As a group of 10 Republican U.S. Senators met with President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss their COVID-19 aid counterproposal that is a third of the President’s package, a recent poll showed a majority of Americans are hopeful the GOP working with the Biden Administration will be the new norm.
Among the findings of the latest Monmouth University Poll, Biden has the backing of the majority of Americans. Overall, Biden boasted a 54% approval rate compared to 30% disapproval. Most notably, the survey found the growing need to confront right-wing domestic terrorism is on equal footing as the economy and response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Seventy one percent would rather see Republicans in Congress find ways to work together with Biden than the 25% wanting them to focus on keeping Biden in check. The desire for bipartisan cooperation is higher than the 62% it was just after the November election and includes 41% of Republicans (up from 28% in November) as well as 70% of independents (68%) and 94% of Democrats (92%).
The current presidential rating was higher than any point during Donald Trump’s term in office, but partisan lines were still quite evident as 90% of Democrats, 47% of Independents, and just 15% of Republicans gave their approval for President Biden.
Calls for Unity
“Overall, there seems to be more goodwill for Biden than there was for Trump, but it really breaks down along partisan lines,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in a press statement. “Right now, more people identify as Democrats than Republicans.”
Despite the divide, many were calling for unity in the country. Overall, Congress did not test strongly (51% disapproval rate). Additionally, 51% thought the country was on the wrong track.
Despite the net scores being negative, Monmouth noted they were the most positive marks for both since it began tracking them nationally in 2013.
Tackling COVID-19 Issues
Most Americans want Republicans in Congress to work with Biden rather than keeping him in check, with demand for bipartisan cooperation even higher than it was just after the November election.
The pandemic was paramount among issues Americans looked to the Biden Administration to address. Jobs, healthcare, and education were issues Americans wanted the federal government to tackle as President Biden begins his first term.
Nearly half of the public (47%) said it was extremely important to address the COVID-19 pandemic, with 34% saying it was very important.
Domestic Terrorism Concerns
Meanwhile, domestic terrorism and hate groups were rated as a top tier issues. Election laws, voting access, a lack of unity in the country, racial inequality, law and order, and immigration were common answers in the next tier of important issues.
“The top priorities tend to focus on bread and butter issues, with one exception: the growing threat of domestic terrorism posed by hate groups,” said Murray. “At the other end of the spectrum, the anarchy of left wing radicals, while important, does not seem to pose quite the same existential threat.”
Murray added, “It’s interesting that domestic terrorism makes it to the top of the list for both Democrats and Republicans and that it is an even bigger concern for the latter group than left wing radicalism. One possible reason is a dawning realization that these hate groups not only threaten American society but could also have a detrimental effect on the GOP brand.”
A Focus on the Middle Class
Expectations were hopeful for the middle class under the Biden Administration, with 30% saying this cohort would benefit a lot, with 39% benefiting a little. Only 27% said the middle class wouldn’t benefit at all.
“Bolstering the middle class is usually considered the backbone of a successful presidency. But Biden probably faces more countervailing pressures on which issues to address than any other president in our lifetimes,” stated Murray.
Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said it was at least somewhat likely President Biden would propose policies to help the middle class, besting Trump’s 61% ahead of taking office and President Barack Obama a few months into his second term (55%).