Americans are split on how Biden is handling his job — which is an improvement for him

Linley SandersData Journalist
October 12, 2022, 6:21 PM GMT+0

Americans are now nearly evenly split on how President Joe Biden is handling his job: 45% approve, while 46% disapprove. The share who approve is the highest it has been in more than a year of Economist/YouGov polls, while the share who disapprove is at its lowest level since last October.

The improvement in the president’s rating has been driven by Democrats and Independents. The percentage of Democrats who approve of their party leader had fallen into the mid-70s this summer, but it is now back up to 87%. That's more in line with the level of approval from his own party that Biden received at the beginning of his administration. And while more Independents disapprove (54%) than approve (40%) of Biden's job performance, the share who approve has risen in recent weeks. Just one in 10 Republicans this week approve of how Biden is handling the presidency, a rate that has remained steady in recent weeks.

Potential reasons that Biden's approval rating is up: The president still presides over good employment figures, and he has recently issued two orders that get broad approval. Half of Americans (51%) supported Biden's cancellation of $10,000 of student loan debt for people earning less than $125,000 a year this summer, and nearly two-thirds approve of the president pardoning Americans convicted of marijuana possession by the federal government. There is also broad approval of his recent response to Hurricane Ian. Majorities of Democrats and Republicans approved of the Democratic president meeting with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, to survey the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

It remains to be seen if the improvement in Biden's approval will persist. He has continued to struggle with high inflation and great economic concerns among Americans, which have pulled down his approval numbers in the past. This week, Americans disapprove of how he's handling the issue of jobs and the economy by a margin of 47% to 43%.

– Carl Bialik and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

Polling by the Economist/YouGov was conducted on October 8 - 11, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.

Image: Getty Images (Drew Angerer)

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