Key Takeaways from the January 2021 NBC News Survey

President Biden and Vice President Harris begin their administration facing unprecedented challenges, unlike those that his recent predecessors faced when they took office.  A surging pandemic, an economy that is as divided as the country, and a terrorist attack by Americans on the U.S. Capitol, for which Americans hold the outgoing president responsible, would be enough. But beyond that the nation has lost its sense of hope and possibility. Donald Trump leaves Joe Biden a country divided, off on the wrong track, and also with a new sense that the future may not be as bright as we thought. Yes, for nearly the past 20 years, Americans have believed the country is headed off on the wrong track, but that didn’t deter their optimism that the future would be better. Until now.

This is the America that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris inherit. Joe Biden is the antidote to Donald Trump – bringing decency and experience to the presidency. Simply put, the country is looking for what it didn’t get over the past four years. As Biden lays out his policies and plans for the first 100 days, he has broader latitude on addressing COVID and dealing with the economy – major aspects of his just-released relief plan. These policy prescriptions and his personal efforts at decency and attempts at unity may very well be the foundation of the Biden presidency. 

 Some Other Key Insights:

  • 43% of Americans overall approved of the job that Trump was doing, with 87% among Republicans. This was essentially unchanged from the course of his presidency.
  • 58% of Americans have confidence that the election results were counted accurately, but just 16% of Republicans do.
  • 61% of voters believe that Joe Biden won the presidency legitimately, but just 21% of Republicans do.
  • 57% of voters consider the protests that led to rioters overtaking the Capitol to be an act of terrorism, 27% among Republicans.
  • 50% of voters support Trump’s impeachment for inciting protestors to attack the Capitol, 8% among Republicans.
  • Among Biden voters, 69% say that making sure Donald Trump did not continue as president is the single most important reason they voted for Biden – and related, next on their list is providing presidential leadership and uniting the country.

Selected Articles:

NBC News poll: Biden takes the helm of a polarized, pessimistic and pained nation

In the Trump era of public opinion, it’s the GOP vs. the world

Trump approval remains stable in new NBC poll, with Republicans unmoved after Capitol violence

Poll: Just 8 percent of Republicans support Trump’s impeachment and removal