Outside of COVID-19, Biden receives mixed approval ratings

New ABC News/Ipsos poll shows most disapprove of Biden’s handling of gun violence, immigration, crime

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Neil Lloyd Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs
Get in touch

Washington, DC, July 25, 2021

Americans have mixed feelings about how President Joe Biden is handling a slate of key issues, including immigration and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll. While nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults approve of Biden’s handling of COVID-19, he fares less well on other issues. At the same time, most feel pessimistic about the direction of the country, marking a decline in overall sentiment since the spring.

Detailed findings:

1. A majority approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, economic recovery, and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

  • Most feel positive about the job the president is doing on these issues, from 63% approval on the response to COVID-19, to 55% approving of his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, and 53% on the economic recovery.
  • These numbers are driven by strong support among Democrats (79% or better) and support among half or more of independents.
  • However, in some instances, these high marks reflect a slight softening from Biden’s standing earlier this year. For example, Biden’s approval rating on handling the pandemic is now nine percentage points lower than at the end of March; his standing on the economic recovery is seven points lower over the same time period

2. Biden fares less well on immigration, gun violence, and crime. On these issues, fewer than half of independents approve of the job he’s doing, but his approval among Democrats is also lower.

  • Overall, slightly more than a third of Americans approve of the way the president is handling crime (39%), immigration and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border (37%), and gun violence (37%).
  • While most Democrats approve of Biden’s handling of these issues, their approval is more muted compared to COVID-19, the economy, and Afghanistan. For example, 93% of Democrats approve of Biden’s handling of the pandemic, compared to 63% who rate him positively over immigration/the border situation.
  • On these three issues, just over one in three independents approve of the job Biden is doing, while he receives positive marks from only around one in ten Republicans.Graphic

3. As the overall mood in the country grows more pessimistic, Americans are split on how Biden is doing keeping his campaign promises.

  • Currently, 45% are optimistic about where the country is headed over the next year, while 55% are pessimistic.
  • This marks a nearly 20-point decline in optimism from late April, the last time this question was asked. At that time, 64% were optimistic about the year ahead.
  • This growing pessimism is happening across all age groups, income levels, educational attainment, and partisan affiliation.
  • Though most Democrats (71%) still feel optimistic about the year to come, fewer are feeling positive than in late April (89%). Optimism among independents has declined by 26 percentage points (now 38%, from 64%).
  • At the same time, there is a nearly even split on whether Biden is doing a good job keeping his campaign promises (52% excellent/good), or not (47% not so good/poor).
  • This split masks a significant partisan gap: 85% of Democrats say Biden is doing an excellent or good job keeping his promises, and just as many Republicans (83%) say he’s not.

About the Study

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted July 23 to July 24, 2021 by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 527 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 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 1.35. 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

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Neil Lloyd Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs