So far, Joe Biden’s presidency has been a success. Recent polling showed his approval rating at 59 percent. Biden has done an excellent job handling the pandemic. He’s managed to pass a significant recovery plan. And his administrative efforts have largely been successful.
The most recent Pew Research Poll (https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2021/04/15/covid-19-policies-the-u-s-economy-and-the-vaccine-rollout/) found President Biden with 59 percent approval (39 percent disapproval) — this rating is deeply split along Party lines, as only 18 percent of Republicans approve of Biden’s performance in office. Interestingly, more voters support Biden in terms of issues than in terms of his personality. For example, about 37 percent of Republicans agree with him on some or “virtually all” issues. Given this finding, it’s most important to evaluate Biden in terms of progress on specific issues.
Coronavirus Pandemic: In general, Americans feel Biden has done a good job dealing with the pandemic. 72 percent of respondents believe the Administration had done an excellent or good job “managing the manufacture and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.” It’s Biden’s most significant accomplishment: “While an overwhelming share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (88%) say the administration has done an excellent or good job in managing the vaccine rollout, so too does a much smaller majority (55%) of Republicans and Republican leaners”
Under the Biden Administration, the US is vaccinating citizens at one of the fastest rates in the world. More than 210 million doses have been administered; half of all US adults have received at least one vaccine dose. All US adults (aged 16 and up) are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
Stimulus PlanL The $1.9 trillion American Cares Act was passed in March. It has been very well received. “More than twice as many Americans approve (67%) than disapprove (32%) of the $1.9 trillion aid bill.” “Roughly a third of Republicans (35%) favor the aid package, which received no support from congressional Republicans.”
Domestic Policy: The Pew Research Poll asked participants to rate 15 domestic problems. Health care was the major concern: “The affordability of health care is high on the public’s list of the biggest problems in the country today, with 56% of adults describing this as ‘a very big problem’ and an additional 30% rating it ‘a moderately big problem.'”
Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on the severity of domestic issues facing the country. “Gun violence, the affordability of health care, the coronavirus outbreak and racism are each seen as very big problems facing the country today by two-thirds or more Democrats and Democratic leaners….By contrast, far fewer Republicans say these are major problems in the country. Four-in-ten say health care affordability is a very big problem, and only about two-in-ten rate the coronavirus and gun violence as very big problems.”
International Policy: The Pew Poll did not ask respondents about Biden’s performance on international issues — historically, Americans have cared less about International policy than they do domestic issues. Nonetheless, in his first 3 months in office, Joe Biden has clearly differentiated his Administration’s policies from those of Donald Trump. Biden had the United States rejoin the “Paris Climate Accords.” Biden has begun talks to rejoin the nuclear disarmament treaty with Iran — the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” Biden has sanctioned Russia – and Russian citizens and companies — for interference in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections and cyberattacks. (Biden has had a long conversation with China’s President Xi Jinping, but has not changed sanctions imposed by Trump.) Biden has embraced our NATO allies and made strides towards eliminating Trump’s isolationist policies.
Personnel:the Senate has approved 21 of 23 Biden cabinet nominees. Neera Tanden, the nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget, had her nomination withdrawn; she had made too many enemies vis Tweet. Eric Lander, a renown scientist, is Biden’s Science Advisor; he’s been nominated to head a new cabinet position, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; this is still being considered by the Senate.
Biden’s cabinet is the most diverse in U.S. History.
Ron Klain, Biden’s Chief of Staff, has been lauded for running an unusually effective transition and managing a productive first quarter. Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, has been widely praised for her informative and (sometimes) humorous daily press conferences.
Unity: Joe Biden ran on a promise to unify the nation. A recent Harris-Hill Poll (https://thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/538905-poll-majority-say-biden-has-prioritized-unity-so-far) found that a majority of respondents (57 percent) felt that Biden has been working to do this: “they think Joe Biden has made uniting the country a priority in his actions so far as president.”
During the past three months, Biden has faced adamant Republican congressional opposition. Republican members of Congress have seldom supported any move that he has made. On major issues it’s unusual to find any Republican votes to go along with those of Democrats.
While Democratic-leaning pundits describe the Biden Administration as focused, empathetic, and effective, Republican-leading pundits describe Democratic actions in extremely negative terms. Conservative voices suggest that Biden is senile, a hollow facade, being manipulated by radical socialists including Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They decry the legislative initiatives — such as the proposed Biden Infrastructure plan — as socialist over reach.
Summary: the Biden Administration has had a productive three months, with no help from Republicans. The bad news is that Congressional Republicans are unlikely to change. The good news is that, on specific issues, Biden has the support of about two-thirds of the electorate.