President Joe Biden’s administration might be less than a week old, but voters are already expressing skepticism about his promise to bridge the nation’s divides.
A poll released by ABC News and Ipsos on Sunday found that only 22 percent of Americans “have a great deal of confidence” in the president’s ability to make progress on unifying the country over his term in office. The poll, which was conducted between January 22 and January 23, also found that 24 percent of Americans have no confidence whatsoever in Biden’s prospects for unity.
A majority of those surveyed, however, refused to give a definitive answer on the topic, with 35 percent of recipients stating they “had a good amount” of confidence in Biden, while a further 19 percent said “not so much.”
The poll is one of the first to be conducted since the new administration took office. Biden, who campaigned for the White House on a pledge to rebuild bipartisanship in Washington, DC, stuck to the theme during his inaugural address last week.
“To all those who did not support us, let me say this, ‘Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart,’” Biden said after being sworn in on the steps of the United States Capitol.
“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward,” the president added. “And, we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you, we will not fail.”
Despite the rhetoric, some on the right have argued that Biden’s first actions in the White House have only intensified divisions, rather than bridge them. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), in particular, has pointed to the administration’s decision to cancel the Keystone Pipeline and refusal to disavow the impeachment of former President Donald Trump as doing little to unite the country, especially as citizens face a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need to turn the page and start focusing on helping hardworking families,” Scalise said during a recent appearance on Fox Business. “People are struggling. We need to get our economy safely reopened. … That’s going to take us working together.”