One of the most important parts of good governance is communicating to constituents what to expect and then actually delivering what was expected. In the current political environment, this is particularly important for Democrats as they work to revive the notion that government, in the right hands, can respond to the needs of the people.
In fact, delivering for voters is what Democrats are betting the midterm elections on, while Republicans throw a muddle of hot-button culture war issues at their base in hopes of riling them to the polls. One of the most important tests of Democrats' ability to deliver good outcomes when they are in charge will undoubtedly be how voters perceive the rollout of President Biden's COVID-19 rescue package, since he was largely hired to fix Donald Trump's flailing national response to the pandemic. Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief measure passed solely by Democrats had the benefit of being favored by some 70% of Americans, but those expectations also carried with them a heavier burden of delivery.
New polling from Civiqs/Daily Kos brings good news on that front. On what was arguably the highest-profile element of the massive package—the $1,400 direct payments to those with adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for married couples who file a joint tax return—the rollout appears to have delivered approximately what most voters expected.
Nearly 8 in 10 registered voters reported "recently" receiving a stimulus payment from the U.S. government, and of those who reported receiving one, some 90% said it was "about what I expected." Here's the breakdown of the numbers for the question, "If you recently received a stimulus payment, was it for the amount you expected?"
- Yes, it was about what I expected: 70%
- No, it was lower than I expected: 5%
- No, it was higher than I expected: 2%
- I did not receive a stimulus payment: 20%
- Unsure: 2%
So about 70% of the 77% who reported an opinion on whether the stimulus was higher/lower or about as expected said they received what they thought they would—that amounts to roughly 90% of those who said they received the payment. That's a messaging win, even if some respondents hoped the payment would have been higher, which was also the case.
Asked if they were "satisfied" with the amount of the payment, 40% said yes, 21% thought it should have been higher, and 2% said it should have been lower (17% didn't get one, 17% said they didn't support direct payments, and 4% were unsure).
As we all remember from the initial rollout of Obamacare, delivering on what was promised is a crucial part of getting the politics right. Also, first impressions of a policy’s execution are critical. So far, the Biden administration appears to be executing with speed and precision on one of the most high-profile and popular pieces of President Biden's relief package.