(WSVN) – An exclusive 7News-Emerson College poll has found Americans are divided over President Joe Biden’s job performance to date, whether his predecessor was responsible for inciting the Capitol riots and other national issues.
The poll, comprised of input from Americans across the country, was conducted days before the U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin the first impeachment trial of a president who has already left office.
Former President Donald Trump will be tried on a single charge of inciting the capitol insurrection.
“They’re very split on this issue, and it’s basically how the country has been for the last four or five years,” said Emerson College Poll Director Spencer Kimball.
Pollsters asked participants how they would vote if they were part of the Senate jury. Fifty-two percent said they would find Trump not guilty, while 48% would find him guilty.
Two-thirds of the Senate must vote guilty to convict him.
As to whether the trial itself is a good or bad idea, 51% believe the impeachment trial is a bad idea, whereas 49% percent believe it’s a good idea.
“Looks like public opinion is very similar. A year and a half ago, it was about 45%-43% opposed to impeachment, and in our new poll, it’s 51%-49% opposed to impeachment, going through that process,” said Kimball, “so it’s very interesting to see, everything that has gone on, public opinion has kind of stayed the same when we talk about Donald Trump.”
Just a little over two weeks into his term, Biden has signed more than three dozen executive orders reversing many policies of the Trump administration.
The poll found the president’s job approval stands at 49%, while 39% disapprove, and 12% declared themselves neutral.
“I thought it was a little lower than I expected. I thought he would be a little bit higher, but his disapproval number is only at 39%, and what it basically tells me is that Americans are giving Joe Biden a chance,” said Kimball. “At this point, I think this is good news for Joe Biden. He’s got a chance to win back – remember, this is a very partisan country we’ve been talking about.”
The COVID-19 pandemic was a pivotal issue in November’s general election, and the commander in chief has now made securing vaccines for Americans his top priority.
Sixty percent of those polled said they plan to receive the vaccine shot, while 22% said they do not plan to do so, 15% say they aren’t sure, and 3% said they’ve already been vaccinated.
With Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying America needs to see 70% to 85% of people fully vaccinated before the country gets back to normal, the numbers could be troubling.
“Well, for that 15%, they’re really basing it on a wait and see, and so that 60% that will come out and take it, it’s going to be really important that things go well, because that last group that needs to come in to get to that immunity is on the fence,” said Kimball, “and if reports come back negative from people getting the vaccine, that might have a detrimental impact on that 15%. If things come back positive, that could have a very positive impact and get us over the hump.”
Biden is trying to win support for the other issues central to his agenda. Fifty-four percent said a $15 minimum wage is a good idea, but 46% say it is not.
As for immigration, 55 percent said a pathway to citizenship sounds good, while 45% disagree.
On the environment, 57% said rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement is the right thing to do, but 43% don’t see it that way.
Not one of the big issues that participants were asked about got to 60% approval.
“When Joe Biden is trying to get policies done, these are not overwhelmingly popular policies. They’re not unpopular, but they’re 55%-45% policies,” said Kimball. “He’s going to create some animosity toward them, because there are going to be people against these policies, and that’s what’s probably what’s going to impact his favorability and unfavorability ratings over the next four to six weeks.”
Early Friday morning, the Senate passed a key budget resolution that will allow Democrats to pass Biden’s sweeping COVID relief package.
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