February 2024 Reuters/Ipsos Core Political

Findings of the February 2024 Reuters/Ipsos Core Political

The author(s)
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Charlie Rollason Research Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, February 28, 2024 – In February’s Reuters/Ipsos Core Political, political extremism and threats to democracy top Americans’ list of most important issues facing the country, followed closely by the economy and immigration. While Trump has an advantage over Biden on the economy and immigration, Americans are notably divided over whether Trump or Biden has a better approach to addressing political extremism or threats to democracy. While Biden’s approval rating is relatively unchanged from last month, the majority of Americans across party affiliations now report that the country is headed off on the wrong track.

For more information about this study, please click here.

Detailed Findings

1. Americans report three main problems facing the U.S. this month: political extremism or threats to democracy (21%), the economy, unemployment, and jobs (19%), and immigration (18%). Crime and corruption (7%) and war and foreign conflicts (5%) are reported as distant fourth and fifth most important issues.

  • Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike report the same top three issues as Americans as a whole. However, Republicans are most concerned about immigration while Democrats and independents report political extremism or threats to democracy as the most important problem of all.
  • Democrats are more than three times as likely as Republicans and nearly twice as likely as independents, though, to say political extremism or threats to democracy is the most important problem. Independents are more split than Democrats on the top issue, with about one-fifth saying political extremism, the economy, or immigration.
Graphic about most important problems facing America

2. The majority of Americans (71%) say the country is heading off on the wrong track, and only one in ten (13%) say it is heading in the right direction. While the majority of Americans across party lines say the country is heading off on the wrong track, Democrats are more divided on the issue than Republicans or independents. Ninety-two percent of Republicans and 72% of independents say the country is off on the wrong track; meanwhile, 50% of Democrats say the same.

Graphic about whether things in this country are heading in the right direction or off on the wrong track

3. Nearly two in five Americans (37%) say they approve of how Joe Biden is handling his job as president. Fifty-eight percent say they disapprove. These readings are consistent with those from January.

Graphic showing Joe Biden's approval rating over time

4. When asked which presidential candidate as a better approach to certain issues, Americans are notably divided between Trump and Biden when it comes to political extremism or threats to democracy (34% Biden vs. 31% Trump). Trump most significantly outperforms Biden when it comes to immigration (42% Trump vs. 26% Biden). Trump also outperforms Biden on crime or corruption (+8 net Trump), the economy (+6 net Trump), and war and foreign conflicts (+6 net Trump). Biden only significantly outperforms Trump on the issue of healthcare (35% Biden vs. 26% Trump).

Graphic showing perceptions of which presidential candidate has a better plan on verious issues


This Ipsos poll was conducted February 23-25, 2024, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,020 general population adults aged 18 or older.

The margin of sampling error for this study is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.17. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on other sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel®, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult U.S. population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel® cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2023 March supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News telephone polls.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is one of the largest market research and polling companies globally, operating in 90 markets and employing over 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. Our 75 solutions are based on primary data from our surveys, social media monitoring, and qualitative or observational techniques.

Ipsos is listed on Eurolist – NYSE – Euronext.  The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP. www.ipsos.com

The author(s)
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Charlie Rollason Research Manager, US, Public Affairs