President Joe Biden speaks as he announces gun violence prevention measures in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on April 8, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Americans broadly support the large-ticket spending proposals that defined President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.
Polls show that many more Americans approve than disapprove of the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus bill signed in March – by far its most significant legislative victory to date.
According to surveys, Biden’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan is already popular with majorities or multiple respondents.
As he flips the page for his first 100 days on Thursday, Biden prepares to unveil another massive spending package that targets family-related issues.
The White House has provided few details about this plan – but at least one poll shows that a sizable majority of Americans already support it.
Ever since Biden took office from former President Donald Trump in the midst of the pandemic, he has vowed to take swift and ambitious action to get the US out of the health crisis and overtake the damaged economy.
Despite efforts by Republicans to brand the spending proposals as high-profile boondoggles and harmful tax hikes, Biden’s offer seems to be paying off so far. According to the latest NBC News poll, the president’s overall approval rating is 53% above water, backed by American support for his dealings with Covid and the economy.
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But Biden’s multi-trillion dollar spike in spending is still in its infancy. The $ 1,400 stimulus checks many Americans received as part of last month’s Covid bill are still being mailed out. Major lawmakers are calling for a tighter infrastructure proposal, and others have already resisted possible tax increases in the as yet undisclosed family plan.
“Amorphous spending proposals that promise a lot to people often get a lot of support,” said Steve Ellis, president of the impartial household guard Taxpayers for Common Sense.
“People see this as an advantage. They hear about the good things. They don’t necessarily hear about the problems.”
Recent polls from NBC, Reuters / Ipsos, CNBC and the Washington Post-ABC News consistently show that Biden gets his top marks for his handling of the pandemic.
The president’s Covid response was adopted by 69% in NBC’s national poll, compared with 27% who oppose it. This survey, conducted April 17-20 of 1,000 US adults, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The latest Reuters / Ipsos result released on Tuesday had similar results: 65% support Biden’s work on the pandemic, 29% oppose it. The national public opinion poll polled 4,423 adults from April 12-16. According to Reuters, the credibility interval – described as a measure of the accuracy of the survey – was 2 percentage points for the entire sample.
Polls show that Americans still view coronavirus as one of the country’s most pressing problems. According to NBC’s latest report, they are more likely to seek solutions from the government: Fifty-five percent of respondents said the government should do more to solve problems and meet people’s needs, compared with 41 percent who said they are doing too much.
From the start, Biden emphasized that his administration’s ability to fight Covid depends on the passage of the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus plan, dubbed the American bailout. “Without additional government support, the economic and health crises could worsen in the coming months,” the White House said on the day of Biden’s inauguration.
The legislation included several major spending measures, including sending direct payments of $ 1,400 to most adults in the United States, $ 350 billion to state and local governments, and an increase in federal unemployment benefits.
Since Biden took office, the US has increased vaccine distribution and vaccination rates significantly.
When asked about the stimulus package itself in the Post-ABC survey, 65% of respondents said they support it, versus 31% who opposed it. The survey is based on telephone interviews with a random national sample of 1,007 adults conducted April 18-21. The error rate is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
In NBC’s survey, 46% of respondents said the Covid package is a good idea, a plurality that far outweighs the 25% who said it was a bad idea and the 26% who had no opinion .
Biden’s infrastructure proposal, priced at more than $ 2 trillion in its original form, is also popular with Americans, according to surveys.
The package would fund a range of projects that go well beyond repairing roads, bridges, ports and other structures that some call “traditional” transport infrastructure. The White House formulates the plan as a forward-looking investment that addresses climate change, the rise of China, racial injustice, and more.
A Monmouth University poll published Monday found that nearly two-thirds of respondents support the plan and the idea of paying for it in part by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
Almost half of those surveyed by Monmouth said the federal government is not spending enough on transportation infrastructure, 49% compared with 23% who said the government is spending the right amount and 14% who said they are overpaying .
Monmouth’s survey was conducted April 8-12 by phone of 800 US adults. The results show an error rate of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
CNBC’s most recent All-America poll, which polled 802 adults nationwide from April 8-11, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5, found that few were affected by infrastructure plans and corporate tax increases supported.
However, the poll found that Americans overwhelmingly support almost all of the details of the plan when presented individually.
Infrastructure investments have historically been popular with both major political parties. But Republicans and some moderate Democrats have urged Biden to cut back significantly on the comprehensive package.
A group of GOP senators made a counter offer last week that cost less than a third of Biden’s proposal. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has criticized the Biden Plan as a “Trojan horse” for a progressive agenda.
However, poll results suggest that the ambitious White House outlines are resonating with large parts of the country at this early stage.
“The Biden government’s suspicion that spending programs are popular is borne out by these polls,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Independent Electoral Institute, in a press release on Monday.
“The key to maintaining this level of support is whether Americans can point to direct benefits in their own lives once these plans are put into action.”
Ellis told CNBC that “there isn’t much to grab or track” at this point.
“The devil will be in the details of this,” Ellis said.
The next phase
In a joint address to Congress on Wednesday evening, Biden is expected to come up with another massive spending plan that focuses on family issues.
The details are unclear, but Monmouth’s poll shows that Americans still have an appetite for more government spending.
The proposal will reportedly focus on expanding childcare, paid vacation, general preschool education and other priorities, and will cost around $ 1.5 trillion, citing sources familiar with the discussions, according to NBC.
According to reports, Biden could also try to fund the plan by raising taxes for millionaire investors and increasing the tax on capital gains from 20% to 39.6% for those Americans who earn more than $ 1 million.
Monmouth’s survey asked, “Biden is also expected to propose a large spending plan to expand access to health care and childcare and support paid vacation and tuition. Would you generally support or oppose this plan?”
64 percent of respondents said they supported it, 34 percent were against it, and only 2 percent said they didn’t know.
Multi-trillion dollar spending plans weren’t always seen as political winners, Ellis said. Comparing the current moment to the 2008 financial crisis, he said that when leaders were preparing recovery plans, “it was recognized that one trillion dollars is a threshold we do not want to cross.”
But the Covid packages that Trump first passed last year “blew it away,” said Ellis.
“Once you cross that threshold, it will normalize,” he said. “Most people don’t mind a trillion, let alone a trillion dollars.”