by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Biden’s recent comments about Trump supporters espousing “semi-fascism” and accusing the former president’s followers of representing “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic” shocked many Americans. Now, despite White House denials of ill intent, a majority of voters call Biden’s remarks divisive, September’s I&I/TIPP Poll shows.
During his campaign for the presidency and even in his inauguration speech in 2021, Biden vowed to “unify” the country after years of often-bitter political division. Voters warmed to the idea that he could bring Americans together after years of angry ideological debates, polls showed.
But the latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows Americans no longer believe that Biden is a uniter, but a divider.
The online poll of 1,277 adults taken from Sept. 7-9 showed that 62% of Americans believed Biden’s comments about Trump and his MAGA followers “increases division in the country.” Just 29% disagreed. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 2.8 percentage points.
Perhaps surprisingly, Democrats — at 73% — were more likely to say that Biden’s MAGA comments increased division than either Republicans (50%) or independents (57%). Blacks and Hispanics (70%) exceeded white respondents (58%) in seeing the comments as divisive.
The poll also asked if Biden’s comments “endanger Americans’ First Amendment rights to free speech and free assembly.” Once more, by 55% to 33%, Americans agreed.
Finally, in order to discern whether Americans felt Biden’s remarks were out-of-bounds for the office of the White House, voters were asked whether the remarks were “an uncouth and politically biased use of the office of the president.”
Again, 58% agreed vs. 30% who disagreed.
Nor is the I&I/TIPP Poll the only public opinion survey to find general displeasure with Biden when it comes to unifying the nation