May 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Poll: More Americans say U.S. is on right track than any time since 2017

Photo illustration of Joseph Biden smiling with an upwards trending line and stars
Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Kyle Rivas/Stringer via Getty Images

54% of Americans in the latest AP-NORC poll say the U.S. is heading in the right direction, marking the highest level of public optimism the poll has recorded since 2017.

The big picture: 71% of Americans approve of President Biden's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing his overall approval rating to 63% after four months in office, according to the poll.

By the numbers: Despite his widespread popularity, approval of Biden's performance is still starkly divided along partisan lines.

  • 57% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, which breaks down to 91% of Democrats and just 19% of Republicans.
  • Of all the issues polled, Biden's immigration policies received the lowest overall marks at 43% approval. That includes 70% of Democrats and just 11% of Republicans.
  • There also remains a partisan gap with respect to views on pandemic risk. 69% of Democrats are still somewhat worried about getting infected with COVID-19, compared to 33% of Republicans.

Where it stands: The overall positive picture comes as coronavirus cases plummet across the country and the U.S. economy continues to reopen thanks to a successful vaccine rollout.

  • The Biden administration could face some headwinds in the coming months as the rate of vaccinations slows down and employers struggle to add more jobs.
  • And after passing his signature $1.9 trillion COVID relief package in March, Biden may have more difficulty getting Congress to approve his multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan.

Methodology: The nationwide poll was conducted April 29-May 3, 2021 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,842 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

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