BOSTON (CBS) — A majority of Americans think President Joe Biden is dealing with the pandemic well, according to a new national poll from Yahoo News/YouGov.
Fifty-four percent either strongly or somewhat approve of his COVID management, while only 35% strongly or somewhat disapprove. But that same survey includes signs it could be a tough road ahead for some of the president’s big-spending plans.READ MORE: 'I Felt Numb': Mother Outraged Over Dracut High School Yearbook Message Of Support For Son's Accused Killer
The poll showed solid majority backing for Biden’s massive infrastructure and social-needs bills. But there appears to be a limit on the public’s appetite for government aid. Forty-one percent said they prefer bigger government providing more services for now, but that was only narrowly more than the 37 percent who’d rather seem smaller government, even if it means less help.
Reaction to the extension of the $300 unemployment supplement is a harbinger of this backlash. According to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), small business owners looking to hire hear from their prospects that their federal unemployment aid “‘pays maybe not as much as when I was working but pretty close, when those run out I’m gonna go back to work,’ that’s what we’re being told.”
And with the most recent job report showing a surprisingly slow recovery, the GOP claim that too much aid is undermining the return to work is gaining significant traction. Forty-four percent of respondents told the pollsters government assistance is making it too easy to not work, a slight edge over those who blamed the pandemic for persistent joblessness.READ MORE: 58 At Massachusetts Schools Test Positive For COVID-19 In Last Week
“I never said, and no serious analyst ever suggested, that climbing out of the deep, deep hole our economy was in would be simple,” said the president recently, and selling his plans for more aid won’t be easy either. Asked if the $300 a week unemployment supplement should continue, the response was a virtual tie, 43% for ending the bonus, 41% for keeping it in place.
How do we reconcile this apparent contradiction between public support for Biden’s big-ticket plans and their reluctance to see the big-government activism of the pandemic era continue?
The same way we explain other political conundrums of the past 15 months, such as electoral support for most incumbents over challengers during a time of social and economic turmoil, and the willingness of a public normally skeptical of aggressive government controls to tolerate lockdowns and other unusual restrictions.MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
It’s been an upside-down time of fear and trauma. But with the return to “normalcy” comes a renewal of traditional political norms.