NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll: Biden’s Approval Rating, July 2021

Biden’s Approval Remains Steady… Many Americans Think Our Democracy is “Under Threat”

President Joe Biden’s approval rating (50%) is consistent with his mid-June rating of 51%. 43% disapprove, and 7% are unsure. Biden gets the most credit for his handling of the pandemic, passing marks for his economic policies, and mixed reviews on his approach to foreign policy. He is upside down on immigration. Nearly seven in ten Americans believe our democracy is “under threat.”

Biden Approval
Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?
Source: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll National Adults. Interviews conducted June 22- June 29, 2021, n=1115 MOE +/- 3.7 percentage points
  • Biden’s approval rating is, like Trump’s before, starkly partisan. 89% of Democrats approve of the job he’s doing while just 11% of Republicans agree. 48% of independents approve.

  • 21% of Americans strongly approve of the job Biden is doing as president while 32% strongly disapprove.

  • Nearly two in three Americans (64%) approve of how Biden is dealing with the pandemic, including 36% of Republicans and 29% of 2020 Trump voters. Biden’s approval rating on the pandemic has consistently been above 60%.

  • 50% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, comparable to his score in May (51%). 45% of Americans disapprove. A firm partisan split exists while independents divide (48% approve to 47% disapprove).

  • Americans divide (46% approve to 44% disapprove) on how Biden is dealing with foreign policy. Biden outperforms former President Donald Trump on the issue at any point in Trump’s presidency. Again, independents divide (44% approve to 43% disapprove).

  • 49% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of immigration. 38% approve, and 13% are unsure. Biden’s approval rating on this issue has notched up since March (34%). 84% of Republicans and 52% of independents perceive Biden to be falling short on immigration, and nearly one in five Democrats (19%) agree.

  • 67% of Americans, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents, believe American democracy is “under threat.” 29% say democracy in the United States is alive and well.

Americans divide about whether the nation is headed in the right (47%) or wrong (49%) direction. This is a marked change since January, immediately following the January 6th Capitol insurrection, when 20% of Americans thought the nation was on track, and 75% said it was off the rails. Democrats (87%) are far more optimistic than independents (44%) and Republicans (10%).

As to how the tone in Washington has changed since Biden’s election, a plurality (41%) report it has gotten worse, and 21% say it has gotten better. 35% say it has stayed the same. During the Trump Administration, more than two in three Americans consistently reported an eroding sense of civility in Washington, D.C.

“87% of Trump backers and 60% of Biden voters agree that our democracy is under threat,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Poll. “But, they view the reasons for such risk through a very different lens. For Democrats, January 6th undoubtedly looms large while, for Republicans, it’s more likely about Trump and his claims of a rigged election.”

Other Findings

Role on the World Stage

Half of Americans (50%) think President Biden has strengthened America’s role on the world stage, down slightly from 54% in April. 43%, comparable to 42% previously, say he has weakened it.

Voting Rights

When asked about the priority in voting laws, a majority of Americans (56%) say “making sure that everyone who wants to vote can do so” is more of a concern. 41% report “making sure that no one votes who is not eligible” is the priority.

There is a notable partisan difference. 85% of Democrats and 52% of independents favor the goal of access for all those who want to vote, and 72% of Republicans support the goal of ensuring that no one votes who is not eligible to do so.

There is almost no partisan divide, however, over the question of voter ID at the polls. Most Americans (79%) back requiring government-issued photo identification in order to vote, including 94% of Republicans, 83% of independents, and 57% of Democrats.