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President Joe Biden’s first formal State of the Union address boosted his overall approval ratings, 47%. While the most prominent jump is among Democrats and Independents, there was a 4% increase among Republicans. Moreover, 71% of Americans surveyed who watched Biden’s speech positively reacted.
He focused on the war in Ukraine, inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, and what Biden referred to as a “Unity Agenda,” reports NPR. In the president’s attempt to improve American unity, he addressed the opioid epidemic, mental health, supporting veterans, and cutting cancer death rates.
As Biden ended his introduction with “an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny,” he was given a heart-warming response.
He continued to talk about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s miscalculation believing that “he thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over.” He praised the Ukrainian people’s courage and resolve — a large part of the audience wore the nation’s flag in a show of solidarity.
The “rally-around-the-Ukrainian-flag moment” reflects a significant increase in Biden’s approval, the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey conducted in the two days following the State of the Union address. His handling of the situation with Russia and Ukraine is up an average of 18 points. Eighty-three percent of those polled endorse the economic sanctions the United States and its allies have lodged against Russia; this number includes 80% of Republican respondents.
Sixty-nine percent agreed they would continue to agree with the sanctions even if the consequence was higher energy prices; 80% Democrats, 75% Independents, and 60% Republicans.
While Biden’s approval ratings for the economy improved eight points to 55% between February 24 and March 4, 2022, 53% disapprove of his response. Fifty-one percent of respondents believe Biden’s foreign policy decisions have diminished America’s position on the world stage.
Americans expressed other concerns about the growing crisis in Ukraine, including cyberattacks and nuclear weapons. Nearly 80% of those asked indicate they are anxious about cyberattacks on the United States; they are also concerned “that the conflict will spread to a wider war in Europe,” reports NPR.
Seventy percent of respondents are afraid that nuclear weapons will be used. Counting Americans, 45 and older, who lived through the Cold War, that number rises to 84%.
Nonetheless, the State of the Union address appears to have helped the president’s approval ratings. During his speech, Biden tried to strike a balance with every party.
Some Republicans were unimpressed, even though the overall State of the Union address in-person audience response appeared to be positive. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) stared vacantly ahead, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) looked like a petulant child, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy R-Calif.) fiddled with his phone. Both Lauren Boebart (R-Colo.) and Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) heckled Biden.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NPR: Biden gets a bounce after the State of the Union, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll shows; by Domenico Montanaro
The Hill: Nearly 8 in 10 State of the Union watchers approved of Biden’s remarks: poll; by Caroline Vakil
The White House: President Biden’s State of the Union Address
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