NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll: The 2022 Midterms & Biden’s Job Performance, April 2022

GOP Advantage in Congressional Mids… Democrats Weak on Key Issues

With the 2022 Congressional Midterm Elections a little more than six months away, U.S. registered voters give Republicans (47%) the advantage over the Democratic candidates (44%) nationally. On the economy, controlling inflation, crime, national security, and gun policy, pluralities of Americans perceive the Republican Party to be the party who would be better able to handle these issues. Americans express these views as President Joe Biden’s job approval rating remains upside down, and his ratings on the economy and the crisis in Ukraine take on water.

2022 Congressional Midterm Elections
If this year's election for Congress were held today, which party's candidate are you more likely to vote for in your district:
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Registered Voters. Interviews conducted April 19th through April 26th, 2022, n=1,162 MOE +/- 3.7 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
  • Independents break 45% for the Republican candidate and 38% for the Democratic candidate on the generic congressional ballot. A notable 10% are unsure.

  • Pluralities of Americans perceive the Republican Party to be the party who can better deal with the issues of national security (43%), the economy (42%), controlling inflation (41%), gun policy (41%), and crime (39%). The Democratic base is fractured on these issues. Notable proportions of Democrats think the Republicans, both parties, or neither party would be better able to handle these issues.

  • The Democratic Party is perceived by pluralities of Americans as stronger on handling the issues of LGBTQ rights (48%), climate change (45%), abortion (41%), voting rights (41%), education (38%), and coronavirus (37%). The Republican base is weakest on the issues of LGBTQ rights, climate change, and coronavirus.

  • There is less consensus among Americans about whether the Democratic or Republican Party would do a better job handling immigration (37% Republicans to 34% Democrats) and election security (33% Democrats to 29% Republicans).

  • President Joe Biden’s job approval rating stands at 41%, inched up from 39% in late March. By more than two-to-one, Americans are still more likely to strongly disapprove (37%) than strongly approve (16%) of Biden’s performance. Biden’s favorable rating is down from his March 2021 high of 52%. It now stands at 42%. His favorability is just slightly higher than that of former President Donald Trump (39%).

"The road to the midterms has the GOP in the driver’s seat," says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "If the Democrats can’t boost their credibility on the economy, they will need to hone a message about what a Congress controlled by Republicans will mean for the composition of the Supreme Court and the issues Americans look to Democrats to protect or advance."

The Specifics of Biden’s Job Approval Rating

Biden’s approval rating on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic is right-side up (53% approve to 42% disapprove), little changed from the 55% score he received in the March survey immediately following the State of the Union. However, Biden’s approval rating on his handling of the economy is at 39%, down from 45% in early March, and his score on dealing with the Russian invasion of Ukraine is also underwater. 44% approve, down from 52% in early March. 49% disapprove.

Turning the Corner on Coronavirus?

73% of Americans are optimistic that the United States is nearing the end of the coronavirus pandemic. 22% are pessimistic. These views are virtually unchanged from those reported in February.

A majority of Americans (52%), especially Black Americans (71%), say they personally know someone who died from coronavirus.