President Biden’s approval rating dipped for the third straight month in the new IBD/TIPP Poll. Yet he’s still enjoying a relative honeymoon as he ramps up his drive for a major expansion of infrastructure and social benefits, paid for with tax hikes on corporations and investment gains.
Biden’s IBD/TIPP job approval level of 61.3 — the share of adults who approve as a percentage of those who offer a firm opinion — eased from 62 in April and 64 in March. Biden’s approval rating started at 64.6 in February, following his inauguration.
The May IBD/TIPP Poll finds that 51% of adults approve of how President Biden is handling his job, a step down from 53% approval in his first three months. Meanwhile, 32% disapprove of Biden’s job performance vs. 33% in April, 30% in March and 29% in February.
On the coronavirus, 55% give Biden a good grade, while just 21% give him poor marks. Biden’s handling of the economy is judged excellent or good by 49% of American adults, while 29% see it as poor or unacceptable.
Biden’s approval rating among registered voters is 55%, down from 59% in April. Registered independents are narrowly split, with 42% approving of Biden’s job performance and 40% disapproving.
How Biden Job Approval Rating Stacks Up
While down from his first three months in office, Biden’s 61.3 approval rating looks lofty compared to recent history.
After June 2009, barely four months into his first term, President Obama’s IBD/TIPP approval rating never again cracked 60.
President Trump’s highest job approval, 50.1, came in April 2020, in the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown after Congress had passed a massive rescue package. But he exited office with a 43.5 approval rating in the January IBD/TIPP Poll.
Investors Back Biden By Wide Margin
Among registered voters, investors approve of Biden’s job performance, 63%-31%, a bit more narrowly than April’s 67%-30% split. On April 28, the White House unveiled details of Biden’s $1.8-trillion American Families Plan, which would raise the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends from 23.8% to 43.4%. However, the tax hike would only affect U.S. taxpayers with earnings above $1 million, roughly 0.3% of Americans.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones traded within 1% of record highs in Monday’s stock market action. The stock market has performed well since Jan. 5, the day Democrats captured two Georgia Senate runoff election seats and revived the Biden agenda. Since then, the S&P 500 is up 12.9%.
As the economy shifts into high gear, a tide of government, Federal Reserve and corporate cash is helping to propel the stock market and corporate earnings, pushing aside worries over higher interest rates and tax hikes.
Biden has called for about $2.5 trillion in additional corporate tax payments over 15 years. That would pay for investments in transportation infrastructure, affordable housing, electric grid modernization, universal broadband access, the manufacturing sector, clean-energy tax credits and in-home caregiving.
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IBD/TIPP counts as investors those respondents who say they have at least $10,000 in household-owned mutual funds or equities.
Among non-investors who are registered to vote, 51% approve of Biden’s job performance, while 36% disapprove.
What Biden Approval Rating Means For His Agenda
The presidential approval rating is a big deal for elections, but not necessarily for governing, if a president’s party controls Congress. Trump proved that with his 2017 tax cuts.
Biden’s relative popularity and call for unity didn’t sway any Republicans in the House or Senate to embrace his $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
Budget reconciliation requires just 50 Senate votes plus a vice presidential tiebreaker to pass tax and spending measures, as long as the package doesn’t add to the deficit after 10 years.
Biden’s need to keep all 50 Senate Democrats on board gives a handful of centrist Democrats an effective veto. That’s why Democrats at least temporarily scrapped their push to hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 amid opposition from moderate Democrats. But Biden got most of what he wanted.
The May IBD/TIPP Poll reflects online surveys of 1,300 adults, including 1,057 registered voters, from April 28-30. The results come with a credibility interval of +/- 2.8 points.
Please follow Jed Graham on Twitter @IBD_JGraham for coverage of economic policy and financial markets.
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