexico don’t get in his way.
The survey of 1,556 U.S. adults, which was conducted from March 23 to March 25, found that Biden’s approval rating on COVID-19 has climbed 5 percentage points (from 51 percent to 56 percent) over the past two weeks. A near-identical majority of Americans (55 percent) now say they support the administration’s recently passed COVID relief package — up from 52 percent in February — while just a quarter (25 percent) say they oppose it.
Biden’s gains on COVID come largely from independents, 54 percent of whom now say they approve of the president’s handling of the pandemic — up 11 points from earlier this month.
Likely as a result, Biden’s job approval rating has increased by 3 points (from 50 percent to 53 percent) since mid-February and by 8 points (from 45 percent) since his inauguration.
Despite opposition from Republicans in Congress — and warnings of sticker shock from pundits — the Yahoo News/YouGov results indicate that Biden, from a political standpoint, was right to go big on COVID relief. In fact, support for the legislation actually rises to 58 percent when its immense $1.9 trillion price tag is explicitly mentioned in the question, suggesting that more Americans see the implied scope and seriousness of the measure as a positive than see its cost as a negative.
Similarly, far more Americans say Congress was right to spend whatever it took to provide COVID relief (52 percent) than say Congress spent too much (30 percent).
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