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Biden at 61 Percent in New Poll, Outdoing Trump as He Undoes His Agenda

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It is still early in his term, but President Biden seems to have broken out of the red-blue trench warfare of public polling of the Trump era — hitting the 61 percent approval mark in an A.P.-NORC Center for Public Affairs poll released Thursday.

The poll, which is roughly in line with other recent surveys, shows that Mr. Biden’s popularity is powered by his commitment to tackling the pandemic and other problems by consulting advisers and experts, along with near-universal approval among Democrats.

Unlike former President Donald J. Trump, whose approval never moved beyond his conservative base, Mr. Biden is making modest inroads with Republicans — earning a 27 percent approval rating, up from the low teens or high single digits in most polls taken during the 2020 campaign.

Independents, who swung for Mr. Biden in his race against Mr. Trump, approved of him by a 58-to-39 percent mark, the survey found.

Recent polls from other organizations have shown Mr. Biden with a somewhat lower approval rating, in the low- and mid-50s, with an aggregated 54.3 percent approval rating, according to RealClearPolitics.com.

But there are indications that Mr. Biden’s honeymoon could be provisional.

When asked to judge the new president on a variety of criteria (from fighting corruption to managing the military to shepherding the economy) Americans who answered the A.P. poll were broadly split into three nearly equal camps — those who support him, those who oppose him, and those who are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Most presidents top 55 percent or higher in their first few months in office. Mr. Trump, who often touted (and distorted) his approval ratings, is the first modern-era president never to reach 50 percent in poll aggregations at any time during his four years in office.

The closest he came was hitting the mid-40s in the week after he took office. But his approval ratings plummeted after he instituted a ban on immigration from some Muslim countries in January 2017.

And Mr. Trump’s approval numbers have fallen since the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, settling below 40 percent in most recent surveys, after which he was impeached by the House and charged with “incitement of insurrection.” A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found Americans were closely divided on whether the Senate should convict him in the trial: 50 percent said yes and 45 percent said no, with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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