President Joe Biden has unveiled a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, which is designed to create millions of new jobs focused on developing cleaner energy sources and better national transportation. The president’s proposal comes on the heels of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which received widespread support from the public.
A Yahoo News/YouGov poll finds that half of Americans support (51%) "another big legislative package to invest in America's infrastructure and combat climate change", while three in 10 Americans (30%) oppose it. Eight in 10 Democrats support another sweeping legislative package (80% favor vs 8% oppose), compared to half of Independents (48% vs 36%) and one in five Republicans (22% vs 58%).
President Biden will need bipartisan support for the bill to pass the closely divided US Senate, and he met with Republican and Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate on Monday to make his case. There could be room for compromise, as a few individual components of his plan are quite popular among Democrats and Republicans — but he could face an uphill battle on elements that are not traditionally considered infrastructure.
Where Republicans and Democrats agree on infrastructure
A strong majority of Democrats (82%) and Republicans (66%) favor investing in the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, and electricity grid improvements. Seven in 10 Americans overall support this type of broad investment in America’s transportation and energy infrastructure.
Another element that earns bipartisan support is providing advanced training for millions of workers in manufacturing and other industries — half of Republicans (52%) and four in five Democrats (79%) favor this. Three in five Americans overall (63%) also support the initiative.
Republicans also tend to support increased funding for broadband internet access in rural communities (46% vs 31%). Four in five Democrats (78% vs 8%) endorse the proposal, as do most Independents (59% vs 23%). Three in five Americans overall (61%) support rural broadband internet access, as do two-thirds of Americans who live in rural communities (68%).
Republicans oppose infrastructure legislation to address climate change
Perhaps a reason why Republicans balk at the overall package is because of its focus on combating climate change. Biden starts to lose Republican backing on climate change initiatives, such as investing in clean energy to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change (31% favor, 51% oppose) or building 1 million affordable and energy-efficient housing units (31% favor, 51% oppose).
While unpopular with Republicans, Americans overall broadly support investments in clean energy (60%) and energy-efficient housing (52%). These ideas are even more popular among Democrats, who appreciate Biden’s climate change focus (85% and 74% support, respectively).
Other proposals that are not directly related to infrastructure also get low marks from Republicans, including an effort to make community college free for all Americans and the creation of a national paid family leave problem. One-quarter of Republicans (26%) support free community college, compared to 51% of Americans overall and 72% of Democrats. This proposal is especially popular among Americans who did not attend college (56% support).
National paid family leave earns half of Americans’ support (51%), with seven in 10 Democrats favoring the measure. It earns less than half of support from Independents (44%) and Republicans (29%).
Methodology: The Yahoo! News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,649 U.S. adults interviewed online between April 6 - 8, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 Presidential vote (or non vote), and voter registration status. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error (a 95% confidence interval) for the entire sample is approximately 2.6%.