Jan 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pew: Biden to start presidency with strong performance ratings

Joe biden
Joe Biden. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden will start his presidency next week with relatively strong performance ratings, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

On the other hand: President Trump will leave the the White House with his lowest approval rating ever.

By the numbers:

On Biden:

  • 64% of voters expressed a positive opinion of Biden's conduct since he won the November election, Pew found.
  • 58% of Americans approve of the job Biden has done in explaining his plans and policies. That compares to:
    • 39% of Americans who said they approved of how Trump explained his plans ahead of his inauguration in 2017.
    • 70% of people who said in January 2009 they approved of how former President Barack Obama explained his plans as president-elect.
    • 50% of Americans who said in January 2001 that they approved of how George W. Bush explained his plans.
    • 64% of Americans who said in January 1993 they approved of how Bill Clinton explained his plans.
  • 57% of Americans approve of Biden's Cabinet choices and other high-level appointments.

On Trump:

  • 29% of Americans approve of Trump's job performance — the lowest approval rating of his presidency.
    • Pew notes that much of the decline has come among Republicans and GOP leaners. About 60% of Republicans currently approve of Trump's job performance, down from 77% in August.
  • 76% of American voters said they would rate Trump's conduct since the election as fair or poor, up from 68% in November.
  • 68% said Trump should not remain a political figure for years to come; 29% say he should.
  • 52% said Trump bears "a lot" of responsibility for the violence at the U.S. Capitol.
    • 81% of Democrats say he bears "a lot" of responsibility, while only 18% of Republicans said so.
    • 46% of Republicans say he bears no responsibility for the violence.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev: The sudden drop in Trump’s job approval ratings by some Republicans gives Biden a small window of opportunity to reach across the aisle to centrists and establishment GOP. But it’s also likely that Biden’s numbers will only go down once he's actually in office.

Go deeper: GOP voters choose Trump — again

Pew methodology: The research center "surveyed 5,360 U.S. adults in January 2021. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology."

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