Three-quarters approve of Biden’s coronavirus vaccine response

New ABC News/Ipsos poll finds widespread approval on COVID-19 issues, but most disapprove of how he’s handling the situation at the border

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, March 28, 2021

A strong majority approve of how President Biden is handling the response to the coronavirus and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll. At the same time, however, nearly three in five Americans disapprove of how Biden is handling the situation with migrants and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Views on Biden’s handling of top issues are deeply partisan. Further illustrating this ongoing divide, the poll finds that an equal number of Americans say Biden is making the country more united as those who say more divided.

Detailed findings:

1. President Biden earns high marks for his handling of the coronavirus and the economic recovery, but a majority of Americans disapprove of the job he’s doing with the situation at the border and on gun violence.

  • Overall, around three in four Americans approve of how Biden is handling the distribution of coronavirus vaccines (75%) and the response to the virus itself (72%). Sixty percent approve of how Biden is handling the country’s economic recovery.
  • At the same time, Biden is underwater on both gun violence and the situation at the border, as a majority disapprove of his handling of those issues (57% each).
  • Most Americans, 54%, believe the situation with migrants and unaccompanied children showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border is currently a crisis. Forty-two percent characterize the situation as a serious problem, but not a crisis. Just four percent say it is not a serious problem.
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2. Views toward Biden remain highly polarized, with deep partisan cleavages present on every single issue. Notably, however, a majority of Republicans back the job the president is doing on the vaccine rollout.

  • There is a forty-point approval gap – or more – between Democrats and Republicans on each of the issues in the poll.
  • Biden earns bipartisan support on only one issue: the distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Ninety-two percent of Democrats approve of how Biden is handling the rollout, along with 77% of Independents and 53% of Republicans.
  • A majority of Democrats back Biden on each issue, though his approval on gun violence and the border situation is much lower here, too. For example, 96% of Democrats approve of Biden’s coronavirus response and 89% on the economic recovery, compared to the low 60% range for gun violence and the situation with migrants and unaccompanied children at the border.
  • Further illustrating this polarization, the same number of Americans believe Biden is making the country more united (30%) compared to those who believe he’s further dividing it (also 30%). A plurality say he is doing neither.

3. Two-thirds believe reducing gun violence should be a higher priority than protecting the right to own a wide variety of guns.

  • By a two-to-one margin, more Americans say enacting new laws to try to reduce gun violence is the higher priority at the moment.
  • There is widespread agreement on this issue, with Americans of all ages, education levels, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and from all regions in agreement.
  • However, just over one in three Republicans (36%) believe enacting new laws is the priority. Instead, 64% say protecting the right to own a wide variety of guns should be a higher priority.
  • Here, too, there is a significant partisan divide, as more than nine in ten Democrats favor enacting new laws to reduce gun violence (versus 36%).

About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted March 26 to March 27, 2021 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 517 general population adults age 18 or older.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US 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 study was conducted in both English and Spanish. 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 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) from the US Census Bureau. Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (High School graduate or less, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Something else)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.9 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 1.27. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on 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.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 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. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. 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

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The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs

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