President Joe Biden campaigned on a message of unifying a deeply fractured nation, reiterating the theme frequently during his inauguration speech earlier this month.
According to a recent poll, however, the new administration has thus far attracted the approval of less than half of the country.
Equal numbers approve, disapprove
In fact, Rasmussen found that outgoing President Donald Trump had a higher approval rate before leaving office than Biden did a week into his term.
Despite puff pieces and general approval from the mainstream media in regard to his nascent presidency, following years of widespread vilification of the Trump administration, the Democratic Party’s promise of unity has not come to fruition.
The polling firm’s daily presidential tracking poll found Biden’s approval and disapproval ratings were tied at 48% each.
Breaking the results down further, 34% said they “strongly approved” of Biden’s performance, compared to 41% who “strongly disapproved.
The supposedly divisive Trump administration ended on decidedly better terms, according to the poll. Upon leaving office, Trump had an approval rating of 51% — three points higher than his disapproval rating.
“People don’t break out of their voting patterns”
Of course, Rasmussen polling results are frequently outliers compared to other major firms, and the early Biden approval numbers are no exception.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls, which includes Rasmussen, finds that Biden has the approval of nearly 55% of the nation and just 37% disapprove. Reiterating the disparity between polls, the same average as reported at the end of Trump’s term found his rating was underwater by 15 points with just 41% overall approval.
In a separate survey question, Rasmussen reported that of 1,000 likely voters polled between Jan. 25-26, only 16% believed the country was more unified than before the election. About one in four felt the level of division between Americans was roughly the same.
Perhaps most telling, a whopping 56% believe the nation’s sharp divisions have only grown deeper since Biden’s inauguration. Nevertheless, some experts believe Biden’s inaugural “honeymoon” period is likely to be short-lived.
As Fordham University political scientist Jeffrey Cohen explained: “One of the things that’s happened is that old-fashioned ‘let’s give the guy a chance’ has kind of evaporated. Instead, people don’t break out of their voting patterns. The divisiveness that you see in election campaigns stays.”