Few approve of President Biden’s handling of inflation

New ABC News/Ipsos poll shows Biden struggling on key issues outside of COVID-19, infrastructure

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Hailey Foster Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, December 12, 2021

In the wake of the latest Consumer Price Index data that shows inflation has hit its highest point since 1982, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows just over one in four Americans approves of how President Joe Biden is handling inflation. A majority of the public feels negative toward Biden’s handling of a host of key issues, such as gun violence, crime, and the economic recovery. Only on COVID-19 and infrastructure does Biden receive majority approval; though, on COVID, Biden’s approval rating has softened over the course of the past year. Separately, Americans are generally split on their level of support for vaccine requirements at businesses with over 100 employees, and whether the mask mandates in their area are too strict or not.

Detailed findings

1. In a list of ten key issues facing the country right now, President Biden earns positive approval ratings on just two: handling COVID, and rebuilding our infrastructure. He fares worst on inflation.

  • Currently, 53% approve of Biden’s response to the coronavirus and also of how he’s handling rebuilding the country’s infrastructure.
  • On every other issue, a majority disapprove of how the president is doing. His approval rating for other issues ranges from 46% (climate change) to 28% (inflation).
  • Biden continues to net strong support among Democrats, though only a bare majority (54%) approve of how he’s handling inflation.
  • However, on every issue except infrastructure, Biden is losing independents – meaning a majority disapprove of his handling of these issues. On infrastructure, 54% of independents approve of Biden. On COVID, independents are evenly split: 49% approve, 49% disapprove.

2. Though most continue to approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, his approval rating has declined over the course of the year.

  • Biden’s current 53% approval rating on COVID is 10 percentage points lower than in July, and down from 69% right after the inauguration.
  • Over time, his support among independents has softened. He continues to earn high marks among Democrats.
  • For example, more than three in five independents (62%) approved of the job Biden was doing on the pandemic in July; now, around half say the same.

3. The American public has mixed feelings on mask mandates in their area, as well as the vaccine requirement for businesses with more than 100 employees. 

  • Overall, 51% support “a federal regulation for businesses with more than 100 employees that requires all employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be tested weekly,” while 47% oppose.
  • Support varies widely by partisan affiliation: 86% of Democrats support, compared to just 26% of Republicans. Independents are split, closely mirroring the national average (47% support, 51% oppose).
  • As the omicron variant continues to spread, the poll shows mixed feelings toward state-level mask mandates. Thirty-eight percent think mask mandates in their state should stay about the same, 34% say they should be more strict, and 27% say less strict.
  • By region, those in the Midwest are most likely to say mask mandates in their area should be less strict (35%, compared to 21%-30% in other regions).

About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted December 10 to December 11, 2021 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 524 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 5.0 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 1.36. 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 Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Hailey Foster Research Analyst, Public Affairs

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