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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/23/21

Biden's First Six Months

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So far, Joe Biden's presidency has been a success. Most voters continue to believe that Biden has done an excellent job handling the pandemic and the economy. As we might expect, Democrats are far more likely to approve of Biden than are Republicans.

The most recent CBS News poll (Click Here) found President Biden with 58 percent approval (42 percent disapproval). Biden's rating is deeply split along Party lines: 93 percent of Democrats approve while 81 percent of Republicans disapprove. (55 percent of Independents approve.)

Coronavirus Pandemic: 66 percent of poll respondents believe the Biden Administration had done an excellent or good job "handling the coronavirus outbreak." The majority of respondents approve of the way the Biden Administration has responded to the pandemic and 67 percent are "hopeful" or "excited" about the future.

60 percent of poll respondents were fully vaccinated; 3 percent have had one shot and will get another; and 7 percent promise to get vaccinated. 11 percent of respondents report they are "still deciding." 19 percent say they will not get vaccinated. The most recent YouGov/Economist poll (Click Here) indicates that those who say they will not got vaccinated are primarily Republicans: 29 percent of all Republican respondents. Most of these Republicans believe: "The U.S. government is using the COVID-19 vaccine to microchip the population" -- 20 percent of all US adults.

Meanwhile coronavirus-related hospitalizations are on the rise; due to the Delta variant (83 percent of new cases). The new COVID-19 cases are overwhelmingly unvaccinated individuals. Four states dominate the appalling statistics: Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, and Louisiana. (Click Here )

Clinical trials have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious disease and death. (Breakthrough cases -- when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with COVID-19 -- are rare after full vaccination; a recent CDC report found that they may occur in just 0.01% of all fully vaccinated people.) "The message, loud and clear, that we need to reiterate is that these vaccines continue to [provide] strong protection against SARS-CoV-2, including the delta variant," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, during a July 16th White House briefing.

At his July 21 town-hall meeting (Click Here ) President Biden observed: "We have a pandemic for those who haven't gotten a vaccination." He noted, "Since I got in office, we've inoculated over 160 million people, 85 percent of people over the age of 50. "

The Economy: In the most recent CBS News poll, 53 percent of respondents approved of President Biden's handling of the economy. (60 percent rated their personal financial situations as good or fairly good -- 33 percent saw it as bad.) Once again Biden's rating is split on Party lines: 68 percent of Democrats saw the economy improving; 71 percent of Republicans disagreed.

51 percent of respondents -- of those with children under the age of 18 -- believed the child tax credit would help their family. 57 percent of respondents believe that Biden's stimulus package helped the economy.

In his recent town-hall meeting, President Biden observed: "[The economy is going] to grow at 7 percent, it's expected. We created more jobs in the first six months of my -- our administration than any time in American history."

Infrastructure: 59 percent of poll respondents approved of President Biden's infrastructure plan. Again Biden's rating is split on Party lines: 93 percent of Democrats approve, 57 percent of Independents, but only 20 percent of Republicans. The elements of the infrastructure plan have even stronger approval: 87 percent approve of work on roads and bridges, 73 percent of replying rural broadband, and 71 percent of more care for children and the elderly. (Even Republicans approve the first two initiatives.)

Most respondents (62 percent) want Biden to "try to get Republican support" to pass infrastructure legislation. At his July 21 town-hall meeting (Click Here ) President Biden expressed confidence that a bipartisan infrastructure bill will soon be passed.

Unity: Joe Biden ran on a promise to unify the nation. A recent Harris-Hill Poll (Click Here) found that a majority of respondents (57 percent) felt that Biden has been working to do this: "they think Joe Biden has made uniting the country a priority in his actions so far as president."

The most recent CBS News poll (Click Here ) found that a plurality of respondents (41 percent) feel that President Biden has devoted the right amount of time to bipartisanship. 36 percent believed he needed to do more and 23 percent felt he had spent too much energy on this issue.

During the past six months, Biden has faced adamant Republican congressional opposition. Republican members of Congress have seldom supported any move that he has made. On major issues it's unusual to find any Republican votes to go along with those of Democrats.

While Democratic-leaning pundits describe the Biden Administration as focused, empathetic, and effective, Republican-leading pundits describe Democratic actions in extremely negative terms. Conservative voices suggest that Biden is senile, a hollow facade, being manipulated by radical socialists including Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They decry the legislative initiatives -- such as the proposed Biden Infrastructure plan -- as socialist over reach.

Summary: the Biden Administration has had a productive six months, with no help from Republicans. The bad news is that Congressional Republicans are unlikely to change. The good news is that, on specific issues, Biden has the support of most of the electorate.

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
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