Plurality of Voters Disapprove of Biden’s Handling of Brittney Griner Detainment


Congressional Democrats have closed a nine-point Republican lead down to a single point, trailing 45% to 44%, the July Emerson College Polling National Survey finds. Nearly 100 days until the 2022 Midterm Elections, 91% of voters are very (74%) or somewhat (17%) motivated to vote this November.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “Those who say abortion is the top issue facing the nation are more motivated to vote this November than any other issue group. Among the nearly 1 in 10 voters for whom abortion is the top issue, 89% are very motivated to vote this November; comparatively, 76% of voters who say the economy is the top issue are very motivated to vote. Voters who say abortion is the most important issue break for the Democratic congressional candidate over Republicans 80% to 8%.”

Since June, the economy dropped seven points (from 58% to 51%) as the most important issue voters identify facing the nation. Crime and abortion access were the second-most reported isues, both at 9% respectively, followed by healthcare (8%), immigration (5%), housing affordability (4%), and Covid-19 (3%). 

Democrats hold majorities in the House of Representatives and US Senate, and just over a quarter of voters (26%) think the Democratic majority have been effective in passing Democratic policies, 46% think they have not been effective, and 28% are neutral. 

As professional basketball player Brittney Griner faces trial in Moscow, nearly a third of voters (31%) disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the situation. Less than a quarter (23%) approve, while 46% of voters have either not heard of this (18%) or are neutral (27%) on the matter. 

Following President Biden’s trip to the Middle East, a plurality of voters (40%) disapprove of the president’s decision to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Nearly a quarter (24%) of voters approve of President Biden’s visit with the Crown Prince; 36% of voters either have not heard of the issue (14%) or are neutral (22%) on the matter. 

President Biden holds a 40% job approval and 53% job disapproval. President Biden’s job approval remains unchanged since last month’s survey. US Congress holds an 18% job approval and 66% disapproval. 

“President Biden faces challenges in the court of public opinion when it comes to foriegn affairs. His trip to Saudi Arabia and actions on Griner’s case are unfavorable, but, at the same time, the economy is less of a concern for voters than it was last month. Altogether, his approval has remained steady in the past month,” said Kimball. 

In hypothetical 2024 match-ups between President Biden and Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, Trump leads Biden 46% to 43% and Sanders 45% to 40%. 
A plurality of voters (49%) say they make about the same amount of money in 2022 as they did in 2021, while 20% make more money and 32% make less money than last year. When it comes to saving money this year, a majority of voters (51%) are saving less money than they did in 2021, 32% are saving about the same, and 17% are saving more money this year than last year. 

While just three percent identify Covid-19 as the top issue facing the nation, 65% consider it a major (23%) or moderate (42%) threat to public health, whereas 35% think it is a minor threat (24%) or not a threat (11%). Similarly, in February 2022, 65% said Covid-19 is a major (28%) or moderate (37%) threat.

In the past week, a plurality (39%) of voters have not worn a mask outside their home, while 23% always wear a mask, 19% often wear a mask, and 20% sometimes wear a mask. 

Regarding Monkeypox, 45% consider it a major (12%) or moderate (33%) threat to public health, compared to 55% who think it is a minor threat (33%) or not a threat (22%). 

Caller ID 

The Emerson College Polling National poll of voters was conducted July 19-20, 2022. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=1,078, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.9 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, party affiliation, region, age, education, and race/ethnicity based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, party, age, education, and race/ethnicity carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and an online panel.