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Biden Spending Plans Remain Popular

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

But presidential job rating takes a dip

West Long Branch, NJ – Joe Biden’s job rating has taken a dip as progress on his spending plans has stalled. The latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds a majority of the American public continues to support these plans despite concerns about a potential rise in consumer prices as a result. One question is whether the plans should be passed with or without bipartisan support. A sense that the president has not quite met expectations for boosting the middle class may factor into his strategy on passing these bills.

Biden currently holds a job rating of 48% approve and 43% disapprove. This is down from his 54% approve and 41% disapprove rating in April. The president gets a positive rating from 86% of Democrats (down from 95%), 36% of independents (down from 47%), and 19% of Republicans (up from 11%). Prior Biden approval levels registered 51% in March and 54% in January.

“Biden’s rating is still in net positive territory, but it seems to have taken a dip with the growing uncertainty that his signature spending plans will be enacted,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Biden’s large spending plans remain broadly popular, including the Covid stimulus plan passed early in his term (60% support), his proposed infrastructure package (68%), and his proposal to expand access to health care, college, paid leave and other services (61%). The current results are nearly identical to prior polls taken this year.

Just under half (46%) say these proposed plans should be passed as is, even if they do not get bipartisan support. This position is held by 80% of Democrats, but just 36% of independents and 18% of Republicans agree. Another 22% of Americans say the plans should be significantly cut to get backing from both parties and 24% say they should not be passed at all even with bipartisan support.

“The plans are broadly popular, but the path to getting there is not so clear-cut. This is one of those situations where the administration has to weigh short-term blowback in public opinion against what they hope will be long-term gains,” said Murray.

A central economic criticism of Biden’s plans is that the spending will lead to spiraling inflation. Most Americans express some level of concern that these plans could lead to inflation, including nearly half (47%) who are very concerned about this possibility and 24% who are somewhat concerned. Those who are at least somewhat concerned about prices rising due to the proposed spending include majorities of Republicans (93%), independents (70%), and Democrats (55%).

“Concerns about possible inflation do not appear to undercut overall public support for these spending plans. That might be because many Americans expect the pros will outweigh the cons,” said Murray. He added, “Right now, Biden is not quite meeting the public’s expectations for helping the middle class. His calculation may be that the country is willing to accept some price increases in return for a more robust economy and wider array of support programs.”

About 1 in 5 (19%) Americans say middle-class families have benefited from Biden’s policies a lot and another 32% say they have benefited a little, while 36% say the middle class have not benefited at all. These results are less positive than when Biden first took office. In January, 30% of the public expected the middle class would benefit a lot from his policies, 39% said a little, and 27% said not at all. The current results on this question are not much different than during most of his predecessor’s term. Midway into Donald Trump’s presidency, 18% said his policies benefited the middle class a lot, 37% a little, and 36% not at all (April 2019). Trump started out with much less favorable marks on this metric (11% a lot, 25% a little, and 53% not at all in December 2017), but he ended his term with somewhat more positive ratings (32% a lot, 33% a little, and 32% not at all in January 2021).

The poll also finds that most Americans (58%) report their current financial situation is basically stable, while 24% are struggling and 14% say their finances are improving. These results are about where public attitudes stood at this time last year (61% stable, 22% struggling, 17% improving in late June 2020), but are slightly different than two years ago when more people said their financial situation was getting better (54% stable, 20% struggling, 25% improving in April 2019).

The poll also finds the public’s job rating for Congress has dropped to 21% approve and 65% disapprove from 35% approve and 56% disapprove in April. Congressional approval had been hovering between 30% and 35% since Biden took office. The current reading is in line with Monmouth polls through most of the Trump years, when approval ranged between 16% and 25% except for two 32% marks in the early months of the pandemic last year. The percentage of Americans who say the country is headed in the right direction (37%) versus the wrong track (57%) has also declined somewhat after hitting an eight-year high in April (46% right direction and 50% wrong track).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from June 9 to 14, 2021 with 810 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

1.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?

