2021 CBS News polling: What Americans considered COVID-19, Biden, the January 6 assault and extra

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2021 was a yr of ups and downs within the minds of the American public.

The yr started with public concern in regards to the state of U.S. democracy, but constructive scores for newly-elected President Joe Biden; scores that will flip extra damaging over the course of the yr. In the spring, there was some optimism in regards to the pandemic as vaccine charges rose after which some concern as a brand new COVID variant emerged at yr’s finish.  Many of the political divisions we have seen in recent times endured all through 2021 however, all in all, Americans are feeling fairly good about 2022.

CBS News polled 1000’s of individuals throughout the nation this yr getting their opinions on a spread of points. Here’s a glance again at among the highlights from CBS News polling in 2021: 

January: After assault on the Capitol, most say democracy below risk, help for second Trump impeachment

After a contentious presidential election that noticed document turnout throughout a pandemic, 2021 didn’t begin off quietly, however as a substitute, with an assault on the U.S. Capitol. Supporters of then- President Trump tried to disrupt Congress’ counting of the electoral votes

Amid the assault and the objection by 147 Republican lawmakers to the counting of the Electoral College votes,  a majority of Americans had been optimistic about him as the subsequent president. Fewer than a 3rd referred to as it safe. 

In response to the occasions on the Capitol on January 6, the House of Representatives launched and later adopted one article of impeachment of “incitement of insurrection” towards Trump, alleging that he had incited the assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

Similar to the primary impeachment proceedings introduced towards Trump in 2019, views on the matter cut up alongside partisan strains: Most Democrats, together with independents, favored impeachment. Most Republicans opposed impeaching Trump and believed he did nothing flawed to deserve removing or resignation. 


Meanwhile, simply forward of Joe Biden being sworn into workplace, a majority of Americans had been optimistic about him as the subsequent president. Most Republicans, nonetheless,  weren’t, as two-thirds didn’t view Biden because the reputable winner of the 2020 presidential election, a view that will persist all through 2021.

February: Biden begins off with excessive marks, Republicans nonetheless behind Trump

The CBS News ballot took its first measure of President Biden’s general job score in February. 61% of Americans authorised of his job efficiency, a lot of it boosted by the nice marks he acquired on his dealing with of the coronavirus outbreak.  His general approval score was larger than Trump’s in the beginning of his presidency, whereas just like Barack Obama’s in the beginning of his first time period.


Still, most Republicans disapproved of the job Biden was doing, and as Trump’s second impeachment trial started, rank and file Republicans remained strongly behind the previous president. By greater than 2 to 1,  they referred to as any Republican vote in Congress to question or convict Trump as disloyal, relatively than principled.


March: After a yr of COVID, many Americans exhausted, but additionally optimistic, Republicans extra hesitant to get vaccinated

March 2021 marked one yr for the reason that World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and after a yr of the outbreak, Americans had been feeling a spread of feelings because it associated to the coronavirus, together with exhaustion and stress, but additionally gratitude. For many, their lives had been reworked over the previous yr. At the time, 1 in 5 Americans reported {that a} shut buddy or relative had died from COVID-19.  

Many mentioned the virus outbreak had a damaging affect on their funds, in addition to on their psychological and emotional well being. 


But they expressed some optimism in regards to the future, as many anticipated this stuff to enhance. And 63% of Americans anticipated the coronavirus state of affairs general to get higher within the subsequent few months.


Vaccines had been driving optimism about containing the pandemic. At this level, greater than half of U.S. adults mentioned they deliberate to get vaccinated or had already gotten no less than one shot. Still, a portion of the general public was hesitant in regards to the vaccine and that hesitancy was – and continues to be – associated to partisanship.  Republicans had been much less seemingly than the broader public to say they’d get vaccinated, one thing that is still at present. 

Along with this little bit of public optimism, the president continued to get excessive marks for his dealing with of the coronavirus outbreak.


