The new poll found that 69% of Americans say things are going badly in the country today, below the pandemic-era high of 77% reached in January just before President Joe Biden took office, but well above that 60% who felt this way in March, CNN poll.
And 62% say economic conditions in the US are poor, up from 45% in April and almost as high as the pandemic-era high of 65% hit in May 2020.
Biden’s approval rating is 52% agreement to 48% disagreement, with disapproval increasing since April. The survey was conducted in August and early September, and Biden’s ratings changed during that time, with his approval rating being more positive in the first half of August (55%) than in later interviews (50%).
Growing pessimism about the development of the US and its economy is colliding with party lines, but the rise in Biden’s disapproval seems to be centered on the independents. While 43% of them disapproved of the way Biden did his job in a CNN poll in April, that number is now 54%. Biden’s numbers among the partisans remain roughly the same as in April. August saw several significant challenges for the Biden administration, including a sharp spike in coronavirus cases in the US and a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Taliban quickly took control of the country. In interviews that were carried out after the fall of Kabul in mid-August, the new survey shows that Biden’s approval rate with 50% agreement to 50% disagreement is 42% in the latter segment.
Vice President Kamala Harris’s approval rating is the same as Biden’s, with 52% agreeing and 48% disagreeing, a 10 point increase in disapproval from April.
The survey has shown a significant decrease in approval for Biden to his handling of the coronavirus since April. All in all, 56% approve of the way he deals with it, up from 66% in April. This shift comes amid widespread concern about the virus. Americans’ concern about the coronavirus pandemic in their community is higher than it was last summer, before vaccinations against the virus were available. Democrats continue to express deepest concern about the pandemic (58% are very concerned), but sharp concern among Republicans has risen from 9% in late summer to 27% now.
At the same time, 77% of Americans say they are worried about the state of the economy in their community, up from 58% who said the same last summer. This increase is mainly due to a negative shift among Republicans (from 28% worried last year to 85% worried now), but the majority of parties express concern about the economy (70% for Democrats, 76% for Independents ) and the overall assessment of the economic situation has worsened since spring. In April, 54% said the economy was in good shape, the first time that number exceeded 50% since the pandemic began, but now only 38% say the economy is in good shape, with ratings from both declining Democrats and Republicans.
The survey also shows that concerns about the risk of crime have increased in the communities where Americans live. 57% now say they are concerned, up from 37% last summer. This shift has also occurred across party lines, with concern rising by 26 points among Republicans, 20 points among Democrats and 16 points among Independents.
Coronavirus (36%) and the economy (20%) are most often cited as the country’s top problems. No other topic is mentioned in an open-ended question by more than 9% of Americans. And when Americans are asked to name their family’s biggest economic problem today, rising prices and the cost of living are the main overwhelming problem, with 43% citing something related to inflation or the cost of living as their most pressing problem.
Although only 4% identify a crime or gun-related problem as the country’s top concern, most Americans (55%) say it is very important to them that the federal government address the increase in gun violence well before that Percentage who say it is important that the government enact stricter laws to counter racist policies and institutions (52% very important) and take aggressive action to slow the effects of climate change (51%). Around half say that it is very important for the federal government to make significant investments in improving infrastructure (49%) or to pass laws that expand access to the right to vote (47%). A similar proportion, 49%, feel it is very important that the federal government take action to stop undocumented immigrants from immigrating to the United States.
However, Americans’ perception of the importance of these issues is deeply divided on the part of the parties. Among Democrats, around 8 in 10 say countering racist policies, combating gun violence, slowing climate change and widening electoral access is very important, while less than 3 in 10 Republicans say the same. Republicans consider it much more important than Democrats to stem the influx of undocumented immigrants, 84% very important versus 22%.
Americans express widespread anger about how things are going in the US, with 74% saying they are at least a little angry about things in the country today. This is about as common as it was last summer, but the feeling is less intense now. While 51% said they were “very angry” last year, only 26% feel the same now, exactly between the level of intense anger experienced during the first years of the presidency of Donald Trump (31%) and Barack Obama (23%) was measured.
The partisan dynamic behind these angry feelings has shifted over the past year. Anger has risen nearly 20 points for Republicans while it has fallen by nearly 30 points for Democrats, but despite those shifts, party majorities say they are at least a little angry with the state of America today.
The new CNN survey was conducted by SSRS from August 3rd to September 7th among a random national sample of 2,119 adults originally reached by mail. The interviews were conducted either online or by telephone with a live interviewer. The results for the entire sample have a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
The change in methodology means that shifts in results compared to previous CNN surveys may be at least partially due to how respondents answer questions when completing a survey themselves online and when speaking to an interviewer on the phone. and in the increased number of respondents who have an opinion on most questions.
Earlier this year, when asked about Biden’s approval rating, some self-administered polls found higher ratings and lower no-opinion responses than some telephone polls. For example, in April, around the 100-day mark of Biden’s presidency, when many pollers were researching around the same time, the AP-NORC Center’s survey, which, like the new CNN poll, is mostly online with some phone interviews, found Biden Approval rating at 63%, and a CBS News / YouGov poll conducted fully online around the same time found an approval rating of 58%. CNN’s April telephone poll found it had a lower approval rating of 53%, with a higher percentage expressing no opinion on Biden’s presidency. Both CBS News and AP-NORC released polls in late August that showed a high single-digit decline in Biden’s approval ratings. Telephone polls conducted at the same time have shown a similarly large decrease in Biden’s approval numbers, including an 8 point shift in the ABC News / Washington Post poll and a 10 point decrease in NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist.