Biden, Dems get low marks on spending talks: AP-NORC poll

Oct 28, 2021, 12:03 AM | Updated: 9:58 pm
FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden speaks at a rally for Democratic guber...

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden speaks at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Arlington, Va. As Biden and Democrats try to get a roughly $2 trillion package over the finish line, a new poll shows that Biden faces an increasingly pessimistic nation and an underwater approval rating on his handling of the nation’s economy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Joe Biden and Democrats try to get a roughly $1.75 trillion package over the finish line, a new poll shows that fewer than half of Americans approve of how they have handled the spending bill. And many say they know little to nothing about it.

It’s a troubling sign for a party that hopes to make the social spending investments the hallmark of their midterm election campaigns next year.

The new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 36% of Americans say they approve of Biden’s handling of the negotiations over the bill, while 41% disapprove and 23% say they neither approve nor disapprove. Fewer than half say they know a lot or some about the proposals.

“I don’t place all the blame on him, but I think that, as a president, as a commander-in-chief, I think he could be doing a lot more to get people on board with his plan,” said Gary Hines, 65, a Democratic voter from Philadelphia who emphasized he supports the various elements of Biden’s plan, from expanding the number of people with health insurance, to making child care more affordable, to doing more to curb climate change.

The findings come at a pivotal moment for Biden and his party. Compared with his spending bill efforts, Americans are more positive about his job performance overall, with 48% approving. Still, 51% disapprove. That split is similar to last month but a notable slump from earlier this year.

The new poll also gives Biden his first underwater approval rating for his handling of the economy and shows increasing pessimism about the direction of the country.

Still, the poll shows ratings of Republicans’ role in the situation are even worse. Just 18% percent approve of how Republicans in Congress are handling negotiations over the spending package, while 49% disapprove. Republicans, who have been shut out from the talks over the bill, are expected to overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, oppose the Democratic package.

Democrats have pared back Biden’s plans at the insistence of Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Still, they are struggling to reach agreement on a smaller set of priorities and a means to pay for them. The White House unveiled a long-awaited framework of an agreement Thursday morning, though it was unclear when legislation would be ready or when a vote would occur.

Kristopher Bennefield, 39, of San Augustine, Texas, voiced frustration with Democrats “being so indecisive among themselves.” And he said Biden bears responsibility, because “if he can’t get his own party to do anything, how can he really do anything else?”

“He has great ideas, but he’s having poor follow-through,” said Bennefield, who described himself as an independent.

Meanwhile, some Americans skeptical of the effort remain so.

“I don’t think we can afford it,” said Greg Holman, 59, of Grants Pass, Ore., who is hoping for what he described as a “red wave” in next year’s mid-term elections.

“It’s ridiculous to turn the country into a socialist nation where the government is doing everything for the people,” said James Solar, 78, of Houston. “The point is, these programs are not free.”

Despite concerns about the progress being made on the spending package, or the lack thereof, most Americans support several of the broad priorities of the plan. The poll shows majorities say funding for health care and education programs should be high priorities, and close to half say the same about programs that address climate change.

Fewer say funding for child care (40%) or paid family leave (27%) should be high priorities, but majorities say they should at least be moderate priorities.

Biden has originally called for up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, allowing workers to get their wages partially replaced in the event of a new child or to care for a seriously ill loved one. But the paid leave program was not included in the framework unveiled by the White House on Thursday.

Ryan Guyer, 40, of Flagstaff, Ariz., views health care, child care and climate change as high priorities. He said he’s not against paid family leave and believes it can provide important dividends. Still, he called it a moderate priority because most people have gotten by for a long time without it and he wonders if it “can be kicked down the road again.”

As negotiations drag on, Biden’s standing with the public has declined, but other factors may also play a role, from the military’s difficult withdrawal from Afghanistan to rising prices for groceries, gas and other basics.

For the first time in AP-NORC polling, Biden also earns negative marks for his handling of the economy, with 58% disapproving and 41% approving. That’s even more negative than last month, when Americans were closely divided. In March, 60% approved of Biden on the economy.

Only about a third of Americans say the nation is headed in the right direction, similar to last month, but a decline from earlier this year. When Biden took office and in the early months of his presidency, roughly half said the nation was on the right track.

And just 26% think the way things are going in the country will improve in the next year, down from 43% in February. Now, 48% say things will worsen in the year ahead.

Guyer, a Democrat, believes the country is on the right track.

“The thing I’m most concerned about is the polarization of our country, but I think a lot of the pandemic issues over the last year, including the supply chains, including people getting back to work, I think those are going in the right direction,” Guyer said.

___

The AP-NORC poll of 1,083 adults was conducted Oct. 21-25 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The website for Suncity Group is seen on a computer screen in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 27, 20...
Associated Press

China issues warrant for Suncity boss over illegal gambling

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the head of Macao’s biggest junket organizer over accusations that he helped run an illegal cross-border gambling syndicate. Prosecutors in Wenzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, said in a statement on Weibo on Friday that Suncity Group CEO Alvin Chau along with another […]
22 hours ago
People line up to get on the Air France flight to Paris at OR Tambo International Airport in Johann...
Associated Press

New COVID variant threat causes worldwide scramble

BRUSSELS (AP) — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is racing to contain a new coronavirus variant potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on nearly every continent. A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Japan PM vows to step up defense amid China, NK threats

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, at his first troop review Saturday, renewed his pledge to consider “all options,” including acquiring enemy base strike capability, and vowed to create a stronger Self-Defense Force to protect the country amid growing threats from China and North Korea. Kishida said the security situation around Japan is […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

At least 1 injured in shooting at mall in Tacoma, Washington

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities said at least one person was injured when shots were fired Friday evening near a food court at a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. The Pierce County Sheriff’s office said the shooting at the Tacoma Mall was reported at 7:08 p.m. The Tacoma Police said the victim was transported to […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Hawaii city worker stuck in sewage treatment plant tank dies

HONOLULU (AP) — A Honolulu city worker died Friday after being trapped in a tank at a sewage treatment plant, officials said. Firefighters received a 911 call at 10 a.m. requesting “a confined space” rescue at the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. Because of federal rules, a hazardous materials unit was first […]
22 hours ago
Businessman Ian Maxwell, brother of Ghislaine Maxwell listens, during an interview at his office in...
Associated Press

Maxwell’s brother says US prosecutors seeking to ‘break’ her

The brother of a British socialite charged with helping Jeffrey Epstein exploit underage girls says her prosecution is “the most over-hyped trial of the century,” designed to break a woman targeted by authorities desperate to blame someone for the late financier’s crimes. Ghislaine Maxwell continues to have the backing of her family, and a family […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
...
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Biden, Dems get low marks on spending talks: AP-NORC poll