President Joe Biden came into office on the promise of restoring unity to a divided nation, but polling results suggest his efforts have thus far fallen short.
According to an NBC News poll marking his first 100 days as president, an overwhelming majority — 82% — of Americans still believe the country is divided.
Just 36% of respondents agree that the nation is headed in the “right direction.”
Despite his inaugural vow to serve as a president for all Americans, one of his first milestones was going longer than any of his modern predecessors without holding a solo press conference.
His message of unity also appeared to fade when he decided not to speak out against his party’s effort to impeach former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
Further eroding that message was his administration’s push to pass a roughly $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package without the support of GOP lawmakers.
Critics say his approach to the ongoing public health crisis has also served to further divide the nation.
Causes for division
Instead of emphasizing economic recovery, he has called for continued mitigation measures such as social distancing and face masks, indicating that Americans might be able to celebrate Independence Day with small gatherings this year. Additionally, Biden has failed to denounce possible private-sector efforts to require so-called vaccine passports.
While White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the federal government has no plans to implement such mandates, she said private companies and organizations could take the lead.
The Biden administration’s slate of executive orders has resulted in a partisan divide — particularly those related to border and immigration policies being blamed for a surge in migration along the U.S.-Mexico border.
For their part, Republican-led states have increasingly taken matters into their own hands regarding immigration, pandemic restrictions, and even gun rights issues.
Nevertheless, the NBC poll, which surveyed 1,000 adults between April 17-20 and has a margin of error of about 3.1%, found that Biden’s job approval rating is higher than Trump’s at the same point in his term. The president’s approval is lower, however, than former President Barack Obama’s was at his first 100 days in office.