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7 Feb, 2023 22:13

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say US headed wrong way – poll

President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains low, though up on last year's ratings
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say US headed wrong way – poll

Nearly two out of three Americans – 65% – believe their country is on the wrong track, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Tuesday ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. It’s a marked increase over last year, when just 58% of respondents expressed similar misgivings.

With the president set to address Congress on Tuesday evening, Biden’s public approval rating remains underwater at 41% – not quite the low of 36% it repeatedly hit last spring and summer, but still problematic for a leader looking to convince voters to award him a second term.

Biden’s State of the Union speech touted his legislative efforts in infrastructure and inflation, the latter remaining (along with ‘the economy’ in general) at the top of the list of Americans’ concerns in recent polling. The White House had told reporters Biden would lay out a ‘unity agenda’ emphasizing bipartisan cooperation on cancer research, veterans’ health, mental health in general, and the opioid epidemic.

None of those issues made Reuters’ list of the five problems most concerning to Americans, however. After the economy – which includes unemployment and jobs – the pollsters’ most recent results rank crime/corruption, immigration, environment/climate, and inequality/discrimination as the most important issues concerning Americans. In a rare show of bipartisan unity, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agreed the economy is the nation’s number-one challenge.

Just 37% of Democrats want Biden to run for a second term as president, according to an Associated Press poll published earlier this week. Respondents cited his age, his perceived mental decline, and what they viewed as his ineffectiveness at governing in their reasons for wanting new leadership, with just 13% saying they had a lot of confidence in the president’s ability to accomplish major policy goals. 

Despite his low approval ratings, however, Biden’s party pulled off a surprisingly strong showing in the 2022 midterm elections. While Republicans gained control of the House, Democrats avoided being swamped by a ‘red wave’ and maintained control of the Senate.