• Polling

Americans Trust Biden and Democrats More to Protect Social Security and Medicare Than Republicans

Thursday, February 16, 2023 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.
Key takeaways
  • Following the State of the Union, more report hearing positive news about Biden.
  • More Americans say Social Security and Medicare, guns, national security, and abortion are top four issues than did in late January.
  • Americans continue to trust Biden and Democrats over Republicans on Social Security and Medicare, health care, gun violence, democracy, and racial issues.
  • Most disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling their jobs, and a plurality disapprove of their behavior during the State of the Union.

Seven in Ten Report Engaging with State of the Union Address; Those Who Watched Had a More Positive Reaction

While Democrats and Republicans engaged more than independents, more Democrats watched live (37%) than Republicans (29%).

  • Americans who report watching all or part of the speech live approve of what they heard by a 24-point margin.

Americans Approve of Biden’s Handling of the Surveillance Balloon; Less Approve Overall and on the Economy

Independents approve of Biden’s handling of the surveillance balloon by a double-digit margin (net +21 approve), but generally disapprove of his performance overall (net -39) and on the economy (net -45).

More Americans Report Hearing Positive News About Biden, Focusing on the SOTU, Surveillance Balloon, and Social Security

The share of Americans hearing “mostly positive” or an “equal mix of positive and negative” has increased from 40% two weeks ago to 50% now, including an 8-point increase among independents (from 37% to 45%).

Americans Place a Slightly Higher Priority on SS/Medicare, Guns, National Security, and Abortion After State of the Union

The share of Americans who rate Social Security and Medicare as a top-four issue increased by 4 points since late January (from 30% to 34%); similar shifts have taken place on guns (from 20% to 23%), national security/foreign policy (19% to 23%), and abortion (16% to 20%).

Democrats More Trusted on Social Security/Medicare, Health Care, Gun Violence, Racial Issues; GOP on Inflation and Crime

Independents trust Biden and Democrats more by double digits on both “reforming” and “protecting” Social Security and Medicare, gun violence, health care, and race relations.

  • The Republican Party advantage on inflation has grown since mid-January (net +11 Republicans now, up from net +7).

Americans Say Biden Is Kind, Trying to Do What’s Best for the Country, and Values Hard Work

Majorities agree Biden “is kind and cares about people” (net +16 describes him well), “is trying to do what’s best for the country” (net +12), and “values hard work” (net +10); he fares worse on “brings stability to the country” and “is up to the job of President” (both net -8).

  • Biden’s rating on each attribute tested in this survey outpaces his overall job approval rating.

Nearly Three in Five Disapprove of Republicans in Congress, With Negative Things Heard Focused on SS/Medicare, Biden

The share of independents who approve of Republicans in Congress has declined by a net 8 points since last month (net -50 approve now, down from net -42 in mid-January).

Almost Half of Americans Disapprove of Republicans’ “Childish” and “Disrespectful” Conduct During the State of the Union

By a 25-point margin, more independents disapprove (40%) than approve (15%) of Republicans’ behavior during Biden’s State of the Union address, and prevailing moments from the speech show Republicans as “childish,” “disrespectful,” and “unprofessional.”

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 998 registered voters from February 9-February 13, 2023. 99 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 74 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 99 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 99 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

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