Biden needs to boost his pandemic approvals. These two new White House initiatives could help

Biden needs to boost his pandemic approvals. These two new White House initiatives could help
President Joe Biden, joined by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and their children Ashley Biden and Hunter Biden, takes the oath of office as President of the United States Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

When Americans voted Joe Biden into office in 2020, one of the biggest promises of his presidency was the hope that his administration could get the pandemic under control.

But one swift vaccine roll out and two devastating COVID-19 variants later, the American public isn't so sure about President Biden's leadership on the virus. A Pew Research Center survey released this week found that just 44% of U.S. adults now believe Biden can "handle the public health impact of the coronavirus outbreak," a 21-point drop from last March when 65% of respondents expressed confidence in Biden's ability to tackle the pandemic.

The bottom line is, it's imperative for Democrats that more Americans view Biden as competently tackling the pandemic well before the midterms this November. We have already seen the catastrophic results of GOP stewardship of the pandemic at the state level with Republican governors such as Florida's Ron DeSantis, Texas' Greg Abbott, and now Virginia's Glenn Youngkin injecting sheer chaos into their states and reveling in it.

By this summer, a solid majority of voters must once again have the sense that Biden has a steady hand on the pandemic and that vaccines/tests/masks and other tools to manage COVID-19 have become easily accessible to anyone who wants them.

Two new Biden administration initiatives could help nudge voters back in that direction: mailing free at-home COVID-19 tests to households that want them and making free N95 masks available to everyone.

A new Axios/Ipsos poll found that both initiatives had the support of 84% of Americans, with just 14% opposition. Even 65% of the unvaccinated favored the administration mailing free at-home tests to those who want them. The survey also showed that 44% of Americans have already ordered a free test despite the policy being implemented just over a week ago.

Two bar graphs showing identical support for Biden

That's a good start to President Biden recapturing the narrative on combatting the coronavirus. According to Civiqs tracking, 61% of registered voters currently say they are unsatisfied with the U.S. government's response to the pandemic—an all-time high during Biden's tenure.

To be sure, none of this current COVID-19 polling is helped by the lingering effects of omicron's grip on the nation. But Americans need to see the federal government implementing policies that instill confidence that the Biden administration is engaged and taking tangible action.

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