The Dallas Morning News

Public dubious of agenda

Poll also shows more Americans feeling worse off financially


Two years into a presidency that the White House casts as the most effective in modern history, President Biden is set to deliver a State of the Union address Tuesday to a skeptical country with a majority of Americans saying they do not believe he has achieved much since taking office, according to a Washington POST-ABC News poll.

The poll finds that 62% of Americans think Biden has accomplish­ed “not very much” or “little or nothing” during his presidency, while 36% say he has accomplish­ed “a great deal” or “a good amount.” On many of Biden’s signature initiative­s — from improving the country’s infrastruc­ture to making electric vehicles more affordable to creating jobs — majorities of Americans say they do not believe he has made progress, the poll finds.

The dynamic arguably raises the stakes of Biden’s speech Tuesday. The president is expected to use the platform to tout his accomplish­ments and remind voters that many of the laws he signed during the first half of his term are just now being implemente­d.

It’s a message he has pushed since before the midterm elections, when his party’s better-than-expected performanc­e convinced many aides that, despite his low approval ratings, Americans largely support his agenda. Biden has said one of his main goals for the year is to make sure Americans feel the impact of the laws he signed during his first two years in office, including a $1.2 trillion infrastruc­ture bill, legislatio­n aimed at combating climate change and a cap on the price of insulin for seniors.

Yet a growing number of Americans say their own financial circumstan­ces are worsening on Biden’s watch. Roughly 4 in 10 Americans (40%) say they are not as well-off financiall­y since Biden became president, up from 35% one year ago and the highest percentage to report such a sentiment under any president in POST-ABC polls since measuremen­t began in 1986.

Republican­s have seized on that sense of economic gloom, hammering Biden over high prices, pointing to high-profile layoffs in the technology sector and blaming Biden’s COVID relief spending for high prices.

That has sparked a battle over raising the federal debt ceiling, which sets a statutory maximum on how much the U.S. government can borrow. The United States has already hit the current $31.4 trillion limit, and a series of “extraordin­ary measures” by the Treasury Department to avoid default could expire by June.

In a sentiment that could bolster Biden, about twothirds of Americans (65%) say debt payment and federal spending should be handled separately, while 26% say Congress should allow the government to pay its debts only if the administra­tion agrees to cut federal spending.

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