Negative Views of Government Soar Under Biden Compared to Trump
Negative Views of Government Soar Under Biden Compared to Trump

By Tom Ozimek

The share of Americans expressing a negative view of the federal government soared in President Joe Biden’s third year in office, with a new poll showing a 10-percent drop in favorability compared to roughly the same point in former President Donald Trump’s term in the White House.

Just 22 percent of U.S. adults polled in December 2023 had a favorable opinion of the federal government, according to a Pew Research poll published on April 12.

That’s a 10-point drop compared to the 32 percent who held a similar view in August 2019, during President Trump’s third year in office.

President Trump saw the Washington bureaucracy as corrupt, bloated, and ineffective, vowing during the 2016 campaign to “drain the swamp” and following through with a red tape-cutting agenda while in office.

His plans for a second Trump term are to “crush the Deep State,” “fire rogue bureaucrats” and slash wasteful Beltway spending. President Biden, by contrast, recently adopted a new rule that would make it harder to fire civil servants, while specifically citing President Trump’s actions that made it easier to fire bureaucrats and hinting that the move was meant to thwart a similar thrust if the former president manages to win in the November election.

Independents Sour on Biden

Meanwhile, in the Pew Research poll on federal government favorability, there was a sharp partisan difference in the numbers.

Republican-leaning respondents gave the federal government in President Biden’s third year in office a dismal rating of just 11 percent favorability. That’s a 30-percent drop compared to 2019, when 41 percent had a positive view of the federal government.

The dynamic is flipped for Democrats, with 26 percent giving the government a positive rating during the third year of the Trump presidency, compared to 32 percent who think favorably of it under President Biden.

Americans’ views of their local and state governments were generally more favorable than with regard to the federal government, though partisan opinions varied sharply depending on which party is in power.

The poll didn’t gauge what independents or “undecideds” think of the government, neither did it offer a breakdown into specific areas of government activity—like the economy or immigration policy—around which respondents held views that were negative.

However, the latest poll from The Economist/YouGov shows that Independents track closely with Republicans in terms of their strong approval (5 percent of Independents compared to 3 percent of Republicans) of the job President Biden is doing.

In terms of strong disapproval, Independents fall somewhere in between Democrats and Republicans, with the poll showing that 48 percent of Independents strongly disapprove of the job President Biden is doing compared to 82 percent of Republicans and just 4 percent of Democrats.

Meanwhile, a recent focus group of “undecideds,” including some who voted for President Biden in 2020, was asked whether they thought the economy would be better under the former president.

Every single one of the panel members raised their hand when asked if they were better off under President Trump compared to the incumbent.

Minority Voters Breaking for Trump

Besides indications that Independent voters are increasingly Trump-curious, recent polling shows that Latino and black Americans, who have often been entrenched Democrat voters, have been turning their backs on President Biden.

A recent New York Times/Siena College poll showed a staggering jump from the 4 percent of black voters who said in October 2020 that they would vote for then-candidate Trump, compared to 23 percent who said in February 2024 they plan to vote for him this November.

The stunning 19-percent increase in black voter support for President Trump comes as a majority (57 percent) said they see the country under President Biden heading in the wrong direction.

Also, support for President Trump among Latino voters has surged in recent weeks, according to a recent Axios/Ipsos poll.

In December 2021, President Biden enjoyed a 55 percent favorability rating among Latinos, compared to 25 percent for President Trump.

But over time, President Biden’s lead has dwindled, to where he now has 41 percent favorability among Hispanics, compared to President Trump’s 32 percent.

Also, when Latinos who intend to vote in the November presidential election were asked who they plan to vote for, 31 percent said President Biden, and 28 percent said President Trump. That’s a difference of just 3 percentage points.

However, given the poll’s 3.6 percent margin of error, this means that it’s technically possible that President Trump could actually be leading his main rival among Latino voters by up to 0.6 percentage points.

The poll also showed that President Trump is ahead of the incumbent among Latinos on the their top three most worrying issues: inflation, crime, and immigration.

Neither the Trump campaign nor the Biden campaign responded to requests for comment on the poll numbers.

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