Despite GOP opposition, polls show Biden's COVID relief plan retains broad popularity

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With President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan expected to pass the House Wednesday, a round of new polling indicates that the bill is broadly popular despite failing to earn any Republican votes.

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found 75 percent support for the legislation to just 18 percent opposition, including 59 support among those who identified themselves as Republican. It also found 71 percent support from those in rural areas, 55 percent support among those who voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election and 53 percent support among those who expressed disapproval with Biden’s job performance.

President Biden on March 4. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
President Biden. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Only 21 percent of respondents said the package offered too much support, with 45 percent saying it offered the right amount and 24 percent saying it was not generous enough. Included in the bill's provisions are $1,400 checks for most Americans, expanded federal unemployment assistance, a larger child tax credit for working families, and funding for schools, vaccination sites and state and local governments.

The results are in line with a Pew Research survey released Tuesday that found 70 percent in favor of the relief legislation versus 28 percent opposed. Pew found that only 41 percent of Republicans supported the bill, but that number grew to 63 percent among lower-income Republicans.

The Pew survey also found 57 percent of respondents saying the White House was making a “good faith” effort to work with GOP leaders, and a similar number (55 percent) saying that Republicans were not making the same effort to work with Biden.

Republicans have criticized the bill’s size and called it a Democratic wish list, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying last week that it was “a wildly out-of-proportion response to where the country is at the moment.” However, many Republican lawmakers have largely sidestepped the debate, with some floor speeches and at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference instead focused on “cancel culture.”

The bill passed the Senate on Saturday with no GOP votes. When a version passed the House last month, it also did so with no Republican support. The White House has taken to describing bipartisan support as not necessarily Republican votes in Congress but approval from Americans on both sides of the aisle.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves the Senate chamber on March 6. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves the Senate chamber on March 6. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“Bipartisanship is not determined by a single ZIP code in Washington, D.C.,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week. “It’s about where the American people sit and stand, and the vast majority of the American people support the American Rescue Plan, including Republicans. And so really the question is: Why are Republicans in Congress who aren’t supporting this package outliers in where the American public is in moving this forward?”

While failing to achieve the backing of any federal GOP legislators, the Biden administration has been successful in courting support from Republican governors and mayors.

“We’re not asking the Democrats or the Republicans to put money into city coffers,” said Betsy Price, the Republican mayor of Fort Worth, Texas. “We’re asking them to put it into the community to help people get back on their feet.”


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