April: Widespread settlement with Chauvin responsible verdict

George Floyd’s loss of life within the spring of 2020 sparked protests throughout the nation by Black Lives Matter and different teams in regards to the remedy of racial minorities by police.  Nearly a yr later, former police officer Derek Chauvin was discovered responsible of murdering Floyd – a verdict that 3 in 4 Americans believed was the best one. This majority view spanned racial, age and partisan teams.


As the nation celebrated Earth Day, most Americans continued to consider local weather change is one thing that must be addressed urgently, and seven in 10 mentioned their era has no less than some accountability to make sacrifices and care for the surroundings. 


May: Republicans help ouster of Cheney from House management, proceed to prioritize loyalty to Trump

Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a vocal critic of Trump’s actions on January 6 and one of many few Republicans who voted to question him over the matter, was faraway from her House management submit, an motion supported by most rank and file Republicans. Eight in 10 Republicans who had been conscious of Cheney’s removing agreed along with her ouster, saying she was off-message, unsupportive of former president Trump, and that she was flawed in regards to the 2020 presidential election. 


Six months after Trump was defeated in his re-election bid for president, two-thirds of Republicans nationwide mentioned it was necessary for Republicans to be loyal to Trump.  And an identical proportion continued to say that Mr. Biden was not the reputable winner of the 2020 election, little modified since January shortly earlier than Mr. Biden was sworn into workplace.


June: Americans wished Biden to get robust with Putin, distant work good points traction

Ahead of President Biden’s  summit with Russian chief Vladimir Putin most Americans wished him to take a tricky stand with Putin relatively than a cooperative strategy.  Majorities of  Republicans, Democrats and independents held this view.  


While Mr. Biden and Putin met head to head, some Americans had been nonetheless assembly and dealing remotely.   As they appear to the long run, extra working Americans mentioned they most well-liked a hybrid work mannequin –  a mixture of some days at work and a few at residence – or work remotely on a regular basis, for the subsequent yr. 


As the nation marked Pride month almost 8 in 10 mentioned the final 50 years had introduced progress in ending discrimination towards LGBTQ individuals, though a majority mentioned discrimination nonetheless exists in society at present.

July: The debate over voting rights heats up  and Biden marks six months in workplace

Since the 2020 election, some states have tried to vary their voting guidelines however most Americans mentioned they’d desire the voting course of be left alone or made simpler. Relatively few wished it to be tougher.


And whereas Congress has made little headway on the problem of voting rights, a majority of Americans really feel federal oversight is certainly needed at present to verify minorities have the identical entry to voting as White individuals do. Although fewer Republicans (most of whom suppose voting needs to be made tougher) suppose that is needed. 


Six months into his presidency,  Mr. Biden continued to get good marks for his dealing with of the coronavirus.  And extra Americans had been feeling hopeful than scared about issues over the subsequent yr. 

But because the president continued to induce  individuals to get a COVID vaccine, most Republicans — extra of whom are vaccine hesitant in comparison with the general public general — advised us the Biden administration was focusing an excessive amount of on attempting to get individuals  vaccinated. 


August: Most important of withdrawal from Afghanistan, a turning level for the Biden presidency?

Nearly 20 years after the U.S. battle in Afghanistan started, it ended with a much-criticized withdrawal of U.S. troops. Americans supported troops getting out, however public response to how the withdrawal performed out was decidedly damaging. 74% of Americans mentioned it went badly, together with majorities throughout political strains.


Americans gave Mr. Biden damaging marks for his dealing with of the removing of U.S. troops. Also, most didn’t suppose he had a transparent plan for evacuating U.S. civilians nor did they really feel the U.S. was doing sufficient to assist Afghan individuals attempting to go away (together with most Democrats).   

The president’s general approval score took a success —  dropping eight factors in a month — and in CBS News polling thus far — that approval score has not rebounded. 


Here at residence, the varsity yr was starting to get underway and debates over masks mandates in colleges had been going down throughout the nation.  Nationally, a majority of fogeys favored requiring college students to put on masks as most expressed no less than some concern about their youngsters contracting the coronavirus in class.


