President Biden is beginning his first term in the Oval Office with the approval of roughly half of Americans, but faces a stark partisan divide as he looks to make good on his vow to unite the country, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday.
The poll – Quinnipiac’s first since Biden took office on Jan. 20 – shows the newly inaugurated president’s approval at 49 percent, while 36 percent said they disapprove of how he has handled his job in the White House so far. Another 16 percent said they either didn’t have an opinion on the matter or declined to answer.
The partisan divide in opinions on Biden’s job performance are striking. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats said they approve of the new president’s work so far, an opinion shared by only 11 percent of Republicans.
Independents, meanwhile, were more evenly split, with 44 percent approving and 36 percent disapproving, according to the Quinnipiac poll.
Biden’s early approval rating is already somewhat better than that of his predecessor, former President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGeorgia secretary of state opens investigation into Lin Wood over illegal voting allegations Schiff lobbying Newsom to be appointed California AG: reports Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick lies in honor in Rotunda MORE. A Quinnipiac poll released at a similar point in 2017 showed Trump’s job approval registering at 42 percent and disapproval at 51 percent.
“The Biden numbers are solid but not spectacular as the country tries to coalesce around a new administration that faces the dual challenge of daunting economic struggles and comforting a COVID-weary public,” Tim Malloy, a polling analyst at Quinnipiac University, said.
Despite the sharp partisan split in Biden’s approval numbers, about six in 10 Americans – 61 percent – said they are generally optimistic about the next four years with him in the White House. And most respondents – 56 percent – believe he is doing more to try to unite the country than divide it, the poll found.
But Biden has his work cut out for him, coming into the White House amid a pandemic, economic turbulence and boiling political tensions.
Opinions are split on the Democratic Party, with 46 percent of Americans believing that it is moving in the right direction and another 46 percent believing that it is headed down the wrong path, the Quinnipiac poll found.
But it still fares better in the court of public opinion than the GOP. Nearly two-thirds of Americans – 64 percent – said they believe the Republican Party is heading in the wrong direction, while only 25 percent believe it is moving in the right direction.
Meanwhile, approval of the top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate is underwater.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they approve of Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCapitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick lies in honor in Rotunda Democrats offer resolution denouncing white supremacists ahead of Trump trial Lobbying world MORE’s (D-N.Y.) job performance, while 42 percent disapprove. His Republican counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGreene’s future on House committees in limbo after GOP meeting GOP lawmaker pushes measure to remove Omar from Foreign Affairs panel House Republicans gear up for conference meeting amid party civil war MORE (R-Ky.), fares even worse; only 21 percent said they approve of his job performance, while about two-thirds – 67 percent – disapprove.
Leaders in the House received lackluster reviews, as well. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchiff lobbying Newsom to be appointed California AG: reports Biden pays respects to fallen Capitol police officer Sicknick Greene’s future on House committees in limbo after GOP meeting MORE (D-Calif.) scored 45 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval in the Quinnipiac poll. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGreene’s future on House…