It's not particularly surprising that congressional Republicans—desperate for something to paper over their Trump-inspired rifts—would rally around blocking key pieces of President Biden's agenda.
What is notable, however, is them falling in line against Biden's concerted efforts to get a handle on the pandemic, get Americans back to work, get schools reopened, and restore a sense of normalcy to everyday life. Those efforts are now winning Biden a similar level of support among the American public as his wildly popular COVID-19 rescue plan is.
A new Associated Press-NORC poll released Friday found that 70% of Americans back Biden's handling of the response to the pandemic, including 44% of Republicans—a very similar level of support to what most surveys have found for Biden's COVID-19 relief package.
Biden's overall job performance approval came in at a strong 60%, but it's notable that he's doing 10 points better on pandemic-specific issues. It suggests the popularity of Biden's pandemic relief is redounding to his benefit more broadly, along with his other efforts to speed up vaccine distribution and more generally provide palpable leadership on the issue. A Harris tracking poll this week also found public approval of vaccine distribution has risen to 66%, a 15-point jump in a single month.
Republicans, by prominently opposing that relief bill, are also broadly seen by the public as trying to jam Biden's efforts to improve the economy and combat the pandemic. A new Navigator Research poll found that 52% of Americans say Republicans in Congress are "blocking" Biden's efforts to improve the economy (just 20% say Republicans are helping) while a plurality of 40% say the same about Biden's efforts to combat the pandemic (just 31% say Republicans are helping).
Bottom line, in numerous polls, the American public likes both Biden's show of initiative and his specific initiatives on the pandemic.
Republicans, not so much. And this is the hill they have apparently chosen to die on.