Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the country is moving in the right direction.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) are optimistic about the country’s direction in the poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in conjunction with ABC News using Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel.
But some White House warning lights are flashing. Biden is betting on a lofty agenda to keep the momentum and set up Democrats for success in the interim next year, while the GOP hopes voters perceive an overreach and the president’s policies become an electoral anchor.
Only a narrow majority (52%) think the federal government should spend to revitalize the economy, even as it raises taxes – including 80% of Democrats and 54% of Independents. The issue of government spending and taxes largely divides Americans: 47% say taxes should remain at the same level, even at the expense of the economy – including 78% of Republicans.
After more than a year of the corona pandemic As they devastate the country, about a third of Americans (36%) remain pessimistic about the future of the country under Biden.
Only about a quarter of Americans (23%) think the country is more united since Biden took office. Of this group, an overwhelming 87% gives Biden credit. Only 3% granted credit to Republican leaders in Congress, and 10% said both in the poll.
Of the 28% who said the country is more divided, 6 in 10 think Biden is more responsible for the divisions, compared with 34% who say both Biden and Republicans are guilty of seeding divisions. Only 6% accused Republicans.
Almost half of the country (48%) sees no movement in the issue of unity since Biden took office, believing that the country is no longer united or divided. Views of the country’s polarization during Biden’s early tenure fall along party lines, with 95% of Democrats saying the country is more united (45%) or the same (50%), and 97% of Republicans saying the nation is more is divided (65%) or the same (32%).
Biden, who has built a reputation as a moderate in the Senate for decades, has shifted his policy priorities as president to the left. Speaking to a joint session of Congress this week, he outlined unprecedented investment for his core priorities, while not being deterred by sharp Republican backlash. And the Democratic Party seems united behind him: 90% of Democrats approved his work performance in the latter case ABC News / Washington Post poll.
But uncertainty looms over what his next legislative achievement will be, with Biden’s political capital in between its huge infrastructure bill and plans for gun control, immigration, education and childcare.
A narrow majority of Americans (51%) in the new poll think Biden is compromising on the right amount with the Republican leaders of Congress on the most pressing issues. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans (39%) think Biden does too little, and only 9% say he compromises too much.
Republican leaders, however, are viewed more negatively. Two-thirds of Americans view GOP leaders in Congress as doing too little to compromise with Biden. Just over 1 in 5 Americans (22%) believe Republicans are doing just about the right thing to compromise, and only 10% think they are doing too much.
Biden, for his part, outperforms its predecessor in this way. More than half of the country (56%) felt that Trump was doing too little to compromise with the Democrats in a September 2017 ABC News / Washington Post poll. Meanwhile, current Republican leaders in Congress are doing something worse than their Democratic counterparts in the Trump era, when 60% of Americans said the Democrats weren’t doing enough to compromise with Trump.
This ABC News / Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs’ KnowledgePanel® from April 30 to May 1, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 513 adults. The results have a sampling error margin of 4.7 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31% -25% -36%, Democrats-Republicans-Independents. View the main survey results and details about the methodology here.
Dan Merkle and Ken Goldstein from ABC News contributed to this report.