The novel coronavirus and the economy will be the biggest challenges facing President-elect Joe Biden, but unity and race relations scored a sizable number of mentions as well in the latest Monmouth University Poll.
About half of poll respondents expect a Joe Biden administration would do better than the Trump administration on the challenges currently facing the U.S., while four in ten Americans reported knowing someone who supports Donald Trump but would not talk about it for fear of being called racist.
Additionally, a majority of Americans were positive about Kamala Harris becoming vice president; even Biden-Harris voters were more happy about this outcome than Biden winning the presidency.
“The groundbreaking choice of Harris as Biden’s running mate generated a lot of excitement among the Democratic base in the election. Now we’ll see how that translates to governing,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Coronavirus, Economy Top Issues
As could be expected, the coronavirus pandemic (42%) and the economy (36%) weighed heavily on the minds of poll respondents. The two topics represented the most pressing issues the next president would face across the next four years.
Additionally, 20% of respondents claimed uniting the country would be the major challenge of the incoming administration, with 15% citing race relations.
Healthcare (9%), national security (8%), law and order (7%), foreign relations (7%), and cleaning up Washington (6%) ranked highly on the list.
“There is no question that the pandemic’s health and economic impacts will top President-elect Biden’s to-do list. But there are many other issues poised to take their place once the virus is under control,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Partisan Divides Evident on COVID-19
The most frequently mentioned issue in poll was COVID-19, and a clear partisan divide was evident. Many more Democrats (59%) named COVID-19 as a major challenge for the coming administration, compared to 25% of Republicans.
Overall, 55% of Americans felt measures taken by the federal government to slow the pandemic were not enough; this figure was up from 45% shortly after the outbreak in March but below the 58% reported in August.
Divides were evident with this train of thought, as well. Republicans were the most likely to feel COVID-19 measures were sufficient, with 54% of this group reporting so. Meanwhile, 85% of Democrats and 61% of independents said Washington had not done enough.