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Biden Approval Ratings Mostly Underwater

Biden Approval Ratings Mostly Underwater

Story Highlights

  • Biden's 42% overall job approval unchanged since October
  • U.S. adults evenly divided in approval of Biden's COVID-19 response
  • On five other key issues, more disapprove than approve

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Joe Biden's job rating remains underwater, with 42% of Americans approving and 55% disapproving. Likewise, majorities of U.S. adults disapprove of Biden's handling of five key issues -- immigration, the economy, foreign affairs, crime and healthcare. The public's most positive rating of Biden -- for his response to the coronavirus -- finds the public evenly divided.

President Joe Biden's Approval Ratings Among U.S. Adults
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Biden is handling -- ?
Approve Disapprove
% %
His job as president 42 55
The response to the coronavirus 49 49
Healthcare policy 44 53
Crime 39 57
Foreign affairs 38 59
The economy 38 61
Immigration 31 66
Nov. 1-17, 2021

These findings are from Gallup's Nov. 1-16 poll, which was an eventful period for the Biden administration on several fronts. During the poll's field period, the president, fresh from participating in his first G20 summit, spoke at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow and reaffirmed the United States' commitment to addressing climate change.

Back at home, the off-year election results showed significant Democratic losses amid frustration with the majority party in Washington. Biden's protracted negotiations with congressional Democrats on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill paid off when they passed the bill with modest support from Republicans. This legislative accomplishment was tempered by the news that inflation has hit a 30-year high, gas prices are still elevated and Americans continue to struggle with supply chain issues. Meanwhile, a vaccine for children aged 5-11 was authorized for emergency use, but the COVID-19 pandemic persists, and roughly 30% of U.S. adults have not been fully vaccinated against the disease.

Biden's overall job approval rating is unchanged from last month and remains the lowest of his presidency thus far. It is the third consecutive month of majority-level disapproval.


Line graph. Americans' approval of the way Joe Biden has been handling his job as president since January. The 42% of U.S. adults who currently approve of Biden's job is essentially unchanged from September and October but is down from the majority-level readings recorded February through June.

Partisans' latest ratings of the president are roughly the same as last month -- 90% of Democrats, 37% of independents and 6% of Republicans approve of Biden's job. The greatest shift since January has been among independents.

Biden's Issue Approval Ratings Have Worsened, Partisans Differ Greatly

Just as Biden's overall job approval rating has worsened in recent months, so too have his marks on the three issues that Gallup has been tracking since the early days of his presidency -- the response to COVID-19, the economy and foreign affairs.

In February, shortly after Biden's inauguration, majorities of Americans approved of his handling of each of these three issues, Yet, by August, amid the highly contagious delta variant surge, approval of the president's pandemic response had fallen 16 percentage points to 51%. Ratings on his handling of the economy and foreign affairs dropped eight and 10 points, respectively, to 46%.

While the two-point change in U.S. adults' approval of Biden's COVID-19 response since August is not statistically significant, ratings of the economy and foreign affairs have each declined eight points further, to 38%. These decreases between the August and November polls coincide with Americans' worsening views of the economy and declining trust in the federal government's handling of international affairs after the flawed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

All party groups are currently more critical of Biden on the three issues than they were in February.

  • Still, ratings among Democrats remain at the majority level on all three issues. Although 90% of Democrats approve of Biden's job on COVID-19, their ratings on the economy (76%) and foreign affairs (73%) are down 14 and 19 points, respectively, since February, and are much lower than their overall approval of Biden.

  • Independents' approval ratings of the president's handling of the economy (36%) and foreign affairs (37%) are well below 50%, and 51% approve of his coronavirus response.

  • In February, 34% of Republicans approved of Biden's response to the pandemic, while their ratings for his handling of the economy (12%) and foreign affairs (15%) were much lower. Republicans' current 12% approval rating on the pandemic is more in line with their single-digit approval ratings for the economy and foreign affairs.

Changes in Biden Job Approval Ratings, Overall and by Party Identification
% Approve
Feb. 2021 Aug. 2021 Nov. 2021
% % %
The response to the coronavirus
U.S. adults 67 51 49
Democrats 95 86 90
Independents 66 48 51
Republicans 34 14 12
The economy
U.S. adults 54 46 38
Democrats 90 84 76
Independents 54 40 36
Republicans 12 11 7
Foreign affairs
U.S. adults 56 46 38
Democrats 92 85 73
Independents 54 40 37
Republicans 15 11 8
U.S. adults -- 41 31
Democrats -- 76 61
Independents -- 37 32
Republicans -- 9 5

Approval of Biden's handling of immigration was first tracked by Gallup in August, and it has fallen 10 points, to 31%, since then. That change is owed mostly to a 15-point decline among Democrats, to 61%, while Republicans' (5%) and independents' (32%) ratings are essentially steady.

This is the first time in Biden's presidency that Gallup has measured ratings of his handling of healthcare policy (44%) and crime (39%). More than seven in 10 Democrats approve of Biden's job on both issues, while about four in 10 independents and less than two in 10 Republicans approve of each.

Bottom Line

Roughly ten months into his presidency, Biden's overall job approval rating remains tepid, sharply polarized and historically low on a relative basis. His ratings on a range of key issues are similarly middling and politically divided. While Biden maintains nearly unanimous approval for his overall performance among his base, Democrats' ratings on several issues are faltering. Economic woes, perceived missteps in the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and continuing debates about the southern border of the U.S. and refugees from other countries are all weighing on Americans' minds. The pandemic is another serious pain point for the U.S., and cases are once again rising.

It remains to be seen how much the infrastructure law, and possibly the social services legislation Democrats are still negotiating, will benefit Biden's approval rating once those policies are implemented. While it is unlikely that Republicans' ratings of Biden will increase much regardless of what he does, he could regain the approval of independents and build upon his strength with Democrats.

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Explore President Biden's approval ratings and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.

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