President Joe Biden’s approval hasn’t moved in two months. He had an average 55% approval rating at the beginning of his presidency. Two months later, Biden’s approval rating stands at 54%. That’s less movement than even former President Donald Trump had during his first few months on the job, and opinion on Trump was notoriously stagnant.
Biden’s secret to success is simple: he’s addressing the issues Americans care about, while his weaker issues are those that most Americans don’t seem as worried about.
You can see this well in Gallup polling and a newly released ABC News/Ipsos poll.
Despite Biden getting no questions on it during his first press conference, coronavirus remains the top problem on Americans’ minds. According to Gallup, 25% say it is – a percentage that hasn’t fallen below 22% in the last seven months.
Biden’s positive rating on handling the coronavirus is at 72% in the ABC News/Ipsos poll. That’s the highest it’s ever been in that survey. The same respondents give him a 75% approval on distributing coronavirus vaccines specifically.
Indeed in poll after poll (including CNN/SSRS’ poll), Biden gets an overwhelmingly high approval rating on the coronavirus.
Likewise, Biden’s Covid relief package that he signed into law earlier this month has polled well in poll after poll. In the ABC poll, Biden’s approval rating on the economic recovery is at 62%. This is quite similar to the 61% who favored the relief package in CNN’s March poll.
In Gallup’s March survey, 19% listed the economy as the nation’s top problem. This is the highest the economy has ranked in the past seven months and tied within the margin of error with the government/poor leadership for the second most important problem in the country.
In other words, Biden’s getting strong ratings where it politically helps him the most.
This is very much unlike Trump who had awful ratings during the final months of his presidency on the coronavirus. It was a big reason he lost.
Biden’s weaker issues, on the other hand, are ones that far fewer Americans care about.
His approval rating on the situation at the southern border is a mere 41% with a disapproval rating of 57% in the ABC poll. This is in-line with other polling that suggests that immigration is among Biden’s worst issues. Biden’s approval rating on immigration was 41% among registered voters in CNN’s last poll.
Just 8% of Americans said it was a top problem earlier in March, according to Gallup. This is just a third the level of the importance Americans put on the coronavirus and half that they put on the economy.
It’s possible that immigration will rise in importance as an issue for voters in the months to come, but for now it really is secondary.
The same general idea holds true for the issue of guns. Biden has essentially said that gun legislation will wait until later in the year.
A mere 1% said guns were a top problem earlier this month in Gallup polling. After mass shootings like those that occurred earlier this month in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, the issue of guns does tend to become more important in people’s minds.
Even so, the highest percentage of people who said guns were a top problem in recent years was 13% following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This not only is lower than the economy and the coronavirus ranked now, but that 13% lasted for a mere one month before dropping back into the single digits.
That’s why it’s unlikely that Biden’s low 42% approval rating on gun violence in the ABC poll will ultimately mean very much for his overall popularity. Voters just don’t place that much importance on gun issues.
The bottom line is that as long as Biden does popular things on popular issues he’ll continue to be popular. Such a formula is simple, but you’d be surprised how many politicians manage to screw it up.