President Joe Biden is held in high regard by most Americans, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday, as he takes the reins of a divided country in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic and economic crisis.
In his first week in the Oval Office, Biden yielded high approval ratings for his response to the coronavirus (69%) and confidence in his ability to unify the country (57%). The new poll was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel.
Biden’s early honeymoon period is a sharp departure from the underwhelming initial response former President Donald Trump received four years ago.
In a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, Biden’s score for handling the transition landed at 67%, nearly 30 points higher than his predecessor just before his inauguration.
Trump’s lackluster marks broke with the pattern for newly elected presidents, who usually enjoy high approval ratings in their first months in office.
For Biden, starting his tenure as commander-in-chief in a honeymoon period might afford him more room to maneuver on policy, particularly on his administration’s colossal challenge: COVID-19.
The more than two-thirds of Americans who approve of his leadership on the coronavirus includes 40% of Republicans — a notably high level of support from across the aisle a year into the pandemic. An overwhelming 97% of Democrats and 70% of independents also back Biden’s management of the crisis in his early days in office.
The highest approval Trump received for his handling of the virus was in mid-March last year, when 55% of Americans approved of his response, including 30% of Democrats. But for virtually all of the pandemic, Trump was underwater with the American public on his handling of COVID-19.
As Biden faces a collection of crises, starting with the nation’s war against the coronavirus, he signed an executive order on his first day in office that implemented a mask mandate and social distancing requirements in federal buildings and on federal land. The order is backed by more than 8 in 10 Americans in the poll (81%), as well as almost all Democrats (99%), and majorities of Republicans (59%) and independents (83%).
But honeymoons rarely last, and the poll revealed several fault lines that could erode Biden’s broad early support.
Americans are a bit more wary of Biden’s ability to make effective progress on his signature campaign promise: to unify a splintered nation.
As part of the survey, respondents were shown a video excerpt of Biden’s inaugural address, in which the newly sworn-in president invoked a familiar theme from his campaign that focused on mending a deeply fractured nation.