Pandemic Resurgence Hurting Confidence In Biden and America’s Future
The pandemic resurgence is affecting optimism in the nation. Writing for ABC News, Quinn Scanlan highlights how now 55% of the public say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, a change from the 36% that said the same in an ABC News/Ipsos poll published May 2. In that survey, Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic by a 28-percentage point margin. Optimism is now under water by 10 points and looking ahead to the next 12 months, 45% now report feeling optimistic about the way things are going, a significant drop from 64% in the May poll.
Republicans, Democrats, and Independents
Optimism is down about 20 points among Democrats and Republicans and down 26 points among independents. Among Democrats, about 71% now say they are optimistic about the direction of the country over the next 12 months, lower than the 93% approval from Democrats in May.
According to this poll, 62% are concerned — 20% very and 42% somewhat — that they or someone they know will become infected with the coronavirus; 39% are not concerned. That’s the lowest level of concern in this poll going back to March 2020 when less than 20% of the U.S. population was at least partially vaccinated. Since then, every American 12 years and older has become eligible to receive a vaccine.
In this poll, 74% of U.S. adults say they have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Similar to other recent surveys, the poll slightly overstates the number of Americans who have been vaccinated according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most recent CDC report, which could lag actual vaccinations by a few days, shows that 68.8% of the adult population had received at least one dose.
Concern about infection, according to this poll, is higher among those who are at least partially vaccinated than those who are not, 67% compared to 46%. But while a majority of unvaccinated U.S. adults say they are not concerned that they or someone they know will be infected with the virus, public health experts, including the CDC director, have warned that this is becoming a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Other Polls on Pandemic Resurgence
In a Monmouth University poll conducted in mid-June, 23% of Americans said they were very concerned they or someone in their family would become seriously ill from COVID, and 19% said they were somewhat concerned about this — both record lows in Monmouth’s polling. 24% said they were not so concerned about this, and 32% said they were not at all concerned — both record highs in Monmouth’s polling.
Biden and the Pandemic Resurgence
63% approve of the president’s response to the coronavirus, a nine-point drop from late March — the high for Biden. It likely reflects the growing concern that lockdowns could be reinstated and already vaccinated Americans could need a booster shot as the highly contagious delta variant now is estimated to account for 83% of all new coronavirus cases in the United States. As of Friday, according to Health and Human Services data obtained by ABC News, the United States’ daily case average was up 47% compared to the prior week, and on Wednesday, the nation recorded its highest single-day new case total since April.
In late March, 6 in 10 approved of Biden’s handling of the economic recovery according to ABC News/Ipsos polling. Although jobless claims were expected to hit a new pandemic-era low Thursday, instead, they increased to a level last seen in mid-June, though it’s too soon to know if that will become a trend.
The overwhelming majority (88%) of Democrats approve of the president’s handling of the economic recovery, but only about half (49%) of independents do and less than 2 in 10 (16%) Republicans do.
Immigration, Crime, and Gun Violence
Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans approve of the president’s handling of immigration and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, crime and gun violence. Republicans have hounded Biden and Democrats over all three, as border crossings and violent crime rates, especially in Democrat-run U.S. cities nationwide, surge. That’s reflected in Republicans’ high level of disapproval — ranging between 86% and 92% — of the president’s handling of the three issues, according to this poll.
Among all Americans, the disapproval figures for crime and gun violence track closely with each other — both around 6 in 10 each — and disapproval of Biden’s handling of gun violence has ticked up slightly since late March among the public, from 57% to 61%.
55% of Americans approve of the president’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 52% say Biden has done an excellent or good job keeping his campaign promises, while 47% say he’s done a not so good or poor job.
The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs’ KnowledgePanel® July 23-24, 2021, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 527 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 5.0 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-24-36%, Democrats-Republicans-independents. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.