Jan. 18, 2023
Half of Virginians approve of President Biden’s handling of his job, per VCU Wilder School Commonwealth Poll
Poll respondents also favor Biden’s student loan forgiveness proposal by a small margin.
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Virginians were more likely to approve of how President Joe Biden is handling his job as president of the United States than to disapprove, with 50% of respondents reporting approval and 45% reporting disapproval, according to a new Commonwealth Poll conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Now more than halfway through his term as president, Biden’s approval rating is higher than it was in the July 2022 Commonwealth Poll. At that point, the president’s approval rating was 39% overall, with 55% disapproving.
In the current poll, President Biden was more likely to receive approval from Democrats (86%) than Republicans (13%). For Democrats and Republicans, these numbers are higher than in the July 2022 poll when Biden’s approval rating was 79% for Democrats and 6% for Republicans. The approval rating among Independents, however, dropped from 35% in July 2022 to 24% in this poll.
In addition, the current poll found Black or African American respondents (73%), Asian respondents (58%) and mixed-race respondents (53%) were more likely to state that they approved of Biden’s handling of his job as president than white respondents (42%). Hispanic respondents were slightly more likely to approve (53%) than non-Hispanic respondents (49%).
Those in lower income brackets tended to approve more highly of the job that President Biden is doing than those in higher income brackets. Those making under $35,000 annually were the most likely to say that they approve of Biden (54%), while those making $150,000 or more were the least likely to say that they approve (44%). Younger people, especially those in the 18-24 (52%) and 25-34 (50%) age ranges, were more likely to approve than older people.
When considering education, those with a postgraduate or professional degree (66%) were more likely than those who had begun but not completed high school (19%) to approve. However, those with an education level of less than high school (49%), high school graduates (55%) and those with some college experience (55%) were more likely to approve than those with an associate degree (44%) or a bachelor’s degree (42%).
Student loan forgiveness
Approval of President Biden’s plan to forgive student loans of up to $10,000, or up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, was supported by a majority of respondents. Overall, 52% reported that they supported this policy, and 42% were opposed.
Rates of support for student loan forgiveness followed similar demographic lines to Biden’s overall support. Democrats (80%) were significantly more likely than Republicans (19%) to support this policy, while 45% of Independents indicated support. In addition, women (55%) were slightly more likely than men (48%) to be supportive. Black or African American (78%), Asian (78%) and mixed-race (67%) respondents were more likely than white respondents (42%) to say that they approved of the student loan forgiveness policy, and Hispanic respondents (63%) were more likely than non-Hispanic respondents (52%) to approve.
Support among those of different education levels was mixed. The highest levels of support for student loan forgiveness came from those with an associate degree (67%) and those with a postgraduate or professional degree (63%). Those with a bachelor’s degree (43%) and some college but no degree (46%) were the least likely to show support for student loan forgiveness.
When considering family income, support tended to be higher among those in lower income brackets than among those in higher income brackets. Those earning an annual income of under $50,000 per year most approved of the policy (68%), while those earning an annual income of $50,000 to $150,000 had the next-highest rate of approval (56%). Those earning $150,000 or more per year were the least likely to approve of student loan forgiveness, with only 42% showing approval.
The Commonwealth Poll obtained landline and mobile telephone interviews from Dec. 3 to Dec. 16, 2022, with a representative sample of 807 adults living in Virginia. It has a margin of error of 6.02%.
Full poll results can be found at oppo.vcu.edu/policy-poll.
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