NPR/Marist National Poll: Biden & Economic Stimulus, December 2021

Americans Give Democratic Stimulus Programs Mixed Grades…Biden Approval Still Underwater

From the $1,400 stimulus checks early in the year through the child tax credits and recently passed infrastructure bill, Americans see Democratic programs to stimulate the economy through both partisan and practical lenses. Democrats and those who’ve benefited are most enthusiastic – most others, not so much. And a quarter of Americans don’t seem to know enough about the still in-the-works Build Back Better plan to have an opinion of it.

Build Back Better Blues
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Bill and it is now being debated in the U.S. Senate. In general, do you support or oppose this bill?
Source: NPR/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted November 30th through December 6th, 2021, n=1,172 MOE +/- 3.8 percentage points.
  • A majority of Americans (56%) support the infrastructure bill signed into law last month and, while many are optimistic it will help improve roads and bridges (69%), fewer say it will create better paying jobs (53%). Only a minority think it will help lower inflation (34%).

  • Among those who say they received the $1,400 stimulus check earlier in the year (62%), most say the money helped either “a little” (53%) or “a lot” (27%).

  • 17% of adults say they received the $300 monthly per-child payment including 59% of parents with children under 18, and, among them, a majority say the payments have helped either “a little” (64%) or “a lot” (15%).

  • The Build Back Better bill that recently passed the House but remains subject to debate in the Senate is supported by 41% of Americans. 34% say they oppose and a notable 25% say they are unsure.

  • As to the potential impacts of BBB, a plurality say they are optimistic it will help create better paying jobs (46%), but fewer think it will help people like themselves (42%) or lower inflation (35%).

The plurality of Americans give credit to the Democrats in Congress for the stimulus payments (40%) and the child tax credit (47%). Far fewer give the Republicans in Congress credit for either, 17% and 9%, respectively. Biden is given credit by 17% on the stimulus and 20% for the child tax credit. Nonetheless, Joe Biden’s approval rating (42%) remains at its lowest in our polling. It was 42% in our late November survey. The president’s earlier strong suit – approval of his handling of COVID – is now at 50%, down from 55% in our September survey.

A majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction (61%) with Republicans (88%) and independents (65%) feeling far more pessimistic than Democrats (31%).

“After pumping billions into the economy during 2021, Biden does not seem to be benefiting despite more Americans supporting the programs than opposing them,” says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Whether it’s a lack of salesmanship or the stubborn pandemic – or both – is a question the White House must tackle going into the 2022 midterms.”