Like views associated to the coronavirus among the many broader public, mother and father’ opinions additionally divided largely alongside political strains. Parents who’re Republican expressed much less concern than Democrats about their youngsters getting COVID, and these partisan views prolonged to opinions on masks: Most Democrats supported a masks requirement of their youngsters’s college, however most Republicans didn’t. 

September:  Twenty years after 9/11, most see a rustic endlessly modified 

This September marked 20 years for the reason that terror assaults of September 11, 2001 and two-thirds of Americans consider the nation was endlessly modified on that day.

Americans see a mixture of good and dangerous when taking a look at methods the nation could have modified: most see the improved airport safety measures as modifications for the higher. Stricter safety measures could have come at a value, nonetheless, as extra really feel private privateness and freedoms have modified for the more serious, relatively than higher, as results of the assaults.


Thinking about 9/11 continues to be emotional for many Americans.  They advised us “Sad” describes the best way they most frequently really feel once they suppose or hear about that day. Many nonetheless expressed “disbelief,” even twenty years later. 

October:  The Build Back Better agenda – most do not know quite a bit about it

As Congressional Democrats negotiated inside their very own get together over the President’s “Build Back Better” plan, Americans had been extra prone to have heard about the price of the plan than the precise insurance policies that could possibly be in it. 

Yet a few of what may doubtlessly be within the invoice was fairly well-liked, in precept, significantly objects like expanded Medicare protection and lowered prescription prices — however these had been the  least heard about objects.  



On the coronavirus, we continued to see splits in views by vaccine standing. The vaccinated strongly favored mandates and proof of vaccines to enter some public locations, whereas the unvaccinated opposed these measures. The vaccinated additionally voiced frustration with the unvaccinated. When requested to choose methods to explain the unvaccinated, the totally vaccinated usually selected “they’re putting people like me and my family at risk” and “they’re being misled” as descriptors.

November: Biden’s scores drop amid inflation worries

As costs for items and companies had been going up, Americans’ scores of the economic system and President Biden had been taking place.  In November, the general public’s assessments of the nationwide economic system had been probably the most damaging for the reason that summer season of 2020 and their general approval score of Biden dropped to the bottom of his presidency. 


President Biden was in a position to tout the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure invoice which drew backing from a majority of Americans, however 67%  disapproved of this dealing with of inflation.

And this dragged down his general approval score to 44%.  Mr. Biden’s scores for dealing with coronavirus usually, and vaccine distribution remained constructive, however when requested particularly which points mattered most in how they consider Mr. Biden, the economic system stood out.


Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in an abortion case that represents a direct problem to the landmark Roe v. Wade choice that legalized abortion. Ahead of these arguments, a majority of Americans advised us that they help maintaining Roe in place and by two to at least one mentioned overturning it might symbolize a step backward for ladies relatively than a step ahead.


December: Most are hopeful about 2022

As the yr was winding down, one other COVID variant was popping up. In our polling performed in early December, earlier than Omicron grew to become the dominant variant within the U.S., most Americans had been continuing with their vacation plans, together with gathering with household and associates, though 58% of Americans had been no less than considerably involved about Omicron. 

Overall, when Americans look again over the previous yr, emotions are blended. 42% mentioned 2021 was principally full of happiness for them personally, 20 factors larger than the quantity who described 2020 that means after we polled the general public final yr.  

But nearly as many American mentioned 2021 was principally a tragic yr for them.  


Still, as they appear forward, most Americans really feel hopeful about 2022, no matter whether or not 2021 was a tragic or completely satisfied yr for them. 


2022: The yr forward

Looking to subsequent yr,  2022 might be filled with occasions to cowl from the COVID-19 pandemic to the midterm elections to a Supreme Court ruling on abortion. Who will win management of Congress? How a lot of an element will President Biden be within the midterms? After optimism earlier this yr, will the coronavirus be contained?  The CBS News polling crew will proceed to measure the views of the American public on the important thing points and occasions that come up. Stay tuned.

This evaluation relies on CBS News polls performed in 2021. Anthony Salvanto, Fred Backus and Kabir Khanna contributed to parts of this evaluation.

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