  TREND:June
2021
April
2021
March
2021
Jan.
2021
Approve48%54%51%54%
Disapprove43%41%42%30%
(VOL) No opinion9%5%8%16%
  (n)(810)(800)(802)(809)

2.Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

  TREND:June
2021
April
2021
March
2021
Jan.
2021
Approve21%35%30%35%
Disapprove65%56%59%51%
(VOL) No opinion15%9%11%14%
 (n)(810)(800)(802)(809)
  TREND: Continued
Nov.
2020
Early June
2020

May
2020

April
2020

Feb.
2020

Jan.
2020

Dec.
2019

Nov.
2019

Sept.
2019

Aug.
2019

June
2019

May
2019

April
2019

March
2019

Jan.
2019
Approve23%22%32%32%20%24%22%23%21%17%19%20%24%23%18%
Disapprove64%69%55%55%69%62%65%64%68%71%69%71%62%68%72%
(VOL) No opinion13%9%13%13%11%14%13%13%11%13%12%9%14%9%10%
 (n)(810)(807)(808)(857)(902)(903)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(805)
  TREND: ContinuedNov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Approve23%17%19%17%18%21%16%17%18%19%19%25%23%
Disapprove63%69%67%71%72%68%65%69%69%70%68%59%66%
(VOL) No opinion14%14%14%12%11%11%19%15%13%11%13%16%11%
 (n)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)(806)(1,009)(805)(800)(1,002)(801)(801)
  TREND: ContinuedSept.
2016*
Aug.
2016*
June
2016*
March
2016
Jan.
2016
Dec.
2015
Oct.
2015
Sept.
2015
Aug.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Jan.
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Approve15%14%17%22%17%16%17%19%18%18%19%21%18%17%14%
Disapprove77%78%76%68%73%73%71%71%72%69%71%67%70%73%76%
(VOL) No opinion8%9%7%10%10%10%12%11%11%12%10%12%11%11%10%
 (n)(802)(803)(803)(1,008)(1,003)(1,006)(1,012)(1,009)(1,203)(1,001)(1,002)(1,005)(1,003)(1,008)(1,012)

        * Registered voters

3.Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

  TREND:June
2021
April
2021
March
2021
Jan.
2021
Right direction37%46%34%42%
Wrong track57%50%61%51%
(VOL) Depends3%2%4%3%
(VOL) Don’t know3%2%2%4%
(n)(810)(800)(802)(809)
  TREND: ContinuedNov.
2020
Early Sept.
2020
Aug.
2020
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Right direction26%27%22%18%21%33%30%39%37%37%
Wrong track68%66%72%74%74%60%61%54%57%56%
(VOL) Depends4%4%4%5%4%4%5%4%6%6%
(VOL) Don’t know2%3%2%3%1%3%5%3%1%1%
(n)(810)(867)(868)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)(902)(903)
  TREND: ContinuedDec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Right direction32%30%30%28%31%29%28%29%35%35%40%33%31%37%
Wrong track56%61%61%62%62%63%62%63%55%57%53%58%61%57%
(VOL) Depends8%7%6%8%6%4%7%6%7%6%3%5%6%3%
(VOL) Don’t know4%2%2%2%2%3%3%2%3%3%3%4%1%3%
(n)(903)(908)(1,161)(800)(751)(802)(801)(802)(802)(805)(806)(803)(803)(806)
  TREND: ContinuedDec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Aug.
2016*
Oct.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Right direction24%32%31%35%29%30%24%28%23%27%23%28%
Wrong track66%58%61%56%65%65%66%63%68%66%69%63%
(VOL) Depends7%4%5%4%4%2%6%5%5%5%5%5%
(VOL) Don’t know3%5%3%5%2%3%4%3%3%2%3%4%
(n)(806)(805)(1,002)(801)(801)(803)(1,012)(1,001)(1,002)(1,005)(1,008)(1,012)

        * Registered voters

4.Thinking about your current financial situation, would you say you are struggling to remain where you are financially, basically stable in your current financial situation, or is your financial situation improving?

