President Joe Biden fares a little better in the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll among Utah voters as he moves into his second year in office after a challenging first one.
The new poll found 37% of Utahns approve of the president’s job performance, while 57% disapprove. Another 7% don’t know. That puts him up five points from last November.
Also, Biden received a higher approval rating from Utah voters for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic than he did for his overall work as president, the survey shows.
Biden enjoyed a slight uptick in his approvals in Utah due in large part to a bounce from Republicans, said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.
Republicans’ approval of Biden jumped to 20% in the new survey, up eight points from the November results. Still, 75% of Republicans in the decidedly red state disapprove of the job the president is doing.
“The slight breather in bad news in January likely led to this change in opinion and may be the calm after the storm of the COVID fights as the omicron surge recedes, and the calm before the storm of the inevitable battle to confirm his Supreme Court nominee,” Perry said.
Justice Stephen Breyer announced he will retire from the nation’s highest court at the end of the current term. He is one of three liberal justices. Biden promised during the presidential campaign to nominate a Black woman to the court.
Utahns give Biden a little lower approval rating than the nation as a whole.
Nationally, the president had a 41.2% approval rating and 52.9% disapproval as of Tuesday, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
Biden enjoyed a brief honeymoon period after he took office, but his approval rating plummeted in Utah and across the country. Deseret News/Hinckley Institute surveys in early 2021 had him as high as 45% approval.
During his first year in office, Biden confronted a host of trying issues, including the deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising COVID-19 numbers amid the omicron surge, courts blocking his vaccination-or-test mandates, a polarized Congress and inflation.
The president still gets high marks with Democrats in Utah with an 80% approval rating. Among voters in the polls who say they don’t belong to a political party, 40% approve of his performance, while 50% disapprove.
Women, Utahns ages 25-40 and liberals are more likely than men and older residents to approve of Biden’s overall performance just over a year into his presidency, the poll shows.
As for Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, 44% of Utahns approve of his performance, while 53% disapprove. Another 4% don’t know.
Only 26% of Republicans approve of the president’s COVID-19 response, compared to 83% of Democrats, the poll shows.
The president unveiled a 200-page plan to defeat the virus as he took office, but has struggled to deliver on some key promises.
After a period when Biden’s vaccination focus appeared to be paying off, many of the problems that had subsided returned as the delta variant, and then omicron, swept the country, according to The Washington Post.
Doctors and nurses are again pleading for relief, as hospitalizations set new daily records and more facilities move to ration care. Many Americans say they’re confused by government pronouncements and losing faith in the agencies handling the response. Essential workers in packing plants, food service and emergency response say they still feel endangered by a virus that Biden had vowed to control, the Post reported.