Americans are nowhere near as confident now in President Joe Biden's handling of the public health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as they were shortly after he took office, a new Pew Research Center poll shows.
In the latest survey, conducted from Jan. 10-17, 44% of the respondents said they were either very or somewhat confident in Biden's ability to handle the pandemic, reports The Washington Post.
This number marked a drop of 21 percentage points since polling in March 2021, when 65% of respondents said they were confident in Biden's abilities.
The poll involved 5,128 adults on Pew's nationally representative American Trends Panel, and also shed light on other aspects of the pandemic:
- 50% say they think the "worst is still to come."
- 49% said they think the worst times are over.
- 69% said they believe COVID-19 is a major threat to the economy.
- 25% said they think the pandemic is a minor threat; 5% said it is no threat.
Meanwhile, 57% of those surveyed said they think COVID-19 is a major threat to the health of the U.S. population, while 35% said it poses a minor threat, and 8% said it poses no threat.
Those opinions changed just slightly since August, but there are still wide differences in how people view the pandemic based on their political beliefs:
- 76% of Democrats see the virus as a health threat, compared to 34% of Republicans.
- 74% of Democrats say the virus is a threat to the economy, as do 66% of Republicans.
- 38% of Democrats say the pandemic is a threat to their personal health, compared to 20% of Republicans.
- 35% of Democrats said the pandemic threatens personal finances vs. 28% of Republicans.
- 53% of Republicans said the worst of the pandemic has passed, vs. 47% of Democrats.
The Pew survey comes after an Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll that shows that while an overwhelming majority of Americans say they agree with the Biden administration's move to mail free COVID-19 at-home tests to people who ask for them and to make free N95 masks available, that approval hasn't boosted the president's approval numbers.
In that poll, 84% said they agree with both programs, but 46% of those responding said they trust Biden to provide accurate information about the virus, a figure that hasn't changed since last October.
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