A new poll showed that President Joe Biden’s approval rating jumped by eight percentage points after he delivered his State of the Union address and reveals that Americans’ views of how he is handling multiple other crises has improved.
The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll showed that Mr Biden’s approval rating rose from 39 per cent last week to 47 per cent this week. Similarly, the number of Americans who disapprove of his presidency is down from 55 per cent to only 50 per cent.
Americans’ view of Mr Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic also improved. Late last month, 49 per cent of respondents disapproved of his handling but 55 per cent now approve of his handling of the pandemic. Mr Biden announced a series of measures and discussed ways to move on from the pandemic in his address.
“And thanks to the progress we’ve made in the past year, Covid-19 no longer need control our lives. I know some are talking about ‘living with Covid-19,’” he said. “But tonight, I say that we never will just accept living with Covid-19; we’ll continue to combat the virus as we do other diseases.”
The president also addressed concerns from parents who are worried about children younger than 5 who cannot get vaccinated yet.
“Scientists are working hard to get that done, and we’ll be ready with plenty of vaccines if and when they do,” he said. Similarly, he said that anti-viral treatments were ready and that the United States would launch a “Test to Treat” initiative so people could get tested at a pharmacy and if they are positive, can receive antiviral pills for free.
“And folks if you’re immunocompromised or have some other vulnerability, we have treatments and free high-quality masks,” he said. “We’re leaving no one behind or ignoring anyone’s needs as we move forward.”
The president’s biggest improvement came for his handling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last month, 34 per cent of voters approved of his handling of the crisis but that number shot up to 52 per cent approval.
Mr Biden spent most of the first half of his speech talking about Ukraine and various measures the United States was taking to punish the Putin regime for its invasion of a sovereign nation, such as cutting off Russia’s banks from the global financial system and seizing various assets of oligarchs.
“We’re joining with European Allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets. We’re coming for your ill-begotten gains,” he said.
Mr Biden’s positive numbers come despite the fact that 78 per cent of Americans fear a broader war in Europe will erupt. The same number of Americans fear that Russia will wage cyberattacks on the United States and seven in ten fear that nuclear weapons will be used. In addition, 69 per cent of Americans, including 58 per cent of Republicans, said they support sanctions against Russia even if it means paying higher energy prices.
Banning Russian oil imports has split the White House and Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed doing so, as has Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin of West Virginia, along with the ranking Republican on the committee Sen Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
“I’m all for that. Ban it. Ban the oil coming from Russia,” she said.
But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ruled out the idea, saying it would limit the supply of energy, causing prices to go up.
“We don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy,” she said.
But the news isn’t all good for the White House. While Americans’ approval of Mr Biden’s handling of the economy improved by nine percentage points, it is still in the negatives, with 45 per cent approving and 53 per cent disapproving. The low numbers come amid concerns about rising inflation, which is at the highest it has been in decades. But on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the economy added 678,000 jobs.