Rachel Phillips, Staff
Upon entering the White House, Joe Biden’s approval rating of 53% reflected a widespread optimism of most Americans, particularly regarding vaccination rollout and economic recovery. In the following months, his administration encouraged such optimism by passing a 1.9 trillion-dollar aid package that provided most American families with a 1400-dollar stimulus package and extended unemployment benefits. It was these popular policies that allowed Biden’s approval rating to remain largely unscathed well into the summer months. However, following the American exit from Afghanistan and increasing concerns over the Delta variant, Bidens most recent approval rating sits at 44.2%, just 6 percentage points higher than Donald Trump’s final weeks in office. In a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 10,371 Americans were surveyed to evaluate the Biden administration in categories of public issues, international handlings, economic revival and personal competency. Much like the national poll, the Pew survey reflected a decrease in Biden’s approval ratings in nearly every sector of his presidency since July. Support of his ability to handle the physical and economic setbacks of Covid-19 have decreased from 65% to 51%, with the largest declines occurring from polled independent voters. Similarly, belief in his ability to unify the country has dropped 14 percentage points and now sits at just 34%. The polls also reflect increased scrutiny regarding Biden’s age and mental sharpness. Skepticism in both categories has steadily climbed since the summer and now indicate that fewer than half of the poll participants find the president fit for the position. However, the poll does suggest one potential light at the end of the dark and seemingly unending tunnel of 2021. The most positive feedback from the survey reflects widespread support for Biden’s political agenda. His recently passed infrastructure bill which included increased funding for roads, bridges and the power grid, as well as renewed interest in clean energy, polled at 51% in favor of. In addition, polls reflected 49% support for the Build Back Better Agenda, a plan that would expand Medicare, increase taxes on the wealthy and reduce Carbon Emissions. Although it has yet to be passed, Build Back Better has the potential and popularity to curb Biden’s downward spiral and save his first year in office.