Just a few days before President Joe Biden marks his first 100 days in office, a trio of new polls from NBC, CBS, and the Washington Post and ABC show that Americans give Biden high marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while his overall job approval rating remains positive.
But Biden also faces criticism from respondents over his handling of an influx of migrants arriving at the US’s southern border, and Sunday’s NBC News poll underscores the apparent durability of Republican voter fraud lies.
In all three polls, better than 60 percent of adults approved of Biden’s coronavirus response, and a comfortable majority were enthusiastic about his recent infrastructure proposal, which calls for $2 trillion in spending on everything from roads and bridges to green energy and high-speed broadband.
Americans were also much happier with Biden’s first 100 days than with former President Donald Trump’s early tenure in 2017. While Trump’s approval rating sat in the low 40s shortly after taking office, according to all three polls, over half of respondents approve of the job Biden has done in the first 100 days.
Young people are particularly upbeat. According to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll released Friday, 56 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 said they were “hopeful about the future of America,” compared to just 31 percent in 2017.
In particular, the IOP poll found, young people of color feel far more positively about America now than in 2017.
Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have played a significant role in these positive numbers. Prior to taking office, Biden promised to administer 100 million vaccine doses within his first 100 days. He’s made good on that promise and then some: On Wednesday, his administration announced that 200 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US.
Biden will mark his 100th day in office this Thursday, one day after he is set to give his first joint address to Congress.
Biden also signed an overwhelmingly popular $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package into law last month, which included $1,400 checks for most Americans, and he has overseen falling Covid-19 case numbers and an economy that is beginning to bounce back.
In the NBC poll, a plurality of Americans — about 30 percent — said the coronavirus was the top issue facing the country, followed by “uniting the country” at 25 percent.
However, other issues are already shaping up to be a challenge for the Biden administration. According to all three polls, a majority of Americans disapprove of Biden’s early handling of immigration issues and the southern border.
The administration is currently confronting a substantial influx of unaccompanied children at the southern border, in some cases overwhelming Customs and Border Protection facilities.
However, as Vox’s Nicole Narea reported last month, the situation at the border isn’t exactly new — there have been surges of migrants at the border before, and “the current situation is not an aberration, but a recurring problem.”
The “big lie” isn’t going away
Though recent polls by and large paint a positive picture of Biden’s first 100 days in office, there’s at least one persistent burr. According to Sunday’s CBS/YouGov poll, just 68 percent of Americans believe that Biden was elected legitimately — and only a quarter of Trump voters say that.
Those numbers are almost identical to what a number of major polls found in January 2021, shortly before Biden took office. Then, according to a CNN-SSRS poll, 65 percent of Americans believed Biden’s win was legitimate, and 75 percent of Republicans either suspected that Biden did not win legitimately, or believed there was “solid evidence” he did not.
There is no such evidence — election officials of both parties, at both the state and federal levels, say the 2020 election was actually the most secure in history — but relatively static beliefs about Biden’s legitimacy suggest that the GOP’s “big lie,” an all-consuming voter fraud mythology with no basis in fact, isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
In fact, lawmakers in 47 states have introduced a staggering number of restrictive new voting bills to address a nonexistent “election integrity” problem, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, including a Georgia bill that has already been signed into law.
This mythology does translate into loyalty among Trump’s diehard base, according to NBC’s most recent poll. As of this month, 32 percent of Americans hold a somewhat or very positive view of the former president. But that represents a dip from January, when his favorability stood at about 40 percent. Meanwhile, Biden’s favorability has increased to 50 percent since taking office, up from 44 percent in January.