  TREND:

June
2021
Late June
2020
Early June
2020
May
2020
April
2020
March
2020
April
2019
April
2018
Jan.
2017
Struggling24%22%20%23%26%26%20%24%29%
Stable58%61%65%63%62%61%54%51%51%
Improving14%17%13%13%11%11%25%23%20%
(VOL) Don’t know3%1%1%1%2%1%1%2%0%
(n)(810)(867)(807)(808)(857)(851)(801)(803)(801)

5.How much have middle class families benefited from President Biden’s policies – a lot, a little, or not at all?

  COMPARISON:  Benefited under TrumpBenefited under Obama
 June
2021
  Jan.
2021
April
2019
April
2018
Dec.
2017
  Jan.
2017
July
2013
A lot19%  32%18%14%11%  24%12%
A little32%  33%37%45%25%  41%39%
Not at all36%  32%36%36%53%  33%46%
(VOL) Don’t know14%  3%9%5%11%  2%2%
(n)(810)  (809)(801)(803)(806)  (801)(1,012)

6.Earlier this year, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In general, do you support or oppose this plan? [Is that strongly or somewhat support/oppose?]

  TREND:June
2021
April
2021
March
2021*
Strongly support39%43%35%
Somewhat support21%20%27%
Somewhat oppose11%10%11%
Strongly oppose27%24%23%
(VOL) Don’t know3%2%4%
  (n)(810)(800)(802)

        * March 2021 poll asked about the plan before Congress passed it.

[QUESTIONS 7 & 8 WERE ROTATED]

President Biden recently proposed two other multi-trillion dollar spending plans.

7.[One is/The other is] an infrastructure plan to be spent on roads, bridges and trains, internet access, power grid improvements, and clean energy projects. In general, do you support or oppose this plan? [Is that strongly or somewhat support/oppose?]

 June
2021
  TREND:June
 2021
April
2021*
Strongly support49%Support68%68%
Somewhat support19%
Somewhat oppose8%Oppose29%29%
Strongly oppose21%
(VOL) Don’t know3%(VOL) Don’t know3%3%
 (n)(810)(n)(810)(800)

      * April 2021 wording was “President Biden recently proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan…”

8.[One is/The other is] a plan to expand access to healthcare and childcare, and provide paid leave and college tuition support. In general, do you support or oppose this plan? [Is that strongly or somewhat support/oppose?]

 June
2021
  TREND:June 
2021
April
2021*
Strongly support41%Support61%64%
Somewhat support20%
Somewhat oppose10%Oppose34%34%
Strongly oppose24%
(VOL) Don’t know5%(VOL) Don’t know5%2%
 (n)(810)(n)(810)(800)

      * April 2021 wording was “Biden is also expected to propose a large spending plan …”

9.What would you like to see happen with these spending plans – pass them as is even if they don’t get bipartisan support, significantly cut them in order to get bipartisan support, or not pass them at all even if they have bipartisan support?

   June
2021
Pass them as is46%
Significantly cut them22%
Not pass them at all24%
(VOL) Don’t know9%
 (n)(810)

10.How concerned are you that these spending plans could lead to inflation – that is, a big jump in the price of goods and services. Are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned about this possibility?

   June
2021
Very concerned47%
Somewhat concerned24%
Not too concerned17%
Not at all concerned11%
(VOL) Don’t know1%
 (n)(810)

[Q11-39 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 9 to 14, 2021 with a national random sample of 810 adults age 18 and older. This includes 281 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 529 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field), Dynata (RDD sample), and Aristotle (list sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
24% Republican
44% Independent
32% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
38% 55+
 
63% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  9% Asian/Other
 
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs