Biden underperforms despite his perceived handling of pandemic

by | May 10, 2021

President Joe Biden won praise in Florida for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, but registered voters still issued only tepid approval for his first 100 days in office, according to a statewide survey by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).

Overall, 45 percent of the 893 respondents approve of the job Biden has done so far, with 43 percent disapproving and 13 percent undecided. The Democratic president’s pandemic response and the economic stimulus package both drew 57 percent approvals among respondents.

Florida voted for Republican Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020, and Biden’s numbers underperform in the Sunshine State compared to national polls, noted Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., a professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative.

“The state continues to be sharply divided with only 13 percent of Trump voters and 18 percent of Republicans overall approving of President Biden’s performance in his first 100 days,” Wagner said. “Younger voters were far more likely to approve of President Biden.”

FAU poll respondents believe Biden has to improve his response to immigration and border policy, with 52 percent disapproving of his handling of the situation at the U.S. southern border, while 29 percent approve and 19 percent are undecided.

The poll results also point to concern about the overall mood of the electorate, with 57 percent being dissatisfied with the way things are going compared with 30 percent generally satisfied and 14 percent unsure.

“After the pandemic ends, it’s going to be interesting to see what policies Biden puts in place to maintain his approval rating because a majority of respondents are dissatisfied with the way things are going,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI in the College of Business.

While the economic stimulus package delivered money to hard-hit households, the Florida voters are split on Biden’s handling of the economy, with 44 percent disapproving and 43 percent approving.

A majority of respondents (54 percent) support a tax increase from about 37 percent to 40 percent for households earning more than $400,000 a year. That plan was most popular among younger voters, specifically those from ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 44.

Respondents were bullish on the American Dream, with a majority of Republicans (74 percent) and Democrats (52 percent) saying that’s easier to achieve in Florida than elsewhere.

“It’s encouraging to see both parties coming together on that issue,” Escaleras said.

A majority of respondents (62 percent) want more attention paid to global warming and alternative energy solutions in Congress, while 24 percent said less attention should be paid and 14 percent said those issues already receive the right amount of attention.

The survey of registered Florida voters was conducted April 30-May 2.The polling results and full cross-tabulations are available by clicking here.


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