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Is President Joe Biden’s job approval up or down? New Utah poll reveals answers

President Joe Biden, viewed through the branches of a Christmas tree, speaks from the East Room of the White House.
President Joe Biden, viewed through the branches of a Christmas tree, speaks from the East Room of the White House in Washington on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, on his administration’s plans to lower the costs of prescription drugs, letting Medicare negotiate drug prices, capping how much seniors and people with disabilities have to pay for drugs. Biden’s job performance rating continues to languish among Utah voters.
Susan Walsh, Associated Press

President Joe Biden’s job performance rating continues to languish among Utah voters.

A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found only 32% of residents in the state approve of how the president is doing his job, while 63% disapprove, including slightly more than half who strongly disapprove.

Presidents often expect to see their approvals dip the first year in office, but this is a low approval rating, even for a Democrat in Utah, said Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

During his first year in office, Biden has confronted several critical challenges including the controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising COVID-19 numbers, a federal vaccine mandate and a polarized Congress, to name a few, he said.

“A misstep on any one of these issues could take a toll on approval ratings, but together the cumulative effect has placed a weight on the president that is hard to lift and will continue to be hard to carry forward,” Perry said.

Republicans have also been highly critical of Biden’s multitrillion spending plans and his handling of the crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico.

After enjoying a brief honeymoon after he took office in January, Biden’s approval rating has plummeted in Utah and across the country. Deseret News/Hinckley Institute surveys earlier this year had him as high as 45% approval.

Nationally, Biden had a 42.7% approval rating and 51.4% disapproval in early December, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.

In Utah, the president’s approval rating has leveled off at 32%, though his disapproval number shrunk a fraction, from 65% to 63% in the latest poll.

“These numbers show that President Biden’s approval rating in Utah has stayed relatively stable,” according to a Utah Democratic Party spokesman.

“Those Utahns who supported him in the 2020 election are sticking by him while he has worked to pass robust bipartisan investments in infrastructure, and is presiding over historically low unemployment numbers as our economy continues to recover from the pandemic.”

Dan Jones & Associates conducted the poll of 812 registered Utah voters from Nov. 18-30. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percentage points.

Among all Utah voters in the poll, Biden fares best among those ages 18 to 24 and people who identified themselves as moderates with a 39% approval rating, though more than half in both those groups disapprove of the job he is doing.

Women in the survey approve of the president more than men, 38% to 27%. But again, more than half of men and women disapprove, with the disapproval rating among men jumping to 70%.

Not surprisingly, the president’s disapproval rating in Utah rose to 83% among Republicans in the poll. Among Democrats, a decided minority in the state, his approval rating is 78%, the survey shows.

Biden’s job performance rating among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the predominant religion in Utah, varied with their self-described level of activity in the faith.

The poll found Biden has a 19% approval rating among “very active” Latter-day Saints, 34% with “somewhat active” members and 36% among those who are “not active.”