Utahns see President Joe Biden’s first month in the White House no worse than former President Donald Trump’s last month.
Slightly more than half of the residents in the state disapprove of his job performance within 30 days of his presidency. But his approval rating is comparable to former President Donald Trump in trustworthy red Utah when he left office.
A new Deseret News / Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows 45% of voters approve of the job Biden is doing, while 51% disapprove of it, including 40% who strongly disapprove of it.
When Trump left office, his preference among Utahns dropped to 49% after being in their mid-50s for the past year, while his disapproval rating stood at 50%.
Interestingly, Biden and conservative Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee have the same approval rating among Utahns, although Biden’s disapproval rating is 10 percentage points higher than Lee’s, according to the poll.
“It shows that people in Utah are willing to give Biden a chance,” said Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant, adding that Lee’s rating indicates people are tired of his “antics.”
Still, the poll found a wide partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans.
Only 20% of respondents who identify as Republicans approve of Biden’s performance, but the number rises to 95% among Democrats, including 72% who strongly approve of him. The new president also fares better among women than men.
Biden has made COVID-19 the top priority of his administration. He signed a series of orders and directives on his second day in office to take charge of stopping the spread of the virus and which he said would push for testing, vaccines, supplies and treatments. He’s also lobbying Congress for another $ 1.9 trillion aid package that would include direct payments to Americans, support for small businesses, and more funding for vaccines and tests.
Utahns are divided on how well he’s doing.
The survey shows that 23% of residents rate Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as excellent, 22% good, 16% fair and 32% poor. The remaining 7% are not sure.
Again, Republicans gave it low marks with 45% rating its performance on COVID-19 as poor, while 53% of Democrats say it is excellent. Again, he also does better with women than with men.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 Utah registered voters from February 10-16. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Merchant said everything Biden does about the coronavirus will be difficult.
“We have had a year of someone who literally did nothing. Anyone who asks people to do difficult things will not really be popular, ”he said.
Biden did not do well in Utah in the November election, garnering just under 38% of the vote. Trump won the state with 58%. Trump, however, vacated the White House with the lowest approval rating of his presidency nationally and the lowest in Utah in the past year.
“While President Biden came nowhere close to winning our state’s presidential vote, a significant number of Utahns are showing confidence in his ability to lift the country out of the pandemic,” said Jason Perry, Hinckley director of the University of Utah. Institute of Politics.
Biden’s approval numbers will likely fluctuate as he manages to handle COVID-19, he added.
In his inaugural address, Biden promised to unify the country and be a president for all Americans.
Members of Utah’s fully Republican Congressional delegation have already complained that the administration doesn’t seem to want to work together on issues, including public lands.
Biden directed the US Department of the Interior to conduct a review of the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, which were lowered early in the Trump administration. It also banned new oil and gas development on federal land, which Utah leaders said hurt the state’s economy.
Members of the delegation, Governor Spencer Cox and Republican legislative leaders warned Biden about getting ahead of himself.
“A name review with only predetermined results, which ultimately leads to a unilateral executive order that expands the boundaries of the monuments, will not solve the root of the problem and will only deepen the divisions in this country,” they wrote in a statement last month.
Cox said Biden’s decision on the oil and gas leases was made without coordination with the state to determine how it would affect rural Utah and the people who live there.
Merchant said he finds it “ridiculous” that half of the Utah House members opposed Biden’s electoral votes and then complain that he is being partisan. Most Utahns in Congress have opposed everything Biden has mentioned, he said.
“Bipartisanship is a two-way street, and it takes both parties to be willing to work together,” Merchant said. “I have not seen our delegation even try to work with Joe Biden, and he has been president for less than a month.”