As President Joe Biden nears his 100th day in office, a nationwide poll finds that he has not succeeded in bringing the unity he sought for American politics.
While Biden spoke about unifying the country in his campaign and in his inaugural address, a new UMass Amherst/WCVB poll found that 66% of people view Biden as liberal and the vast majority say he has not improved relations between the Democrats and the Republicans. Forty-six percent say relations between the parties have worsened and 39% say they have remained the same.
Overall, 51% percent of Americans approve of Biden's presidency so far, according to the poll. The national poll of 1,000 respondents, conducted April 21-23, found that 29% strongly approve of the job he's doing.
The poll has a margin of error of 3.4%
Meanwhile, 66% of Americans said Biden has handled the rollout and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines somewhat or very well. Last week, Biden surpassed his goal of administering 200 million shots by his 100th day.
His next highest approval rating was for his handling of the economy, where the poll found 50% believe Biden has done somewhat or very well.
Majorities disapproved of his handling of gun violence and immigration on the border with Mexico.
The poll found that 64% feel Biden has met or exceeded their expectations for his presidency, so far, and 36% said he has fallen short.
In terms of qualities associated with the president, 43% consider him to be compassionate, 40% say he is competent and 34% say he is intelligent.
However, 39% say Biden is weak, 36% say he is uninspiring and 33% say he is dishonest.
Fifty-four percent of respondents said they believe the country is on the wrong track while just 31% said it was going in the right direction. The poll found people felt slightly better about their home states with 36% saying things were going in the right direction.
While presidents don't deliver a State of the Union address to Congress until their second year in office, Biden is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
The speech will come just before Biden's 100th day in office and will provide him an opportunity to update the American public on his progress toward fulfilling his promises. It will also give him a chance to make the case for the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package he unveiled earlier this month, which the House is aiming to pass by July 4.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invited him to "share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment."
Traditionally, all members of Congress and guests gather for a joint session in the House, the larger of the two chambers. However, the address is certain to look different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Social distancing restrictions have been in place during the pandemic that require House lawmakers to conduct floor votes and other business in smaller groups, rather than convening hundreds in the chamber at once. Masks are required and the public visitors' galleries, usually filled for such an event, have been closed during most of the pandemic.