President Joe Biden fares slightly better in the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll among Utah voters as he enters his second year in office after a rocky first.
The new poll found 37% of Utahns approved of the president’s job performance, while 57% disapproved. Another 7% don’t know. This makes him gain five points compared to last November.
Additionally, Biden received a higher approval rating from Utah voters for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic than for his overall work as president, the survey found.
Biden enjoyed an uptick in endorsements in Utah, thanks in large part to a Republican rebound, said Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.
Republicans’ approval of Biden rose to 20% in the new survey, up eight points from November’s results. Still, 75% of Republicans in the staunchly red state disapprove of the job the president is doing.
“The slight pause in bad news in January likely led to this shift in sentiment and may be the calm after the storm of the COVID fights as the omicron push recedes, and the calm before the storm of the inevitable battle for confirm its Supreme Court nominee,” Perry said.
Justice Stephen Breyer has announced he will step down from the nation’s highest court at the end of the current term. He is one of three liberal judges. Biden promised during the presidential campaign to appoint a black woman to the court.
Utahns give Biden a slightly lower approval rating than the nation as a whole.
Nationally, the president had a 41.2% approval rating and 52.9% disapproval on Tuesday, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling average.
Biden enjoyed a brief honeymoon after taking office, but his approval ratings plummeted in Utah and across the country. Deseret News/Hinckley Institute polls in early 2021 had him up to 45% in approval.
In his first year in office, Biden has faced a host of difficult issues, including the deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, rising COVID-19 numbers amid surging omicrons, courts blocking his mandates of vaccination or testing, a polarized Congress and inflation.
The president still gets high marks from Utah Democrats with an 80% approval rating. Among voters in polls who say they don’t belong to a political party, 40% approve of its performance, while 50% disapprove.
Women, Utahns ages 25-40 and liberals more likely than men and older residents to approve of Biden’s overall performance just over a year into his presidency, poll finds .
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 response to COVID-19, compared to 83% of Democrats, according to the poll.
The president unveiled a 200-page plan to beat the virus when he took office, but struggled to deliver on some key promises.
After a period when Biden’s focus on vaccination seemed to be paying off, many of the problems that had eased returned in the form of the delta variant and then the omicron, which 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 shift to rationed care. Many Americans say they are confused by government statements and are losing faith in the agencies handling the response. Essential workers in packing plants, food service and emergency response say they still feel threatened by a virus that Biden pledged to control, the Post reported.